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pitangadiego

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Reply with quote  #1 
I was too lazy to Photoshop this better.

This is a seedling with about a 12 foot branch that has leaned over so the about 8 feet of the branch is horizontal. Each node is now sending up a vertical shoot. Acting very much like the trees that Ken Love took pix of in Japan.




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vaplantman

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Reply with quote  #2 
Jon,
This is a great image. It's pretty amazing how once the fig limb or lead goes horizontal, it immediately wants to produce vertical growth. I'm using the same concept to produce an espalier against my garden shed. I planted a small Celeste tree at the corner of my shed in early 2010. It had a central leader and two small limbs. I pulled them down and trained them horizontally. Slowly over time, and with some pruning and staking, I've been able to start a decent espalier. I plan on heavily pruning each vertical growth in early spring to keep the plant compact, similar to how the Japanese have grown their fig trees in greenhouses. 

I'm in Newport News, VA (zone 7b) and Celeste is hardy and reliable. That's why I selected it for espalier. Here are some pics documenting the espalier process so far. I'm open to suggestions and tips that might make this an easier or more effective process.
Dave














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Dave
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Reply with quote  #3 

That is really nice, Dave! I want to try a few trees like that here. It is a little colder where I live but I think I will try to bend the long shoots down and cover them in the winter.


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Susan

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pitangadiego

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Reply with quote  #4 
Beautiful execution.

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Reply with quote  #5 
very nice Dave.  Thanks for showing the progression...pretty cool
tokechan

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Reply with quote  #6 
thats great idea to get the branches and fruit of many

very nice

but why your main branch not bent like other branches
theman7676

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Reply with quote  #7 
very cool dave. thanks for the pics
how many seasons did it take to arrive to the last picture?

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vaplantman

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Reply with quote  #8 
Thanks for the compliments. It's been a fun project so far, but I've got a long way to go.

Tokechan, I plan on cutting the vertical branches back close to the main horizontal limbs early next spring, then allowing the new vertical growth to replace the removed growth.

Theman, I rooted the Celeste cutting in spring of 2009. I planted it in ground in spring of 2010. The tree will be 3 years old in spring of 2012.

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Dave
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Reply with quote  #9 
Fantastic job , I hope my in ground Florea survives to look like that eventually.
When you cut back in the Spring do you plan on leaving more buds on the weaker growing verticals ?

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go4broek

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Reply with quote  #10 

Looks good. Similar to the Japanese techinique. My only concern is how close it is to the wall. It will cause problems soon. Good luck!


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Ruben
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Reply with quote  #11 

 WOW!  How great! Good idea, Dave.  Fredfig

saxonfig

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Reply with quote  #12 
Very nice Job Dave.

Between those Japanese pics I've been looking at recently and seeing the nice job you've done, I am now inspired to give this a try myself.

I could see this working for us even with cold sensitive varieties in zone 5 or 6. I can see myself growing them out in the open like this and just covering them with soil, leaves, or mulch in the fall as winter protection. Then uncover them in the spring.

Seems it would be simple enough to train them to grow no more than 12" from the ground and then just mound the "protection" up over them in late fall. I look forward to giving it a try this next season.

Thanks for posting those great progress pics Dave. 

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vaplantman

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Reply with quote  #13 
Drivewayfarmer, I plan on cutting all the verticals back to 1 or 2 nodes, leaving a vertical stub no more than a few inches tall. I don't know yet if I will change the plan for the smaller vertical limbs. 

Ruben, you are probably right. The main trunk and horizontal arms are about 9 inches from both walls of the shed. It looks closer in the pictures. 2 years later I am wishing I planted it a bit farther from the corner of the garden shed.

Bill, thanks for the compliment and good luck! You should definitely try growing a fig this way. I had similar thoughts for people growing this method in northern climates. It might actually be a heck of alot easier to protect the entire plant in the winter because it is already so close to the ground. Let me know if you decide to try it.

Alan, I was worried when I first planted it that the left portion of the plant would receive less light than the right portion of the plant because of the exposure of the building. As it worked out, the right side of the plant was only a bit stronger in terms of growth, but it definitely ripened figs more quickly than the left side.

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go4broek

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Reply with quote  #14 

Dave,

 

Fig trees grown in that Japanese style develop very thick trunks even faster than normal due to all that pruning of the branches. Yours will probably be hitting the wall within 3-4 years. Here is a picture of a local Celeste tree with a single trunk. The trunk is abt 22" in diameter.

Attached Images
jpeg Huge_Fig_Tree_at_Valencia&Cordova_7-7-10.jpg (382.88 KB, 138 views)


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Ruben
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vaplantman

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Reply with quote  #15 
Oh boy, looks like I'm in trouble... 

Who knows, maybe my Celeste esaplier will turn the garden shed into a treehouse! 

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saxonfig

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Reply with quote  #16 

No need to panic though. You can always move it before it gets much bigger. For your zone, you could probably do that anytime this winter. Or (maybe more ideally) you could wait until a couple of weeks before bud break and move it then.

If you don't have alot of options as to where you can move it to, I imagine you could leave it by the shed and just move it out a few feet. You still may have to keep it pruned back away from the shed in a few years though. 

If you do want to move it, I'm sure you wouldn't want to leave it until it becomes a monster! So..... :-/

One other thing. If you do move it, you're required ;) to take pics of the process and post them here.

We look forward to future progress pics of this one Dave.


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Centurion

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Reply with quote  #17 
Thank you for posting this Dave, and thanks to the rest of you for all of the comments as well.

We've been in the new house for nearly four months now and are starting over.   I have wiped out most of the existing landscaping, getting ready for figs in the spring. This topic is giving me lots of good ideas.


