a lesson in espalier…


my new little apple tree looks like it’s hooked up to some torture chamber. poor thing!

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but don’t worry, this little tree isn’t being tortured, it’s being trained. the true term is espalier. according to wikipedia here’s the best definition/explanation (because if i tried to explain it in my own words, you be probably be lost…)

“Espalier is the horticultural technique of training trees through pruning and grafting in order to create formal “two-dimensional” or single plane patterns 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 without interfering with the open space, and to decorate solid walls by such trees planted near them.”

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i know it sounds much more complicated than in really is… they are basically just trees trained to grow flat and pruned in a pattern. see..

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neat looking, right?

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and you can even grow them into a fence!! wow! how cool is that!?

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supposedly is mostly done with fruit trees, but i guess it could work with others. anything is worth a shot right?

and here is mine!

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pathetic right now. i know. this one i planted last year. i believe its a dwarf apple tree of sorts. maybe pear? i forget. it’s budding (see photos above), so i’m happy to see it survived the winter. (as you can see it planted in a hole i chipped out of the blacktop…not easy) the actual tree only cost me $20! great right!? if you buy a trees that’s already espaliered, they can run close to $200! yikes. plus… it takes away all the fun.

when choosing the tree, i did take the time to look for one that had two branches sort of coming out of the trunk at the same level. (sorry i didn’t take a picture of the tree when i first got it.) then i trimmed off the excess and tied things up. as you can see above i have three rows. one row is right where the siding meets the cement block (kinda hard to see). i’m going to create as many rows as i can on this tree. it’s in front of a shed of sorts. so i’d like it to extend to the top and all the way across. we’ll see!

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then this tree i just bought a week or so ago. it’s a bing cherry. this one’s not quite as tall, but it was super straight and had four very good arms!

the goal for this one is to get it too look like this. neat right?

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once the leaves on my trees come out, i’ll post some more pictures.

so what do you think? cool, right? do you have an espalier tree? do you want one? they are really, really easy, and you can’t screw up… i suppose. and for $20, who cares if you do.

just do a bit of research, like here or here or here if you want to learn more about growing/shaping one yourself.

and i have to tell you, i read the instructions myself, some ideas i did take away, but i’m not much of a planner…. so basically i’m doing what i think will work and hoping for the best! that’s how i roll.

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Posted By at 6:11 PM
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  • Anonymous at

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  • Krista at

    I love this idea! I don’t know how you have time for all these projects…can’t wait to see it in person!

  • The Innkeeper To Go at

    My husband’s father had an espalier fence (no actual fence, just the apple trees) surrounding his veggie garden in France.

    He’s been dead 30 years now and his veggie garden is long gone. But the apple trees remain and are still lovely.

    A fabulous living eulogy.

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