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How To Espalier Pear Trees Over an Arbor
Posted on : November 27, 2019

In today’s episode, Beverly Welch is joined by Angela Chandler of The Garden Academy, our Partner in Education! Angela and Beverly show different ways to train pear trees over your brand new arbor!

– [Beverly] Welcome back to The Arbor Gate. I am Beverly Welch here with Angela Chandler.

– [Angela] Good morning.

– Our partner in education with the Garden Academy. So we’re in our little high-density area that we’ve been taking you guys through for several months now. And this is our newest project. An arbor.

– It’s so beautiful.

– I love it. So we’re going to train [[00:00:30]] some pear trees over this arbor. So step one, build an arbor. All kidding aside. Step one is to pick a structure. We’re so fortunate to have this gorgeous arbor, but you can use anything. A chain-link fence, a wood fence, the side of your house, a common trellis, or a common arbor, but any structure will work. The main keys, step two is picking your tree. Typically, pears and apples lean themselves best [[00:01:00]] to this type of training.

– They do. What we’re gonna do, Beverly, is formal espalier. And so apples and pears are long-lived, and they maintain their limb structure over time. So they’re much suitable to formal espalier. If we were going to do an informal style, we might choose something like a peach or a citrus.

– Okay. Now I chose a pear, and I chose a particular variety called Tena Suey, which is an eating pear which is fairly hard to find for us.

– It really is. And it has a little bit of an Asian [[00:01:30]] pear-crossed in it which gives it smaller grid cells a very delicate flavor.

– Okay. So we’ve picked our tree. We got two luckily pretty close to book-in in size and shape right now.

– Size and shape is good. And, you know, for high density, we practice planting lots of varieties. But we’re planning on two sides of an arbor here, we want to make sure that they have the same growth rate and the same bloom time for the visual appearance. So that’s the reason we chose two of the same pear for this particular project. [[00:02:00]]

– So step one was our structure. Step two is choosing our fruit. Step three is planting.

– It is. And before we plant this, we’re going to leave this tall. I’m going to do a little bit of corrective pruning now. Being fall, we don’t really want to do any heavy pruning. We want it to be planted. We want it to go through its dormancy and just concentrated on growing good roots right now.

– Perfect.

– But we do want to remove anything that we know we’re not going to keep next year. So where this limb is being kind of kick-off to the side, [[00:02:30]] I’m going to prune it back, but I’m not going to prune it back all the way to the trunk. And the reason for that is there are a few buds here that might be to our advantage next spring. So we’re going to tip this off just outside that bud. Other than that, this one is growing up, but because it’s still flexible, we may be able to train this next year, so I’m not going to remove it either. Other than that, we really don’t have a lot other than just tipping back anything that we would call in that 3-D. Anything that’s being damaged, dead or…

– Or diseased.

– …you know, [[00:03:00]] doesn’t look good, we want to take it off before we start. But we see that there are good buds here that are going to work to our advantage when we start training next year.

– So perfect. So we’ve got our tree ready to go, and we’re going to plant here. Of course, we’ve got aggregate soil complete. And what we’ve done on this trellis is build this box. Now I want to point out that this box is open-bottomed.

– Right. This is just the structure to get it started here and on our trellis. This tree will root into our native soil.

– Right. And, you know, [[00:03:30]] here in the Gulf Coast with our excessive rainfall, it’s nice to have things up, out of the ground.

– It is initially for sure so that we avoid any crown rot issues. And it’s just a really good way to get it off and get it started.

– Perfect. All right. Are you ready to plant?

– We’re ready.

– Let’s go. Plus the fact how easy is that to do it.

– This is wonderful. It should be so easy all the time. Oh, this is [[00:04:00]] the soil there. It should be this easy all the time. Look at how beautiful this soil is.

– Oh, it’s gorgeous.

– Don’t want to lose any of it.

[[00:04:16]]
[Silence]
[[00:04:29]]

– Perfect. [[00:04:30]] Perfect.

– I think we’re in pretty good shape.

– I think so. I think so. So I’m going to put a little bit of aggregate blend down in at the bottom of the hole. How easy is that?

– It’s easy.

– And then I’m going to set this soil. I pull it on out of the pot. Is there anything you want to do with the roots before we plant?

– You know, I always look to see what we’ve got here. And this root, the very bottom root is headed towards the side. So I’m going to go ahead and prune it [[00:05:00]] back a little bit. And the reason for that is just to encourage them to go down before they start to spread. And when we prune roots, we want to do it the same basic principles as any pruning. Good clean cuts, don’t break them off. Look for anything that might have been broken while it was being dug and planted.

– Sure.

– I don’t see anything really circling.

– Yeah, we got a good root that’s come here.

– So yeah, so we’re okay for that. And the other thing we want to check for is this root flare. We wanted to make sure [[00:05:30]] that we’re planting this, maybe just with its shoulders a little bit out of the ground. We’ll bring the aggregate soil up to that. But we want to make sure that we don’t bury the root flare. That’s important with any tree, fruit, or otherwise.

– Absolutely. Absolutely. All right. So I’m going to place it down here in the hole. Is there any particular way you want me to do position it?

– Yeah, we kind of want to think about that. We know that we wanted it to be close. And I think that gets us off to a good start, Beverly.

– All right. Perfect. I’m going to lift [[00:06:00]] these just a bit so that we do get that shoulder up and put a little bit of soil up underneath here. There we go. How does that look?

– I think we’re in pretty good shape.

– We’re in good shape.

– Yes.

– All right. You ready for me to backfill it here?

– And off ready to top. We’re ready. So we’re going to backfill halfway, and we’re going to tempt the soil, but we’re not going to pack it hard. Especially if you are planting [[00:06:30]] in your native soil which you would if you were planting this in the ground, we want to make sure that the roots are completely covered with soil, but that we haven’t packed any heavy clay around them.

– Okay. So we’re about halfway now.

– We’re about halfway. And this is a good place to stop and water in because what we’re looking to do here is settle any soil, make sure that there are no …

– Air pockets. Right.

– …air pockets around [[00:07:00]] it . Make sure that the subsoil around this is thoroughly saturated. And we know what this soil with its texture that air pockets are unlikely, but we want to make sure that we do get it off to a good start.

– Well, you know, and I think to making sure your root ball is well-moistened at time of planting. It’s easier to keep a moist root ball evenly moist…

– It really is.

– …than try to moisten it once it’s in the ground.

– Yeah, it really is. It’s even really a good idea to water [[00:07:30]] the entire area a few days before and allow everything to equalize.

– Absolutely. Absolutely. And here it goes draining perfectly.

– Well-drained soil makes a big difference.

– It does. It does. All right. Well, I’ll continue …

– Okay. We’re ready.

– …bringing our soil around it.

– Oops.

– Now I’m not putting any soil on top that was the top level in the pot.

– Right. We’re just watching that root flare.

Written by The Arbor Gate
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