Espalier - Belgian or Losange Fence?

Laceretti(6a)December 28, 2012

Several years ago, I planted 7 apple trees and 3 pear trees along my back fence (southern facing). I am training them in a 3 tier cordon style espalier. It is working fairly well although we have still yet to see any fruit!

I am planning on expanding my vegetable garden into the front yard as I am running out of room in the back yard. As part of that, I would like to maintain a reasonable looking front yard out of respect for my neighbors. I am thinking about boxing off the front yard with either a belgian or lasange fence out of apple trees.

So my question is: what are the pros/cons of the belgian style verses the losange style fence? I am leaning towards the losange style since it will by design decrease the visibility into the yard, but I can't find any good information on pros/cons. I hope to only have temporary support up while the trees are training, but can it be free standing once established? Again, the tighter losange style would appear to be stronger long term (more cross support).

On a related note, any suggestions for dressing up the base of the trees / mulch bed? While my garlic and other companions in the back yard are nice, it isn't exactly "pretty". :)

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alan haigh

Several years and no fruit and you are interested in the pros and cons of two separate espalier designs? It seems like you'd have more fundamental concerns about what is wrong with your current trees. If you start with good espalier varieties on dwarfing rootstock you should get fruit in two or three years from the apples at least.

I don't even know, off hand, what the two training systems are, but over the years I haven't seen any particular difference in espalier configurations as far as management issues. To make them work you need to know how to prune to develop and maintain bearing spurs.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2012 at 6:44AM
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Laceretti(6a)

I share the fundamental concerns (as does my wife!), but I can explain most of that away with some mistakes that I made early on. I didn't pinch back any of the side laterals instead relying on dormant pruning to shape the tree. I also haven't spent any time pruning to create fruiting spurs. I was a little naive in the belief that my only real maintenance would be an annual pruning to maintain shape. I am in the planning stages right now for adding additional trees. I don't think I will plant any new trees until I start to get some fruit from the current trees. Ideally, I will order the trees this summer for a 2014 planting.

As for the styles, there is a link below that shows different fence patterns. The Losange pattern will create a tighter grid which in theory should give the whole row more support, and it will also provide more privacy for the yard. I can't find any good information on yield related to each style though so I am hoping to find someone here with the experience to share.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   December 29, 2012 at 8:53AM
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mrsg47(7)

Hi, these are the people to ask your question. Hope this helps, Mrs. G

http://www.henryleuthardtnurseries.com/

    Bookmark   December 29, 2012 at 11:06AM
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ltilton

Mrs G - I'd be skeptical about that nursery. They're selling Bradford pears and they misspell "Reine-Claude"

    Bookmark   December 30, 2012 at 4:50PM
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mrsg47(7)

I met the third generation owner of this nursery. He literally 'interviewed' you before he would sell you a tree! He supplied all of my espaliered trees for my house in Maine and they were magnificent. They are an excellent source. Mrs. G

    Bookmark   December 31, 2012 at 9:31AM
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alan haigh

Funny, I met the son of Henry at a trade show and didn't find him all that knowledgeable. I asked him about the root stocks he used for his espalier pears and he said he was indifferent and used whatever was available. His father's nursery was an inherited sideline and general landscaping his primary occupation. I detected no special passion for fruit trees that was certainly there with his pop who I long ago had a long phone conversation with.

Don't know anything about the third generation and even this interaction occurred over twenty years ago, but I think I know a fruit nerd when I talk to one.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2012 at 10:59AM
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barnhardt9999(8a)

Mispelling is ok. But I'd be skeptical of any nursery or landscaperer even offering bradford pears. What an all around dreadful tree. I thought only low-quality corporate spec home builders used them.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2012 at 1:50PM
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