The First Espalier Prune of the Season

fist lateral pruneThis afternoon I pruned the lateral shoots on my Nashi Espalier. This quick prune keeps things fruitful and promotes fresh shoots, the very same cost were I to leave them to go wild. Cause fruit is whats its all about right…  and a tightly controlled ship. I admit it.

laterals coming off

Go along each branch and reduce long upward shoots back to 2 or 3 buds. How simple is that.

lateral off

Keep up with this job over the summer. With seceteurs in pocket you’re ready to head back any long shoots as you see them.

Clusters of shoots needs to be thinned out ok. You want about 20cm between each shoot. Completely remove the puny and inward heading ones. A cluster can be a result of big cuts the year before. Changes how you prune knowing this, aye.

remove suckers

Lay the healthy prunings at the base of the tree (burn the diseased ones ok), and while you’re down there notice if there are any suckers coming away from the rootstock and prune those off too.


spring prune done

Job tidy. Beer o’clock.



  1. John Wilkinson says

    Hi Kath,

    You wrote:
    “This quick prune keeps things fruitful and promotes fresh shoots, the very same cost were I to leave them to go wild. Cause fruit is whats its all about right… ”
    Not sure how “cost” fits in there.
    You are pruning “shoots” back to “promote fresh shoots” !
    Will they be fruiting shoots, or some fruiting and some skyscrapers?
    I have an espaliered Monty’s Surprise and when I pruned skyscrapers back last summer I got a few new fruiting but mostly many more skyscrapers.

    • Wow – an espaliered Montys! Gosh they are such vigorous growers I cant imagine how it will espalier but love to hear how you get on. Its hard enough to keep them under control as a free standing tree. A bidabble spur bearing apple like Captain Kidd would suit Espalier far better

      What I was trying to say was the cost of leaving the shoots o get their grow on is more vegetation, less fruitfulness.

      Fresh shoots coming on gives us options for replacement fruit spurs down the track. Also pruning small shoots gives us a small response from the tree. Prune off a big shoot and get a big response – better suited to free standing tree than an espalier. Also when doing those big shoot prunes on an espalier years ahead you end up with big knuckles/ knobbly bits of wood along your branches.
      So best to manage those shoots when small and keep the tree calm (taken with a grain of salt regards a Monty 🙂 )

      Does that make sense?

      Montys is such a vigorous grower it’ll be tricky as to set up a cycle of small shoot response, so yes skyscrapers it’ll be. Not sure how far along your espalier development is but one way you may be able to slow it down is by tying branches down from the get go. We don’t usually advocate this as tying down new branches stunts growth. Could be just the thing in this instance

      hope this clarifies and doesn’t muddle things further

  2. Thanks for that – i’ve Just started an espalier orchard – early days but so excited!