Friday, October 17, 2014

Espalier Care

My plum has finally reached the top of the espalier frame after much care and training, but as beautiful as it looks there were no flowers on it this year, but one fleeting one for a couple of days. Meanwhile, my other plum tree flowered first before developing leaves.

My espalier garden is kept well fenced off from my free range chickens. Such is the trade off. So to keep my garden bed to minimum fuss to keep the chooky girls out, I place perennials and self-seeding plants around the fruit trees. It works perfectly with an amazing flourish of colour and height. Yes, very tempting for chickens to dive into.

What surprised me most was the way that my Satsuma Plum developed its leaves, starting at the base and eventually sending up enough energy to the top to start its leafy growth a little while later.

Espalier Care Checklist

  • Fertilise when the first signs of waking up from its winter dormant sleep with a quality pellet fertiliser. Ensure that it has a good drink of water for absorption.
  • Choose the best lateral branches to train and remove all other competing growth.
  • Every layer is tied gently with tee-shirt ties that allow the growth and expansion of the branches. Adjust these as the branches grow further laterally.
  • Remove stem growth and long off shoots from the branches. Rub the stem to remove new growth and snip the longer branch shoots. This will stop any new branches from developing and channels energy into the established branches.
  • Check for excessive ant activity (ants like to farm on fruit trees, so check your citrus trees too in Spring for scale). Reduce pests that may be harming the tree.
  • Spraying for curl and other pests and diseases needs to be done early in Winter or early Spring as soon as the leaves start to appear. For more information click here.
  • Keep an eye on the soil moisture as the days warm up. Deep slow watering is ideal.
  • And if you haven't done so already, ensure that you have a cross pollinator tree nearby that is compatible with your fruit tree.

It has come a long way very quickly and it looks great!

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