How to prune established espaliers
Trees should be pruned annually as growth slows down in August.
- Cut back sideshoots growing from the horizontal leaders to three leaves from the basal cluster, 7.5cm (3in) long. Shoots from previously pruned sideshoots should be cut back to one leaf from the basal cluster, 2.5cm (1in) long
- If any secondary growths develop after this pruning, cut them back to the base in September. Sideshoots on the vertical stem are best removed completely
- If there are large amounts of immature or secondary growth when cordons are pruned in August, delay pruning until mid-September. If this does not reduce secondary growth, prune in winter instead using the same method
Renovation pruning for restricted forms of apples and pears should be started in the winter, followed by summer pruning the following year. In order to reduce over-vigorous regrowth, it should be carried out over 1-2 years.
Clusters of fruit buds may need to be thinned after seven or eight years; alternatively, a few can be done each year in the dormant season (November to March), reducing over-complicated spur systems to one or two fruit buds.
Replacing missing arms in an espalier
In mid-to-late summer, chip budding can be used to replace missing arms on apple or pear espaliers; this process involves grafting a chip of wood with a live bud beneath the bark.