How to Grow Fruit in Tight Urban Spaces? ESPALIER!
The word espalier is French, but it originates from the Italian ‘spalliera’, which means ‘something to rest the shoulder against.’ An ancient technique used since the Roman Empire, espaliering refers to the practice of training a tree into a flattened, two-dimensional shape, usually for the purpose of growing fruit in a small space.
Espaliered plantings are a wonderful fruit production strategy for urban yards. They are not only extremely decorative aesthetically and take up little space, but they can often extend the growing season by absorbing reflected sunlight when trained against walls.
Most espaliered trees are trained by cutting back a small tree to one central branch. Side buds are removed selectively to create the desired horizontal branching pattern. There are many patterns for espaliering trees, including the Belgian fence, Palmette, Cordon, and Candelabra. Fruit trees that lend themselves to espaliering include apples, pears, cherries, and stone fruits.
This spring, ask your local nursery or garden store about their espalier stock. If you’re ambitious (and patient!), you can train your own. Get a good espalier guidebook at the library, select a worthy young tree, and have fun!
This entry was posted on Tuesday, February 25th, 2014 at 5:04 pm
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