Create an apple stepover
Trained low growing apples bring fruit into the tiniest of spaces
TRAINING APPLES : as stepover trees provides a space-saving way of growing fruit in the smallest of gardens. Both attractive and productive, they make the perfect boundary for a veg patch.
What is it? A stepover is an apple grown as a low horizontal cordon that can literally be stepped over.
Why do it? They’re beautiful as a way of edging beds and bringing fruit into even the tiniest of spaces
Which plants should I use? Choose a spur-fruiting cultivar (not tip fruiting, or you’ll be forever pruning away fruit) and a dwarf rootstock. Ask the nursery for a ﬂexible ‘young maiden whip’ (a single-stemmed, one-year-old tree).
How much space do I need? Allow about 2m (6½ between trees.
How do I do it? Ere a series of low post with a single wire running at 45cm (18in) high between t posts. You’ll need this to tie the branches onto.
➤ Method 1: Over the course of the next year, gradually bend your maiden whip by weighting its tip until it forms a single horizontal ar
➤ Method 2: Prune the whip to a bud at around 30cm (12in). When new shoots appear, train one arm in each direction to form (a T) shape. Keep one shoot in reserve until you’re sure the two you’ve chosen are growing strongly.
What sort of maintenance will it need? Once your main stepover is trained, you’ll need to summer prune the plant by cutting back laterals (side shoots) to three leaves, after the lowest cluster of leaves.