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.
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.
1. Flowering Pear in backyard on north side.
3. Japanese flowering cherry
4 and 5: 2 Lindens that I espalier'd and placed by the south fence line near our kitchen windows.
7. Nat's Saucer Magnolia in our front yard
2018 (17 planted. 6 Dead):
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
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.
33. My new Weeping White Spruce that will only grow about 4' wide placed near the fence line alongside the espalier'd Lindens.
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.
49. A tall(ish) London Plane tree that suffered some transplant and frost shock, but seemed to recover.