I have planted 2 apple trees and 2 pear trees into espaliers (horizontal lines, simple shape). I picked the perfect branches for the first bottom lines.

However, two of the trees have long flexible tops and I was wondering: can I bend the top of the tree onto the top espalier line?

I don´t want to cut it if I can use it. I have always seen and read that people cut off the tops, but is this absolutely necessary?

1 Answer 1


Sorry, this answer is, it depends. Normally only current year's growth is flexible enough to be bent into the direction you want. If this is last year's growth and you can still bend it to shape then you can use it.

With espalier the important thing to keep in mind is that although fruiting spurs come and go the framework lasts a long time. If these branches suit your arrangement then use them. If not then there's always this years growth.

This link from Oregon State is helpful. Note one practice which is different in North America than in Europe is that espalier are not often grown against stone walls in North America as the summer temperatures and radiated heat from the stone can bake the fruit.

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