Having only a 1/5 acre lot in the middle of suburbia always tests our ability to be more creative to utilize the ground the best way possible. Doing that we are going to try growing espalier fruit trees next to our greenhouse.
I have always wanted some Asian Pear Trees, but they don’t do really well in the Mid-Atlantic region. The “hot” season is not really hot enough or long enough to grow the fruit to its full capacity. Fully grown Asian pears should be about the size of a grapefruit, but in this area they are usually about the size of an average apple.
Through my research, thinking I was going to add a dwarf tree in my greenhouse, I found the idea of growing them espalier. Espalier growing according to the dictionary is:
a fruit tree or ornamental shrub whose branches are trained to grow flat against a wall, supported on a lattice or a framework of stakes.
a lattice or framework for an espaliered tree or shrub.
verb: espalier; 3rd person present: espaliers; past tense: espaliered; past participle: espaliered; gerund or present participle: espaliering
train (a tree or shrub) to grow flat against a wall.
Since I have a 6′ base wall on the south side of my greenhouse, I thought this would be the perfect place to try and espalier 2 AP Trees.
First I planted 4-8′ landscape timbers at 6-7′ apart, buried 2 feet in the ground with concrete (leaving 6′ above ground). Everything I read stated that this spread and height seemed to be the optimal for what I was hoping to accomplish.
First I attached eye hooks into the posts at 12″ increments starting about 2″ down from the top of each post. This allowed me four lines since I did not want to go any closer than 2′ to the ground.
I purchased 3/16″ cable wire for the structure and sewed in through the top two sets of eye hooks, making my top two rows for growth.
At this point it was a matter of how to attach the cable to the eye hooks. I needed something that was going to be sturdy enough to keep the line tight, but also allowed for me to tighten the lines further if it became necessary.I came up with cable end clamp set and turnbuckle. Attaching these would allow for everything I needed, hopefully. They were not that hard to attach below is a graphic depiction of process.
Before attaching the other end of the line make sure the turnbuckle is completely open so that you can use it to adjust tightness of the line. This will leave you plenty of room for future adjustments if/when necessary.
Finishing all the lines and planting the trees was all that was left. I think it turned out pretty good, I am really hoping for some great fruit off of these trees in a couple of years!