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Dave
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Reply with quote  #18 

Cool looking Dave. Thanks for the idea, I know now what I am going to do to hide the back fence.


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Charles
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vaplantman

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Reply with quote  #19 
Here's an update on my fig espalier against the corner of my shed. I pruned it back very heavily on March 15, but did not move/transplant it farther away from the corner of the shed because of lack of free time. When I pruned I left 1 or 2 nodes on each vertical depending on the size of the growth. Approximately 100 days later the espalier is getting big again, each growth is almost 7 feet tall. I accidentally broke off 2 growths when they were young and green. One of them did not grow back and is now just a stump. The other grew back but was bare for a while and the tree got badly sunburned in that location. I also had to include a pic or two with my ferocious guard dog Scout. She may not look like much, but she's tenacious. I'm pretty much flying by the seat of my pants with this project, but I'm also loving every minute of it.

Shameless plug...I posted a few more pictures with a more thorough overall description of the tree on my blog. Check it out if you are interested. http://point09acres.blogspot.com/2012/06/espalier-fig-iv.html

Hope everybody's fig growing seasons are off to a great start. I'm loving all the breba pics and main crop pics from the really warm growers.

Attached Images
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jpeg Scout_Confused.JPG (676.32 KB, 120 views)


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Dave
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Reply with quote  #20 

Dave, ever since I saw you first post about this tree, I been think of doing something similar. Thanks for posting a follow up. It looks great, just like I hoped it would. Now to plan for mine.


"gene"


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vaplantman

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Reply with quote  #21 
Thanks, Gene.

What variety do you think you'll plant? Mine is a Celeste, but I wish I planted something different. Don't get me wrong, I love a dead ripe Celeste but it would be fun to have a more unique
variety for my espalier. At least Celeste is fairly cold-hardy and grows quickly...two reasons why I planted
it! Good luck, looking forward to hearing what you decide to do.

Dave

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BLB

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Reply with quote  #22 
For some reason, I've missed all these posts until just now. Fantastic job!! Perfect espalier!! Thanks for the pics.
Gina

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Reply with quote  #23 
Thanks for posting the progress. I really enjoyed it. :) 
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TucsonKen

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Reply with quote  #24 
Very nice!!
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Reply with quote  #25 
I think I'll be using O'Rourke and Improved Celeste. I have a new area I just opened up behind my garden against a privacy fence. I'll plant the trees there in the fall.
"gene"

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DesertDance

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Reply with quote  #26 
Great photos and WOW!  Amazing how a plant can be shaped!  It's so beautiful!  You did a wonderful job! 

Please keep us posted!

Suzi

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jenniferarino83

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Reply with quote  #27 
wow!!!!!!!! Thats pretty awesome Jon!

I little babies, I may have to wait a couple years to branch out like yours but I will try this. Wow.... thats nice! what was the fig variety? Just curious, looks vigorous and cold hardy since you live in VA. Totally love it!!!!!!!! looks like you will have good shading too, and privacy. Total space saver!

Jenn

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Reply with quote  #28 
Great job!
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vaplantman

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Reply with quote  #29 
Thanks for the compliments! I definitely recommend trying to espalier a fig if you have the space and good climate.

Noss, my dog is a Hairless American Terrier. Great dog, loyal, super athletic (can jump 5-feet high in the air from a standstill even though she's only about 18 pounds), and pretty good guard dog. I also have a classic lab/mix/mutt from a shelter in North Carolina.

Gene, once you plant them in the fall post some pictures on this thread, or start a new one. Looking forward to hearing from you then.

Jenn, it's a Celeste fig started from a cutting off my Uncle's huge old Celeste tree in Virginia Beach. I see you have a birthday coming up in a month. I only have a single rooted cutting of RdB. I'd give you one if I had another. Good luck on your quest. I also hope it's as good a fig as all the hype suggests.

Bob, looks like we have a very similar wish list!

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Dave
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jenniferarino83

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Reply with quote  #30 
Any more updates Jon? Just curious. Gosh it's so pretty. I may do that to my W. Triana
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pitangadiego

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Reply with quote  #31 
It turns out to be a caprifig, so not going anywhere with this one. It did demonstrate the feasibility and verify why the Japanese make use of this style in their greenhouses.
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jenniferarino83

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Reply with quote  #32 
Nicely done.
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Reply with quote  #33 
next spring one of my hardy chicago,
will be trained in espalier shape,

since I have seen your blog a month ago, I am planning where and how!

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il fico, che meraviglia

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zone 5B,
actual list: hardy chicago, unknown1 (celeste?) and unknown2 (BT?)

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Reply with quote  #34 
Jon, if the branch in your picture was actually in contact with the soil, would it root at the nodes? I'm thinking like a ground-level espalier of sorts? I have a few trees in 1 gallon pots that I just put into the ground (after like 3 years in the same pot...don't ask) that I wouldn't mind experimenting with. They are quite small and whippy, maybe 18-24 inches tall. They would be very easy to protect in the winter too if grown in this fashion. Thanks!
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Reply with quote  #35 
your branch will root where it contacts the soil,
so you'd get a branch half rooted and half leafs

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il fico, che meraviglia

Montreal south shore,
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actual list: hardy chicago, unknown1 (celeste?) and unknown2 (BT?)

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satellitehead

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Reply with quote  #36 
Questions, as I've started an Espalier at home recently:

1) How high off the ground is it suggested to start the horizontal branches?

2) Is there an easy way to get two branches to pop out at the same height to do the horizontal runs, or do you just get lucky?

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Jason
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