How to Grow Tree Arches

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Growing trees into an arch is an art form that goes back for centuries. Essentially a form of espalier, arched forms were embraced by the Victorians. Today's gardener, however, has the advantage of new tree forms including columnar apple trees.

Columnar apple trees do not require pruning, naturally growing short fruiting spurs. With patience, a metal trellis and plant ties, a gardener can quickly train two columnar apple trees into an arch.

Install any hardscape, such as paths or fences, before planting the trees. Walkways are generally 3 to 4 feet wide.

Assemble the metal trellis according to the package instructions. Push into the ground so the trellis arches over each side of the walk.

Dig the planting holes just outside of the trellis, a little deeper and twice as wide as the root balls. Fill with water and allow to soak into the soil before continuing. Do not amend the excavated soil.

Slide the trees out of the grower's pots. If planting bare-root trees, remove the wrappings and soak the roots in a bucket of water for at least an hour to rehydrate the trees. Unwind any tangled or encircling roots. Trim any broken or decayed roots.

Place the trees in the planting holes at the same depth as in the pot, gently spreading the roots over the soil. Backfill with the excavated soil and tamp firmly. Water thoroughly.

Cover the exposed soil with 3 inches of mulch, pulling 4 inches back from the tree trunks.

Attach the trees to the trellis using plant ties. Do not prune the leaders or main stems. As the trees grow, continue tying to the metal trellis so they arch over the path.

Water regularly until established, then water once a week.

Fertilise with a balanced 10-10-10 fertiliser according to the manufacturer's instructions.