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Kitchen Gardening

An Easy Approach to Espalier

Train a fruit tree into a beautiful and practical form with just a few simple steps

Fine Gardening - Issue 152


My clients often tell me that they would like to grow fruit trees but don’t because they lack the space. Others complain about a fence that needs to be broken up visually, or sometimes they just want an interesting way to divide one area of the garden from another. The answer to each of these problems is an espaliered fruit tree. Almost any tree can be trained into a two-dimensional form. From Roman gardens to French chateaux to Great Britain’s estates, espaliered trees have been spreading their limbs for centuries. Despite its age-old pedigree, the espalier technique is now more applicable than ever, making it possible for us to nestle fruit trees into modern small gardens where they otherwise wouldn’t fit.

Espaliered trees offer many conve­niences: The fruit can be harvested without ladders, pruning (essential with any fruit tree) is easier because of the organized growth,…

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