Espalier is the art of training trees to specific designs by pruning and tying them to structures and is commonly used to reduce the footprint of normal sized trees without compromising the crop - although I believe it takes an extra year when talking about fruit trees (4 - 6 instead of 3 - 5). In saying this, I have just started researching this project so please feel free to disagree :)
I have been researching like mad and am intending to espalier the following in an average size back yard:
* Self pollinating almond tree (by itself)
* Granny Smith Apple & Nashi Pear (together)
I would appreciate any tips or advice that anyone with previous experience can give me, the plants are (unfortunately) not dwarf root stock but are quite young.
Hubby will build a structure for the two sets and I will then prune (if necessary) and tie down the existing branches (twigs really) then as they grow this winter I believe I keep pruning every week or two leaving only one or two upward growing branches.
Then next year I prune these to just below the level of my next wires, and as the new shoots emerge I train/ tie down these.
The almond is a very new concept for my garden - took awhile to convince hubby that it was essential, considering the number of existing trees and lack of space! I think it may need a fan type espalier which is different to the method I have (tried) to ouline above so will look into this again. It is very hard to research because a lot of the information is contradictary and as always it seems to be expected that a lot of knowledge already exists...