|Fig in early stages of espalier training.|
Note that the lowest limbs are generally horizontal to the ground. I say "generally" because the nice lush leaves hide alot of my mistakes. The top 2/3 of the plant grew last summer. Talk about some serious growth.
I finally wised up this past weekend and built an appropriate "ground level" support/frame for the lowest limbs. I drove 2-foot cedar stakes into the ground and used a plastic coated metal pole for the horizontal guide section. I used plastic ribbon to firmly secure the pole to the posts. I then pulled down the wayward growth and secured it tightly (but with enough slack/space to allow for growth without strangling the limbs) to the horizontal pole.
|Cedar stakes and horizontal pole to train lowest limbs.|
|If I opt for a stepover, I will cut the central growth you see at the corner of the shed.|
|Vertical summer growth from a stepover fig tree trained horizontally. You can also see small figs in this picture.|
|Lush stepovers in active growth.|
|Stepover figs in the fall after leaf drop. Note the massive limbs that grew during the main growing season.|
|Here is a set of heavily pruned stepovers. They don't necessarily look pretty, but they are extremely productive in a relatively small growing space.|
What do you guys think of this? Does anybody have experience with espaliered fruit trees? Do you have any pictures, links, or suggestions to share? Let me know, I'd love to hear from you.