Belgian Fence Apple Update - One Tree Lost - August 2021

Back in the dark, stay-at-home days of early COVID, I bought a series of eight tiny, various apple trees and proceeded to plant them 24" apart and lop them off at 18" tall.  Hoping that I'd - one day - have a diamond-pattern Belgian Fence espalier along the northern side of our property (facing south on the fence, though).  By August of that same year (2020), three of the trees had been lost.  And there was VERY little sense of the diamond pattern showing up just yet.  

This Spring, I came across two suitable crabapple trees (I needed three!) and planted them.  Suitable in this case means:  on the Honeycrisp pollinator list, cost less than $10 a piece and disease resistant or recommended.  They went into the #1 slot on the left.  And the #6 slot from the left.  Leaving slot #5 open.  

I have spent a little time out there pruning up the trees and wiring up the new growth this Summer.  The last time I posted a photo of this set of trees was mid-July when they were *STARTING* to show a little bit of that sought-after diamond pattern.    

A month later?  It looks even better.  Mostly.  See below for current photo.  Unfortunately, the crabapple in slot #1 on the far left is dead.  See below for marking it "LOST" on the overall tree list.   But the other one (slot #6) is leafing out.   The tree in slot #8 (far right) is shooting up over the top of the fence (which gives me some ideas) and I'm seeing some new diamonds emerge in the pattern. 


Here's a comparison shot: mid-August on top.  Mid-July on bottom.

Here (in a series below) are a few annotated versions of the current espalier - showing progress and problems.  First (below), in yellow, you can see the two fully-formed diamonds that are present.  The green arrows show the current growth and progress of the (now) six trees in the planting.  


Next (below), the red lines show the problems.  These are due to the trees NOT being planted (slot #1 and #5) or being new (slot #6).  Without a Fall planting, it will be (likely) Summer of 2023 before these fill in.  


And, finally (below), the blue arrows indicate where I think we'll be in a year.  The strong, green shoots will continue to extend and we'll end up with nine of the diamonds formed in the Belgian Fence.


This post serves a dual purpose.  First, is what you have above - a check-in on the growth.  Second, is to document the tree lost.  Running list below.

In terms of keeping score, I've now planted 59 trees since we bought the property and have 37 trees alive. 

Across this being our fifth growing season here.

59 trees planted/5 growing seasons = 11.8 trees on average planted each season.
37 trees alive/5 growing seasons = 7.4 trees on average survive each season.

2017 (9 planted. 4 Dead. 5 of the original annual total alive now):
1. Flowering Pear in backyard on north side.
2. Flowering Pear in front yard by garage. (LOST and replaced)
3. Japanese flowering cherry
4 and 5: 2 Lindens that I espalier'd and placed by the south fence line near our kitchen windows.
6. A Dawn Redwood from Earth Day 2017 (LOST and replaced)
7. Nat's Saucer Magnolia in our front yard
8. A Corkscrew Willow all the way in the back (LOST)
9. A Crimson King Norway Maple near the trampoline

2018 (17 planted. 6 Dead):
10. Another flowering pear from Earth Day 2018
11. Red Maple Sun Valley tree from Earth Day 2018.
12. Weeping Cedar tree - our first evergreen.  (LOST)
13. The weeping flowering cherry tree that the Babe planted for Earth Day 2018.
14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21. These Frans Fontaine Hornbeams
22. A replacement Chanticleer Pear tree (3" caliper) out front by our garage
23. Our second evergreen - a short Fraser Fir Christmas Tree out by the trampoline. (LOST)
24. This Canadian Hemlock that is the first of nine that our landscape plan calls for in the backyard. (LOST)
25. Our replanted/replacement Dawn Redwood. Same spot as the first.
26. This teeny-tiny Bald Cypress that I planted in the front yard, in between our driveway and our neighbor to the north.

2019 (9 planted.  5 Dead):
27, 28, 29.  A set of three small Canadian Hemlock Trees in our far backyard. (Two Lost)
30, 31, 32.  This second set of three small Canadian Hemlocks along the north fence line. (One Lost)
33.  My new Weeping White Spruce that will only grow about 4' wide placed near the fence line alongside the espalier'd Lindens.
34.  A NEW Dwarf Alberta Spruce planted near the south fence line.  Our first "dwarf" tree.
35.  This new Hakuro Nishiki Willow (Dappled Willow) tree planted close to the flowering cherry on the southside.  LOST - October 2020.

37.  A very thin Lombardy Poplar tree - columnar form - in the way back wood chip area.  LOST - July 2020.
38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45.  These apple trees in a Belgian Fence espalier.
46.  A small Northern Red Oak tree - our first Oak tree planted.
47.  A 'decapitated' Lavender Twist Weeping Redbud that I planted on a whim.
48.  A replacement (from the nursery) Lavender Twist Redbud planted close to the brother.
49.  A tall(ish) London Plane tree that suffered some transplant and frost shock, but seemed to recover. 
50.  Our second contorted tree - this one inspired by Disneyland Paris: a Harry Lauder's Walking Stick tree.
51.  Our third contorted tree - but one that checks A LOT of boxes.  Deciduous conifer.  Weeping.  Contorted.  Japanese.  Planted behind the front Maple - the Horstmann's Recursive Weeping Contorted Larch.  LOST - Aug 2020.
52.  Via the Morton Arboretum Plant Sale - a columnar tree from Japan - the Red Fox Katsura Tree that I planted as an understory tree to the dying Chanticleer Pear Tree next to our driveway. 

2021 (So Far) (7 planted and 6 alive):
53.  A tiny bareroot Shagbark Hickory from the Benet Academy Environmental Club planted in the backyard.   
55.  A large Weeping Nootka Falsecypress from Wannemaker's planted in the new bed on the northside. 
56.  A long-sought-after Emperor I Japanese Maple - our second Japanese Maple - that is now planted on the border near our new-to-be-created fire pit area in the backyard. 
57.  Harvest Gold Hargozam Crabapple tree in our Belgian Fence (replacement) LOST in August 2021.
59.  A dwarf Japanese White Pine - Pinus Parviflora Nana (or perhaps something else)

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