fruit trees

Just received an apple tree which I want to train as a cordon. However
it is about 5 ft long and there are lots of branches up the length o the tree. Do I just cut all these back to leave just the central stem?
I also received a peach tree which I want to train as a fan. This i also about 5 feet long with side branches all the way up as well . Th lowest 2 branches are on opposite sides at about the right height, bu thy are weak looking. Should I still prune just above these branches?
Incidentally, I also got a cherry tree, but I dont have any worrie with this
-- flimbin
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The biggest mistake people make in wanting to train a tree is thinking that they have to start immediately. What you need to start first is a healthy root system and good growth. So the training can wait especially on the apple. Peaches are much faster growing. Cut out some of the branches on the peach that are obviously out of your 2-D plan and wait until new growth is underway. Don't depend on any existing side growth for your ultimate framework. Leave plenty of leaves since they are the growth producing factory but snip out the top few inches of your center growth. This will induce lots of side bud development for about a foot or so on down the stem. Select from these to be your framework but you don't need to prune the others out until next winter when you can really begin to start shaping. Remember you want lots of leaves. If you want to start your fan lower, then snip the center growth a little lower than I mentionned. Where I'm from peaches grow like weeds and need lots of pruning, sometimes severe. For the apple trim the branches back to the bud closest to the tree. They can be removed totally later if desired but will produce leaves for growth. Most should provide the foundation for your cordon. Some people say to cut the branches back to a bud half way back to the trunk. This gives more leaves for growth and can always be trimmed back further later. Unlike peaches, the central leader should be left until the full desired height of the cordon is reached. Gary
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V_coerulea Wrote:

Thanks. That's really useful and I guess I was making the mistake yo mention at the start
-- flimbin
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I don't do any espalier, but grow a lot of apples, peaches, etc. However, I passed your email on to a fellow clubmember (Midfex), who does do that. He had trouble growing the peaches, as a fan, which is the only way he feels you can do the espalier with peaches. The problem was keeping the structure in subsequent years while still producing fruit. He was only able to get fruit in those cases by allowing a rather unkempt growth, producing a rather unattractive tree.
Hope this helps,
Sherwin D.
flimbin wrote:

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