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British Broadcasting Corporation Home. How to grow your own fruit with this attractive, space-saving method. All you need is a sunny fence or wall. The term espalier refers to the way fruit trees are trained to grow against a wall.
WATCH RELATED VIDEO: How to espalier a fruit treeContent:
- Espaliered fruit trees – the perfect solution for small spaces
- Espalier an Apple Tree
- How to espalier a fruit tree in your garden
- Espalier Fruit Tree Training And Pruning
- Fruit tree forms
- Fruit Trees for Espalier
- Espaliered Fruit Trees
Espaliered fruit trees – the perfect solution for small spaces
So get in touch with your inner Frenchie, and give it a go! What you want to achieve is the creation of a "two-dimensional" or single-plane pattern made by the branches of the tree.
The technique was popular in the Middle Ages in Europe to produce fruit inside the walls of a typical castle courtyard — where space was limited - and to decorate solid walls. Evidence exists suggesting that the technique dates back even further, perhaps to ancient Egypt.
An espalier collects almost as much sunlight as a regular tree, yet has far less mass. It can also be planted next to a wall, which will reflect more sunlight and retain heat overnight, or be planted so that they are facing North and can absorb maximum sunlight. These two facts allow an espalier to succeed in cooler climates, where a non-espaliered tree of the same variety would fail. They also mature their fruit more quickly. Today, espaliered trees, ornamental and fruit producing, are grown not only against walls, but free-standing on wires, both to save space and to create screens as well.
So the notion that a lot of space is required to grow fruit is no longer valid. And remember, you do not require any special skills to espalier trees, as this comes with experience. Today, espalier has evolved from a space-saving technique into an art form.
Almost any variety of apple, pear or fig is suitable for espalier. Stone fruit peaches, plums and cherries are best suited to the fan-shaped espalier as their more brittle wood is difficult to train on the horizontal lines.
All fruit trees require a sunny site sheltered from wind If your region is prone to spring frosts, adequate air circulation around the tree is necessary. They can be grown along walls and fences but beware of north facing iron fences as the heat reflected from these may scorch the tree.
If you do not have a wall they can be grown along a free standing fence strung with wires supported by sturdy posts which should be placed about m apart and 2m of post above ground. Use soft materials such as hessian, rubber, nylon stockings to tie the branches to the wires. Do not tie with wire as this can damage the branches. There are several types of espalier, including Standard branches grow horizontally out of one central trunk , Palmette branches grow in a fan shaped pattern , and Cordon the tree resembles a Candelabra.
A Belgian Fence is a form of espalier that weaves a row of espaliers into a fence. There are other more elaborate shapes that are variations on the above. Each espalier pattern requires different training, but in general the light pruning and shaping is done in the autumn, the heavy pruning in the winter and the training in the summer when growth is at its peak. One year old trees are best, and the ideal is that they should be unbranched. If only branched trees are available, retain the straightest leader and cut away the rest.
After planting, the central leader is reduced to 5 cm below the first wire and when growth occurs, only the top 3 shoots should be allowed to grow. The top shoot is then tied to an upright cane that is secured to the wires.
The 2 side shoots will become the 2 lowest branches. Tie side shoots to canes at an angle of about 45 so the laterals maintain their strength of growth while training is started. In late autumn remove the supporting canes and tie the branches to the horizontal wires.
With the central stem again cut back to about 5 cm below the second wire to train the next tier. Continue every season until the tree reaches the top wire when you only retain 2 buds to tie down. For stone fruit, the central leader is cut out, leaving 2 vigorous side shoots which are trained outwards at 30 - 45 degree angles to encourage branching.
As they fruit only on 1 year old wood, there must be a continual renewal of growth to carry fruit.Fruit the lateral one year, and after harvest shorten to a side shoot near the base. Again 1 year old unbranched trees are best with side shoots shortened to 3 buds. If only branched trees are available, se1ect the straightest leader, cut the remaining leaders right back.
Plant at the angle intended for training. In Summer, prune strong lateral shoots longer than 30 cm, cut back to buds. In winter, prune according to growth, but leave laterals up to 10 cm uncut. Laterals cm long should be left uncut in year 1 and the following winter shortened back to a bud on 2 year old wood. This is done to encourage year old laterals to develop fruit buds.
Laterals longer than 20 cm can either be cut to 3 buds or tied down so that the tips are below the horizontal to encourage fruit buds on laterals. Following winter untie and shorten to 15 cm. This pattern will form a very dense screen and is best used in a free standing situation. To create this, several plants are spaced cm apart. After planting, prune and train as for a horizontal cordon. When the lateral shoots form, train them at opposite 45 degree angles so that laterals from neighboring plants cross to form a diamond pattern.
A plant that has been espaliered correctly is a beautiful asset to any garden or wall. It is a perfect solution for small-inner city gardens. Once your espaliered fruit trees have been established it will require less pruning and more support as the fruit grows heavier.
And you will be regarded as an Artiste! What types of fruit trees can be Espaliered? Locating your Espalier trees All fruit trees require a sunny site sheltered from wind If your region is prone to spring frosts, adequate air circulation around the tree is necessary. Types of Espalier There are several types of espalier, including Standard branches grow horizontally out of one central trunk , Palmette branches grow in a fan shaped pattern , and Cordon the tree resembles a Candelabra.
