Fan Trained Trees
With a little effort it is possible to train a number of fruit trees into a fan. Like training an Espalier a fan is an attractive solution for gardens with limited space. Some fruit, such as gooseberries and blackcurrants, produce multiple branches from the base which can be spread out and tied in a fan which come harvest will facilitate picking the fruit.
This method of fan training is suitable for growing gooseberries, whitecurrants and redcurrants. Here’s a 4 minute video by Toby Buckland on fan-training a redcurrant which is well worth watching, particularly if you are just starting out.
It is also possible to grow a variety of tender fruits, particularly in the instance that you have a South Facing wall. Not only does the wall absorb and retain the heat of the sun but in securing the tree to the wall you ensure it receives the maximum amount of light throughout it’s life. This extends the growing season and favours fruits that might otherwise fail to grow in the UK. In the instance that you don’t have a south facing wall, try growing blackcurrants. These can be grown with relative success against any wall,including north facing.
Cherries, peaches and nectarines all make excellent fan trees and the above illustration shows how these might be trained to appear over time. A number of these fruits are particularly attractive to wildlife and one advantage of growing to this design is the ease with which you can protect the plants. This could be by means of netting during harvest or with frost protection throughout the winter.
Another fruit that prospers with fan training is figs. On the above illustration you can see how you might go about training a fig tree. This is best achieved in the winter when the tree is bear.