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If Michelangelo had pruning shears ....

In an old joke, Michelangelo is asked how he carves statues from marble. "Simple," he answers, "I just cut away everything that doesn't look like what I want." That's pretty much the way you make an espalier (a tree or shrub trained flat): prune away everything that doesn't grow in the plane you've selected. You can try it this month with a camellia or quince. Both make classic spring-flowering espaliers. Do it from scratch, or pay extra for a started plant Many nurseries sell quinces and camellias already espaliered against small trellises. To avoid paying a premium for that head start, buy an untrained plant; choose one with three to five strong branches already growing in roughly the same plane. Plant by a wall, and tie branches loosely to small nails tapped into the wall at 1- to 2-foot intervals. Over time, you'll train the plant into a loose fan shape, pruning out branches that grow perpendicular to the wall's plane as you go. A word about plant selection For a quince, be sure to choose a flowering one. Fruiting kinds grow too large for most espaliers and have inferior flowers. Among camellias, C sasanqua varieties are abundant, early flowering, and usually easy to train. There are other choices, however, like the C 'Salutation' pictured above. It's a hybrid between a C reticulata variety and C saluenensis. As you select a location for your espalier, remember that camellias tolerate more shade than quinces do.
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Title Annotation:tips for pruning
Date:Feb 1, 1991
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