The Complete Gardener's Guide ,
Espaliered Pear Tree Trained Along South Wall

Materials Needed

  • pear tree
  • wire
  • canes
  • pruning shears
  • soft string

Step 1: Attach Wire

Freestanding trees are pruned in the winter the same way as apples. As they are vulnerable to frost, they are usually trained against walls as fans. Attach horizontal wires to a wall or fence, 12 inches apart. Plant a branched, one- or two-year-old tree against them, pruning it to leave two branches 18 inches above the soil. Train the branches laterally using canes.

Step 2: Attach Canes

The first summer after planting, use canes to train new sideshoots that develop from the two main branches into a basic fan. Remove any that grow toward the center of the tree or outward from the wall. Tie young stems with soft string.

Step 3: Prune Tree

The first full winter after planting, prune the tips of all lateral branches back by one-quarter to one-third in length. Check all branches are securely tied in place. Remove any unwanted stems growing directly out from the main trunk.

Step 4: Attach More Canes

During the second summer, attach more canes and tie in additional sideshoots to form the ribs of the fan, creating a balanced shape. If required, remove congested growth by pruning long sideshoots on the main ribs back to three leaves.

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