Apple Tree Belgian Fence Espalier In the Works - April 2020

My 2020 to-do list for the yard included this item in #8:  "Find cheap fruit trees (that include pollinators) and plant a Belgian Fence (somewhere)."  Welp, I found eight apple trees at the same Home Depot tree sale last week and brought them home to start a Belgian Fence.  Here's a look at some of them below.

I have documented the Belgian Fences that we came across in Disneyland over the years.  Here's the first one that caught my attention on a trip.  And here's another from a different trip.

I ended up picking apple trees for this because they had the right amount of them and had a variety that I was most keen to get:  Honeycrisp. 

One of the things that I've picked up while researching the Belgian Fence was to learn that it is best to select two varieties of apple trees that are 'pollinators'.  In a look at the list for Honeycrisp apples, one of the selected pollinators is Yellow/Golden Delicious.  They are cross-pollinators.    So, I picked up five Honeycrisp trees and three of these Yellow Delicious.

These trees are all of varied height and limbs.  I plan on chopping ALL of them off at 16" to 18" tall, so the only thing that matters at this point is the caliper.  Once I get them in the ground, I'll measure them and document them here in the garden diary.  

I'm pretty excited to give this a a try - it will be our second espalier setup - the first being the pair of Linden trees.

My current plan is to space these 16" apart and have four anchor points tall - each at 16" apart.  For a total of 64" or so tall for this Belgian Fence.  I've put together this basic sketch that lays out how an 8-tree Belgian Fence espalier with 4 'diamonds' high would look.

I am going to keep the end trees 'proud' or tall, so those might get the most action in the first few seasons, but I'm hoping that by next Summer, we'll get to the 32" mark with the lower limbs and have a couple of diamonds setting up.  Open question for me is what to do with the bottom - do we run a straight line across the bottom and top? Or leave it open?

Disneyland makes it like a rectangle - with solid growth straight across the bottom and the top.  I'm thinking that's what I should do here.

Also...since it is going to take *SO LONG* to get right, I should think about planting another espalier or two on the property.  Maybe in the front along the sideyard?  Or a crabapple against the house?  Like this?   


  1. I live in Wilmette. I have just a little garden experience and none with fruit I want to plant an pre espaliered fruit tree in my yard next May 2021. Could you help me find somebody to teach me how to prune it for the first few years? Perhaps there is an "espalier" interest group in Chicago or a company that specializes in maintaining espaliers? Thanks.


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