Standard Espalier Training techniques One year old trees are best, and the ideal is that they should be unbranched. Fan Espalier training techniques For stone fruit, the central leader is cut out, leaving 2 vigorous side shoots which are trained outwards at 30 - 45 degree angles to encourage branching. Cordon Espalier training techniques Again 1 year old unbranched trees are best with side shoots shortened to 3 buds. Belgian Fence Espalier training techniques This pattern will form a very dense screen and is best used in a free standing situation.
Espalier an Apple Tree
Espaliered trees bring fruit down to eye level. They allow for easy picking and take advantage of small spaces. Growing fruit trees flat against a wall or along a wire is a great way to grow a lot of fruit in a small space. Espalier tree training is an age-old art originating in Europe where very old espalier fruit trees can be found growing on brick and plaster walls. This method of tree training is becoming popular with New Zealand gardeners keen to create an attractive formal feature or grow more fruit in limited space. Espalier es-PAL-yer or es-pal-YAY is a method of training trees to grow in two dimensions in an ornamental design, often against a wall.
Espalier trained trees are a decorative and functional way to grow apples and pears – a central stem is trained upwards with a pair of horizontally trained.
How to espalier a fruit tree in your garden
Espaliered fruit trees are probably the smartest trees to look at in winter, with their tailored elegance. Espaliered fruit trees offer lots of fruit while taking up relatively little garden ground. The time to plant your espaliered fruit trees is technically between November and March, although these days, pot grown trees can probably be planted any time. However, the window for pruning your espaliered apple or pear trees is definitely in January or February. So I went to Brogdale near Faversham, home of the National Fruit Collection and Grow, the nursery attached, to talk to head nurseryman, David Morrice, about espaliered trees. The main trend is towards having as many fruit trees in your garden as you can fit in — people are now buying them in 6s and 10s rather than ones and twos. They offer blossom and fruit. Other people want to grow their own fruit for gourmet reasons. Espaliered fruit trees need pruning twice a year.
Espalier Fruit Tree Training And Pruning
Espaliers are often seen as the high-maintenance hedging of the landscape design world. Sure, the time for training and hands-on maintenance is more than your standard tree or shrub, and they are often seen in the most formal and grand of gardens. But really, espaliers can work in almost any garden type: big and small, formal and informal, grand and modest. The branches of these trees were trained into horizontal rows, mimicking the rails of the fence below.For city gardeners, espaliers in containers or planted along a brick wall provide interest and life to a barren visual space.
For some, the idea of fruit tree shapes might seem a little far-fetched, however, the art of espalier is becoming increasingly popular, especially for smaller gardens.
Fruit tree forms
This is the art of Espalier ess-pal-YAY , a practice that has been embraced since the days of the ancient Romans. The art of Espalier was perfected in England and northern France during the 16th century. There, it was used to extend the growing season in cool climates and encourage Fruit Trees to bear more heavily. Want to take advantage of this age-old wisdom on your own property? You can grow an Espaliered Apple or Pear or other Fruit Tree against a warm southern wall for an extra-long harvest. You can also use this strategy to successfully grow Trees that are borderline cold-hardy in your area, whether they are Fruit Trees or not.
Fruit Trees for Espalier
An "espalier," pronounced "es-PAL-yer" or "es-pal-YAY" is any plant trained to grow in a flat plane against a wall, fence, or trellis. The word espalier also may be used to describe the technique of training a plant to this flat plane. The Romans originated the technique, but later generations of Europeans refined it into an exacting but rewarding art. The espalier has considerable merit in today's garden. The practice originally was used in the old world to conserve space. The English located espaliered fruit trees against a wall with a southern exposure for cold protection. Today, espaliers are used mostly for decorative accents in the landscape.
In espalier, tree branches are typically trained flat along the wires of a trellis, which may be of several types, depending on how.
Espaliered Fruit Trees
Espalier trained trees consist of a vertical trunk and a set of horizontal arms or tiers extending either way bearing short lateral branches or spurs on which fruit is produced. Espalier trees are useful for growing fruit trees where space is limited and as a decorative feature on walls and fences. The shape is brought about by pruning and training. The arms would typically be 0.
Espalier is the art of training a plant to grow on an upright surface, such as a wire or trellis or a wall. We know that this practice dates all the way back to the days of the Pharaohs and their grand gardens.
Make a donation. Training apples and pears as espaliers is a space-saving way of growing fruit on a wall or fence. They require little pruning once established and are attractive in blossom and fruit and architectural during winter. Ornamentals such as Pyracantha are sometimes trained as espaliers. Apples and pears that bear short fruiting spurs not tip bearing.
Select a fruit tree, apples and pears both work well. Choose an upright growing variety with a straight stem, with two branches on opposite sides lower down on the stem, and ideally another two approximately 30cm higher. Train wire along your fence, approximately 30cm apart. Ensure the lowest wire is at the same height as the bottom two branches you want to train.