It's vital that newly planted espaliers develop a strong root system and top growth, for better fruits later on. David Hurrion explains how to do this by removing the fruit, plus his tips on helping them establish well.
In the first year, you need to encourage good root establishment and strong top growth. It may seem sacrilege, but it’s much better to remove all the fruit as soon as it forms in the first year. You’ll also help the plant establish if you water it well in dry weather and apply a 10cm-thick mulch around the base of the tree – but keep this away from the trunk as it can damage the bark.
And give your espalier some high-potash fertiliser in late February and again in June, to encourage next year’s flower buds.