Pitmaston Pineapple double cordon

Pitmaston Pineapple is an old English variety with smallish apples of a golden-russet hue. Their flavour has a unique musky note which is poetically rather than accurately described, as pineapple-like. It is distinct enough, however, to make it worth growing if you have space for several varieties.

One of the best ways of growing a wide range of apples in a small garden is to grow them as trained forms against a fence or wall. Cordons take up the least space, allowing them to be planted 18in (45cm) apart. In my case, I grew a more complex form: the double cordon.

Double Cordon

Above Left: This is my Pitmaston Pineapple double cordon, as it was in April 2012 just as the blossom was breaking. You can see the simple ‘Y’ structure of the main framework. It took a few years to grow it to the top of the fence, but from then on it is simply pruned back to this basic shape each year. (See summer pruning)

Above Right: Here it is a few months later (August 2012) after its summer hair-cut, with well spaced apples where the blossom previously grew.

Update: 2016/2017

Each season is different. In 2016 the trees came into leaf and flower late and had fewer blossoms. In 2017 the flowers were a whole month earlier and more floriferous. Was it something I did or just the weather? I guess I’ll never know!

4 thoughts on “Pitmaston Pineapple double cordon”

  1. Can any apple variety be trained to grow on trellis ? I bought a queen cox on a dwarf root stock. I have a very small garden

    • Hello Patricia

      Yes! Give it a go. As long as it gets enough sun it should do fine. You can keep any apple confined to a smallish area by training as I have shown in these posts. The only proviso is that you should use a spur fruiting, not tip bearing, variety, otherwise the training will remove the fruiting tips. You should be able to look your variety up on lone to check which it is.

      Hope that helps!

  2. Hello, Wonderful examples of trained fruit. I think your blog is terrific and truly inspiring. Well done. I plan to have a go and have made a few purchases to plant this winter and begin a similar adventure next season. I’m still preparing my planting sites and pondering the whole issue of support wires. Unfortunately, I have inherited concrete fence pots with the house, so plan to put a few free standing wooden posts near them. What kind of wire do you use and how to you apply tension? What about spacing between wires and how often do you tighten them when slackening? Does a tree with woody branches flex when the wires eventually slacken over the growing season? I’d be interested to know your thoughts on the matter.
    Kind regards,

    • Thanks for the kind words. I hope you have fun with your fruit training.

      For support wires I use Gripple which is a tensioning system based on nylon rather than steel ‘wires’. It has several advantages. First it does not go slack like steel, say if you inadvertantly lean on it (I used to hate that) and it never rusts. The nylon is a couple of mm thick, and black. It’s sturdy and easy to tie too. The system has tensioner a that you thread the nylon through, with a non-return grip inside. To tension, you just pull the nylon through as tight as you like and the tensioner holds it. The only time I’ve needed to retention is when I accidentally cut it! Although the tension blocks are one way, if you need to remove the or release the tension it’s possible using a screwdriver.

      My wire spacing is about 14inches. I think it does not matter much, unless you are purchasing part trained espaliers in which case buy them first, then set the support wires to match the height of each tier.

      Hope that helps,

      Keir Watson


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