What are best varieties to espalier in english garden

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What are best varieties to espalier in english garden

Post by chris »

I live in Hampshire UK and will be building a fence round the veg garden with espalier fruit trees. I want to mix apples and pears and possibly plum. There are other apple trees nearby, so not too worried about pollination, but would like to know some good eating and cooking varieties to go for. These will not be against a wall so will not benefit from the heat that generates. And unusually our soil is clay, in an area known for it's chalk.

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Re: What are best varieties to espalier in english garden

Post by PA_Docent »

I have heard apple trees can grow in heavy clay soils so your issue with soil should pose no problem. Since you are in the UK, I would say stay with some of your country's apples. Two of the apples I grow are Cox Orange Pippin and Ashmead's Kernal. Both apples are great for eating. I have to wait another year or two before my trees start producing but I have tasted Cox's Orange Pippin from an orchard recently. You cannot have a better apple. Ananas Reinette is a triploid and slow, but strong grower and bears good eating apples.

I do not know if you have fire blight in the UK. If not, you should have no problem growing pears also. Seckel has always been one of my favorites. If you plant a pear, make sure you have a second pear tree for pollination! I will have Comice (Doyenne du Comice) and Potomac (American cross to pollinate my Magness) by next year.

I started my collection of fruit trees two years ago so when you go purchase your trees, ask questions!

Hope this helps.
Last edited by PA_Docent on Mon Aug 12, 2013 2:13 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: What are best varieties to espalier in english garden

Post by OrangePippin-Richard »

The climate of Hampshire is good for most fruit varieties. How much length and height will you have available on each side of the planting area?

Note that plum trees generally can't be espaliered because of the way they fruit - train them as fans instead. In fact fan-training also works very well for apples and pears too, and is generally easier to look after.

If you are concerned the soil might not be suitable, just dig in some improver such as farmyard manure before planting.

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Re: What are best varieties to espalier in english garden

Post by Mithril »


If you get the chance it might be worth your while to pop along to Cranborne Manor Gardens in Hampshire (open on Wednesdays). They have many espalier and I think step over apples, surrounding beds, some just with posts and wire. There are often ID labels too. Not sure what their soil is like though.

Anyway, good luck from just over the border in Dorset :)

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Re: What are best varieties to espalier in english garden

Post by Ace »

I have been researching espaliers and plan to plant an acre of espaliers next year. The variety must be a spur bearer. Spur bearers tend to be less vigorous, so a larger rootstock is recommended. M26 to M106 would be ideal. I am leaning towards M7 rootstock and hoping I will not need much additional irrigation.

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Re: What are best varieties to espalier in english garden

Post by Vinegaroon »

If you google specific heirloom cultivar names you'll be directed to many works from English pomologists of the 19th century. Many of them had quite distinct opinions about how to grow what where. So if there is an antique or two that seems from descriptions like your sort of apple go a little deeper on the search engine and find out what the old masters had to say. I read in one such old reference that Calville Blanc was traditionally an espaliered garden apple of great value so I planted 8 of them in a Belgian fence. Two years in it seems to suit ol' Cal just fine but we shall see...... Anyhow happy planting. Oh and YouTube Stephen Hayes.

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