Thursday, May 5, 2011

5 May 1957 “Espalier Fruit Trees: Beauty and Function”

I had a comment asking about espalier fruit trees. I have mentioned espalier trees in the past. This is a very old form of keeping fruit and also displaying line and form in purely ornamental trees and shrubs.
Espalier :A tree or shrub that is trained to grow in a flat plane against a wall, often in a symmetrical pattern.  (French, from Italian spalliera, shoulder support, from spalla, shoulder, from Late Latin spatula, shoulder blade)
I thought I would start with some images showing the various shapes of espalier.
 espaliertree1 (READ MORE)

espalierhorzcordon The Horizontal Cordon.
espalierfanThe  fan.
espaliertripleu Triple “U”
esplaierbelgianfence The Belgian Fenceespalierbelgianfence2 Here we can see a Belgian Fence in full fruit. This looks to be a younger fence.
espaliercandleabraThe  Candelabra
HERE is a fun flickr page with a few varieties, both fruit and ornamental.
I was asked about a good book on the subject.
espalierbook This is one of my favorite. It is an older book. I have it in the store, but I think there are only about 6 left. You can find it HERE.There is also  The Pruning Book has some how to in it as well as good maintenance and care. I have a few books on pruning and fruit trees there.
Here are some good visual examples on trying your own espalier. My dream is to one day have a living fence of apple and pear around a vegetable garden.

I would also highly recommend Henry Luethardt Nurseries They specialize in espalier and have good trees. It can be expensive to buy an already espaliered tree, especially as you get the more involved patterns, but a simple straight Single Vertical Cordon from them at around 4-6ft high is only $35.00. A fun idea, I think, would be to use these vertical cordons along the posts and then train a simple two tier fence cordon in between these. It would give a great impact and give you fruit sooner.
There was also a question about grafting trees. This is where one takes cuttings from various types of fruit trees (either all same species such as apple or even various such as peach, plum, pear all on one tree!) and splices or grafts it onto a main fruit bearing tree stock.
Here is a great video how to.
I hope this gets enough of you excited to one to have a go at it.
Happy Homemaking.


  1. Wow! You learn something new every day!

    By the way--have you heard that my 1st novel is being released on tomorrow?! Check it out on my blog! Have a wonderful Cinco De Mayo honey! Kori xoxo

  2. Thank you so much for the info and videos of how to graft and espalier a fruit tree. This is way more then I hoped for. I'm so grateful for your help.
    I have since learned that one must start with dwarf fruit trees in order to get a shorter fence. I believe the buds on the trunk are closer together. The designs are pure artwork and so beautiful. This will be easier to harvest and maintain the trees so there won't be any climbing up ladders. I'm excited to get started. Maybe one this year. Again thank you.
    I'll be reading your posts often.
    Blessings, Janet W.

  3. I have wanted a espaliered apple tree for many years, and knows exactly where to put it. It would look very decorative up against the back of the garage wall and I could eat lovely apples in Autumn. We have a very old, supposedly from 1930, like the house, apple tree in our garden, but the apples are sour. Back then you always planted sour apple tree since they were good for cooking, juice and preserving. Wishing you both a lovely weekend. :)

  4. Never knew those type of trees existed, very neat :)

    Mom in Canada


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