Interesting Plant: Espalier Fruit Trees

Espalier Fruit Trees

Today’s entry to more about a style of plants, rather than an individual plant. espalier fruit trees have been a part of gardening since and have always fascinated me. They are a bit of work to maintain, but fit in so well with certain aspects of gardens — like walls and fences. Espalier methods can turn even the smallest garden into a productive garden with a little work.

 Espalier

Discovered via Pinterest User, Bianca Lemos Felga

Espalier (/ɨˈspælɪər/ or /ɨˈspæli./) is the horticultural and ancient agricultural practice of controlling woody plant growth for the production of fruit, by pruning and tying branches to a frame, frequently in formal patterns, flat against a structure such as a wall, fence, or trellis, and also plants which have been shaped in this way.[1]

Espaliers, trained into flat two-dimensional forms, are ideal not only for decorative purposes, but also for gardens in which space is limited. In a temperate climate, they may be planted next to a wall that can reflect more sunlight and retain heat overnight or planted so that they absorb maximum sunlight by training them parallel to the equator. These two facts allow theseason to be extended so that fruit has more time to mature.

A restricted form of training consists of a central stem and a number of paired horizontal branches all trained in the same plane. The most important advantage is that of being able to increase the growth of a branch by training it vertically. Later, one can decrease growth while increasing fruit production by training it horizontally.

A Belgian fence is created by cutting back an unbranched, slender tree to between fifteen and eighteen inches above the ground. The topmost three buds are allowed to form; one in the middle is trained vertically while two others are trained into a V shape. Any other buds are rubbed away. Removing the vertical stem completes the individual V-shaped espalier. By placing many similarly trained trees in a line two feet apart with their branches trained to the same plane, a Belgian fence is created. — Wikipedia


More information on Espalier: 
Some of these books may be available at your local library! 

 

Previously in the Interesting Plant series: 

Interesting Plant is a series from A Gardener’s Notebook blog and podcast that highlights the most interesting plants I find in my Internet and real-world travels — Douglas

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