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art58wong

Espalier On A Slope

Art Wong
March 27, 2017
last modified: March 27, 2017

I planted 2 dwarf apple whips in Oct on a slope and wish to espalier. Can the guide wires follow the downward slope. I'm worried about negative effects of branches growing below the level of the base of the tree. For example rain may run down lateral branches and collect/drip at the end.

Can't seem to find any similar situations.

Comments (15)

  • floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK

    Imo the wires should run parallel with the brick courses and the branches should be horizontal. The trunk and shoots will always want to grow vertically and the whole thing would look weird with the branches on a slant.

  • Art Wong

    Yes, I realize shoots would grow at a funny angle to the laterals.

    I don't like the horizontal support wires because the bottom lateral cannot be very long before it hits the ground and there is a bigger gap on the other side.

    Besides the aesthetics, I am asking if there is a reason the tree would not grow well with angled laterals.

  • Carroll Lee

    My espalier wall is going on its second leaf now. I don't have your slope issue but I do not believe it will be a problem to angle your espalier. The problems you will have however are 1 the existing branches are harden off you should be able to make the left hand side to the right angle no problem but the right hand side you will have to cut back to the first terminal node that grows from the lower branches and train the new growth going forward.

  • Art Wong

    The whips were planted last Oct and are about 4 ft tall. I haven't cut them down to 18 inches yet to force the growth to be trained.

  • PRO
    The Logician LLC

    What compass direction does that brick wall face?

  • Carroll Lee

    Do your pruning now while they are still dormant.


  • Art Wong

    The wall is 15 degrees from due south. The problem is the neighbour's house wall is 10-12 ft away. In the summer, there is 5-6 hrs of sunlight.

  • Art Wong

    Yes I am anxious to prune because the days near Toronto are hitting 40-50F.

  • floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK

    'the bottom lateral cannot be very long before it hits the ground' Have you measured the horizontal distance from 18 inches up the trunk to where the line would hit the ground the left hand side? It doesn't look particularly short to me? Your apples are dwarfs and I think it would be a very long time before the lowest branch on the left would get to the ground.

  • Art Wong

    The horizontal distance before touching the ground is 4.5 ft on the tree in the photo and 3.8 ft on the other. I planned to place the vertical lumbers 4 ft from each side the trunk.

  • skimmton

    Forgive my ignorance if this is way off, but could you do a fan espalier?

  • floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK

    A fan would certainly solve the problem.

    For an espalier it would drive me nuts if the wires were not horizontal and parallel to the brick courses.

  • Art Wong

    Ok I'm convinced the horizontal length is sufficient and will go with parallel to brick laterals. Thanks for the inputs.

  • PRO
    The Logician LLC

    With the neighboring wall, it seems your southerly wall will not get too hot and affect the planting.

  • Ting-yu Tu

    Art Wong, Did your horizontal espalier on a slope turned out well? Any regrets or lessons learned?

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