Jun 16, 2011

Espalier Fruit Trees: That's Natty!

What to do when you are faced with a blank wall,
but you want fruit trees?
Why - just use the ancient technique of espalier!

The word "espalier" is French, but originates from 
the Italian word "spalliera" meaning
"something to rest the shoulder (spalla) against". 
Perfect description! Even plants must get tired.

The technique is possibly thousands of years old,
although the term "espalier" dates from the 17th century.
Essentially, it means training trees to grow 
with horizontal branches.

During the Middle Ages in Europe, 
espaliers were popular in castle & monastery gardens.
It was a good way of maximising productive
space inside the safe perimeter walls.

But with increasingly smaller spaces, 
it is a great technique for the modern garden too.

These illustrations are part of a fabulous 
how-to guide from Diggers,
using dwarf fruit trees.
It makes it simple and do-able!

You can pretty much use any kind of fruit tree, 
although pears & apples are standout success stories.
But you can also espalier citrus, figs, olives, 
peaches, plums & nectarines.

This fabulous old pear tree 
is a brilliant example of just how beautiful 
{and practical} an espalier fruit tree can be!

Images: 1/2: blue fruit  3: mygarden 4: how to grow espalier  5: RHS


  1. Gorgeous as well as practical, Virginia. Great post!

  2. awesome tutorial - thanks for posting this.
    cheryl xox.

  3. Oh, beautiful, thanks for sharing.
    This is something I must show to my gardener.

  4. Great information, great post, some really good practical tips makes you want to go out planting

  5. Great photo's of Espaliers at differing stages. Shows that you can use them in small spaces or against a large wall


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