Espaliered plants were originally developed in Europe to grow fruit trees in a warm microclimate. A warm wall was used to provide heat and support to the plant. Later, trellises were also used to support espalier plants.

Supports for Espaliered plants

Supports for espalier plants now include wooden, metal and wire supports as well as stone, brick and even glass walls.

An espaliered pear tree covering a grey fence.

An espaliered pear tree covering a grey fence.

 

Espalier Ideas in Landscaping

Espalier is a great technique for improving the look of a fence or wall especially in the case of a small garden. One of the problems with narrow garden is the question of how to create visual balance. Espaliered plants can help to give a narrow garden asymmetrical balance and also soften any hard surfaces. This landscaping design idea will also make a small garden appear larger. 

Popular Espaliered Plants

What fruit trees are the best for Espalier?

Often fruit trees are grown in espaliered form along a warm wall. Apples and pears are popular choices, but you could also try this with peaches and apricots.

What ornamental trees can be espaliered?

The fire thorn (Pyracantha coccinea) Can be grown as an Espaliered Plant.

The fire thorn (Pyracantha coccinea) Can be grown as an Espalier.

 

Pyracantha Orange Charmer can be grown as a hedge or Espaliered Plant

Pyracantha Orange Charmer can be grown as a hedge or espalier.

How to create your own espaliered tree

The first step on creating your own espalier tree is to construct the training system on a fence or wall. For this you will need to make horizontal cables or wires around 400mm apart. Good quality stainless steel cables will look best but are a bit more expensive. The distance apart  for the trees will depend on the type of tree and how vigorous the tree growth is. The following steps are as follows;

  1. Cut back the trunk to around 300mm high.
  2. Allow the top 3 buds to grow out in the springtime.
  3. Train the uppermost shoot to grow vertically up a cane.
  4. Tie the other shoots to canes at around 45 degrees and carefully lower them to a horizontal position with twine in the first winter.
  5. Cut the vertical stem to within 450mm of the lower branches. It is important to have 3 buds at the uppermost point, as two buds will form the next horizontal layer and the top bud will form the next vertical leader.
  6. The following years will be a repeat of step 4.
Training an espalier apple tree.

Training an espalier apple tree.

 

Large Espaliered tree against a building

More Gardening information from Red’s Landscaping

 

Cottage garden ideas from the Cotswolds

Path Design for Cottage Gardens

 

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