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By Beb

United Kingdom Gb

I have a "double" apple tree - two varieties on one root. It was a present, and came mail order.
The two types are grafted at about six inches above the ground, but one side especially has no branches, or even leaves for the first 6 feet (2 meters). I wanted to train it espalier against a fence which is four feet high. It produced apples this year, but all way too high.
How can I persuade it to to put out growth lower down so I can train it?
I vaguely remember something about making a nick in the bark above a node.



Using a sharp knife you make a cut above a dormant bud or a node. The idea is to interrupt the plant hormones to the shoots above the bud which will keep the buds below dormant. Cut into the wood about half inch deep and make the cut a couple of inches wide. This should encourage new branch growth below the cut.

28 Oct, 2014


Thanks Myron,
I think you are a bit optimistic with a cut a couple of inches wide, the trunk is currently only about an inch diameter.
Is there a best time to do this? My uneducated guess would be early spring, when the sap is rising.

29 Oct, 2014


Sorry, with you mentioning it was 6 feet and nothing low down I assumed that you were talking about thick branches.

You need to cut just beneath the green of the cambium so you see white wood. The width of the cut would obviously vary depending on the diameter of the wood. You can carry this out anytime between late winter and early spring when the tree is dormant.

29 Oct, 2014

How do I say thanks?

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