How to Prune Espalier Apple Trees

Written by angela lafollette | 13/05/2017
How to Prune Espalier Apple Trees
Train your apples to grow on a fence or trellis to produce a lot more apples. (apples image by Dina from

Espalier apple trees need pruning to train them to grow against a trellis or wall. You can grow apple trees against fences in rows to produce more crops. This saves space and it creates an attractive area in your yard. Pruning the tree can involve a lot of labour because you will need to shape the tree to your desired pattern and to help train it to grow against the flat surface.

Sterilise your pruning shears with rubbing alcohol. This will prevent the spread of diseases.

Prune the apple tree in the dormant winter months. This gives the tree time to heal after you prune it.

Cut off all the spring blossoms during the first three years. This will allow the tree to focus on growing rather than producing blossoms.

Prune off dead and damaged wood. This will keep the apple tree in good condition. Prune above the branch collar.

Cut the main stem above the second branching points after the first year. This will encourage the branches to grow from the side.

Cut any vertical stems to the desired height in the summer. This will train the espaliered apple tree to grow to a certain height.

Prune side branches that grow forward and away from your desired espalier pattern. Prune away any side branches that take away from the overall shape of the tree. Cut these branches off at the base.

Things you need

  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Pruning shears

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