Cordon Fruit Trees

Cordon fruit trees make an attractive, easy, space saving option. Consisting of a single main stem with short sideshoots.

The best way to grow a cordon tree is at a 45 degree angle thus allowing it more length whilst still being at an accessible height to reach when pruning and harvesting fruit. Cordons should always be grown against something as they need to be permanently supported by wires. Against a wall is always a good choice as it will be warmer and easier to protect, but can also be grown using posts and wires.

Unlike Fans and Espaliers cordons are not suitable for vigorous cultivars or rootstocks as they are difficult to control. The varieties chosen also need to be spur bearing. Tip-bearing varieties are unsuitable as the tips needs to be pruned each year.

Cordon Trees

How to Cordon train a Fruit Tree

Training a cordon is one of the easiest forms, as it is based on a single stem. They need permanent support either against a wall or by using horizontal wires.

Start with a maiden tree and plant straight up, or at a 40-45 degree angle. Planting at an angle is more advisable as you can gain more length from the tree and should ideally be inclined to the north. If planting multiple cordons, they should be 2-3ft apart.

After planting, cut back all laterals (side shoots) longer than 10cm (4in) to three buds, leaving the leader and any short laterals unpruned.

Once the main stem has reached the desired height, cut back to one leaf each spring.


The pruning of cordons doesn’t need to be very precise, just snip off tips back to two or three leaves or buds each year.

Cordon Apple and Pear

Frank P Matthews Cordon Trees

Our Cordon trees are grown on semi-dwarf rootstocks: M9 (Apples), Quince Eline® (Pears).


Grown in the field as a 2 year tree followed by a final year as container grown. This growing cycle involves 4 – 6 pruning operations to develop short spur bearing branches from 0.4m upwards, with a dominant central leader. Minimum height 1.4m.

You can purchase direct from our Tree Shop in Worcestershire by clicking here or find your local stockist.

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