Espalier Pear Trees

Discussion in 'The Green Patch' started by TnAndy, Apr 20, 2018.


  1. TnAndy

    TnAndy Senior Member Founding Member

    Espalier is the ancient horticultural art of pruning and training a tree or shrub to grow flat against a support. I have a 7' high retainer wall below my driveway doing nothing, so last year I set out 4 pear trees at the base of it, spaced about 20' apart. Couple days ago, I got started on the trellis work. I drilled 2 rows of 17 1" holes 4" deep in the 12" concrete filled block, about 5' apart. Cut 34 pcs of 3/4" (ID) black iron pipe 12" long, and drove them in the holes along with some expoxy cement to make sure they stay. Hard as it was to get them in the holes, I don't think they will coming out, even w/o the expoxy.

    Then I put a slight bend (wall has a radius) in some 1" pipe (got a real deal on a whole bunch of scrap pipe at a local plumbing supply a while back.....probably thousand + bucks worth of metal for 100 bucks) and MIG welded it to the stubbed out 3/4" pcs.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Now I'll get a couple coats of Rustoleum galvanizing paint (to keep the heat down on the metal), let that dry a while, then slowly start bending the new branches horizontal instead the straight up vertical pears like to grow. Hope in a few years to have the wall covered with pear branches.

    In addition to just being fun, I'm hoping the retained heat sink of this south facing wall will help mitigate late spring frosts we're prone to get here that kill off fruit blossoms and fruit buds. Time will tell.
     
  2. ochit

    ochit Monkey+

    Very very nice. I just saw blooms on my Pomegranate trees I planted 2 - 5 years ago, It's a good feeling to start something and watch it come in to being.
     
  3. chelloveck

    chelloveck Diabolus Causidicus

    Espaliered pome and other fruit trees make good use of vertical spaces. Deciduous trees are good for keeping a dwelling cool when covering Southern and Western facing walls (Northern hemisphere), yet allowing warmth during the colder months to heat such dwellings.
     
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  4. duane

    duane Monkey+++

    Retaining wall will create a micro climate as well. One of reasons for tree design was for greenhouses and micro climate season extenders, wall heat and mass at ground level will help protect against frost.
    Thank you for the pictures and waiting to see some with plants on it, looks like it would work for grapes, etc as well.
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2018
  5. Motomom34

    Motomom34 Monkey+++

    I had never heard of espalier. I looked it up and it is beautiful way to grow trees. I copied a chart and some get real fancy with their design.
    f5dbee9f0e4da0cb7efa62dbf04968b2.

    Duane is correct that the wall will help heat the ground and trees. It should extend their growing season.
     
  6. Ganado

    Ganado Monkey+++

    looks beautiful ! !

    so you are trying them off to the horizontal pipes for support? im just curious because i have seen them on the wall not that far away from it. So just wondering about you thinking on the set up... (I like to learn new things)
     
  7. duane

    duane Monkey+++

    70 years ago in Minn there were still a few pergola grape arbors left and my grand dad had one. The grapes were trained to grow up the sides and over the top. On a hot day we would sit in the shade and play checkers and chess, my grand mother would shell peas and work on other garden stuff, etc. It was out in the open and the breeze went thru the leaves and it was cooler and out of the sun, it didn't seem to have many mosquitoes and the birds loved it and I expect help take care of the insect problem. . I think he used to mist it too, can't really remember. Old timers had a lot of low tech, energy efficient ways to grow food and live more comfortably. Trees on wall, pergola's, high ceilings with windows that opened both top and bottom for air circulation, root cellars, adobe heat and cool retaining walls, spring boxes, etc. Most are ignored now but we would have to learn them again if there wasn't all that nearly free energy. Speaking of which, here in NH, the price of gas is up about 30 % in the last year, $1.99 to $2.70 and everyone is just ignoring it, never mentioned on radio or TV, of course there is an almost desperation in the car adds and you can now buy 2 year old cars that have never been titled.
     
  8. TnAndy

    TnAndy Senior Member Founding Member

    Yeah, I wasn't really sure how to train or support them, so this was what I came up with....the pipe center is about 8" off the wall, thinking that should allow some air circulation and growing room behind the pipe. It's an experiment, like so much of what is done around the place.

    I suppose I could make a YouTube video and title it "The BEST (or PROPER) Way to Trellis (or whatever it is they are doing)" like some many of those knuckleheads on there do....like there couldn't possibly be a better idea out there..... but I freely admit to not knowing it all and simply trying something to see if it works.....ahahahaaaa
     
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  9. TnAndy

    TnAndy Senior Member Founding Member


    Yeah....I'm too busy with life to get into all those patterns. I'm going for the dead simple double grape arbor design. More about pears than art. :D
     
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  10. TnAndy

    TnAndy Senior Member Founding Member


    Since we built this place in the 80's, I've always assumed energy would get more expensive as years went on. Walls in my house, for example, are double 2x4 thickness (I had a LOT of sawmill lumber to work with)....with a 1" gap between walls, that makes for a 9" thick insulated wall. Our heat has always been wood. Summer cooling consists mainly of a 4' exhaust fan mounted upstairs that draws cooler evening air in. Concrete floors and massive fireplace in house center act as heat moderators....retaining heat in winter, slow to warm in summer.

    Building my chimney in 1984:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2018
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  11. Ganado

    Ganado Monkey+++

    I like that about you @TnAndy you just try things and you buld to last

    Most of thes trellises are done with wire and anchor posts but yours will last a lot longer and be more sturdy so you can have more fruit on the trees.
     
    Dunerunner likes this.
  12. TnAndy

    TnAndy Senior Member Founding Member

    Was actually the easiest way I could come up with that would last. I was at the local plumbing supply place about a year ago, and they had this pile of pipe and stuff.....been sitting there couple years. I asked the head honcho what they were doing with it, and he said "it's scrap stuff'. Wanna sell it ? He walked out and looked at it, said "$100 OK ?"....I tried not to grin and said SURE.

    There was several thousand feet of mostly black iron pipe, some was bent slightly, but most was just fine.....everything from 1/2" to 2".....buried down underneath was about 10 sticks (20' ea) of 1/4" x 3 1/2 x 3 1/2 galvanized angle, really heavy stuff, brand new looking. Haven't come up with a use for it yet, but my guess is a single stick of it retails for well over 100 bucks. Altogether, I figure the pile was worth a conservative 2500 bucks....I know it weighed my 16' trailer down seriously. I love deals like this.
     
  13. duane

    duane Monkey+++

    Some people try to prepare for the future and help the next generation, most blindly follow the herd until it runs off the cliff and their last thought is What the h***. Present society rewards the sheep who amass a huge debt buying the last fad and voting for the candidate who has te.
    he best line and promises the most. Built a well insulated place with wood heat and have enjoyed it without a huge debt for close to 50 years. It has been a work in progress and I will never finish it. Life is like that, always change.
    Nice looking pictures TnAndy, thank you for sharing them with us. Some good ideas in them and some inspiration as well.
     
    Dunerunner and TnAndy like this.
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