If you've ever wanted an apple tree, but don’t want a large tree that takes up a lot of space and requires climbing a ladder to reach the fruit, then you might like to have a cordon or an espalier apple tree.
A cordon is a tree that has been trained to only form two to four branches. When you learn how and when to prune it, you can keep it to about eight feed wide and still grow lots of fruit to harvest year after year. To keep from having to prop up limbs when they get weighed down with fruit, cordon trees can be planted on a support structure. When they're grow this way, they are usually called espalier trees. In summer all of the branches should be pruned back to just three buds. It's important to keep just enough foliage on the plant to where it supports the fruit. Pruning needs to be done every year to maintain the size of the plant, but it should be fairly easy to do because all the branches should be within reach.
The cordon or espalier trees are a solution to growing apples without taking up too much space in your yard. This can also be done with pear, peach, and plumb trees.