Building Wire Supports to Grow Fruit on Walls, Fences & Posts

How to train fruit trees on wires

building wire supports

  • These are instructions for fixing wires to existing fences or walls.
  • If you are making your own rows of posts out in the open, it is best to make them run North-South and so face East-West.

Suitable Facing Directions for Wire-Trained Fruit Trees Against a Wall or Fence

Facing Direction of wall or fenceCharacteristicsSuitable Plants
South Facing Sunniest. Gets dry in summer, so mulching & watering are important. All - Heat loving plants like figs can only be grown on South facing walls.
West Facing Afternoon Sun. Good rainfall. Cherries, Pears, Plums, Damsons, Gages, Apples, All Berry Bushes
East Facing Morning Sun. Less rainfall & colder than West facing. Cherries, Early Pears, Plums, Damsons, Gages, Apples, All Berry Bushes
North Facing Least Sun - only certain plants will be able to make a decent crop. Fan trained Morello Cherries & Damsons, Early Apples, Cordon Currant bushes, Gooseberries, Blackberries

You will need 14 or 16 gauge galvanised fencing wire. 14 gauge wire is necessary for rows of cordons and espaliers, the thinner 16 gauge wire is fine for fan-trained trees and soft fruit.

The wire needs to be held away from the stand out from the wall or fence by about 2-4 inches / 5-10 cms. You can use wooden battens or angled metal angle brackets to do this.

The spacing of the wires depends on what you want to grow:

Spacing Between Wires for Different Types of Fruit Tree

Fruit Tree ShapeWire Spacing
Diagonal Cordons Every 2 feet / 60cms
Fan Trained Trees Every 6 inches / 15cms. Start at 15 inches / 40 cms above the ground.
Espaliers Every 15-18 inches / 40-45cms. Start at 15 inches / 40 cms above the ground.

To make the wires nice and tight, you will need to use straining bolts at one end: you can fix the wire to these and then tighten them to make the wire taut. You can ask you local DIY shop for advice.

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