Espalier is the art of training a tree, shrub, or vine to grow on a flat surface. It began in France because of the poor weather conditions and has been used for hundreds of years, especially for fruit trees. This technique creates a beautiful plant structure, and is effective in saving space in a small area as well as generating more heat for the plants as it is reflected of the walls. Trees trained in this method are generally trained flat against a wall, space, or building. It is an easy way for a gardener to have room in a small yard to care for and maintain fruit trees.
As I mentioned in my last post, I would continue with the other trees I have recently purchased on my shopping frenzy. One of the trees I bought happened to be an espaliered apple. This treasure was something that I have wanted for years but because of lack of space or availability had just never gotten around to buying. So when I happened to actually see one at Home Depot a few weeks ago my heart jumped! It was in perfect condition with little apples already forming on three of the branches. What is so amazing to me about these trees is there are six different kinds of apples growing on each tree. A different variety for each branch.
My problem was, how was I going to get it home? Usually Pierre can come down and pick up whatever it is I have found, but he was out-of-town for the weekend. Which left me with plan B. The convertible. My friend and I paid for the tree, Home Depot is always very nice and they will usually hold a tree for you for 24 hours. We then went to my house and picked up my car returned and put the top down. This isn’t the first time we have done this mind you and I can only do it at this particular store because it is only a few miles from my home. No freeway. Karen and I loaded up the tree in the back with me of course and drove very slowly home. I have to say I didn’t lose one apple.
I’m sure it was a sight to see!
There are a few basics for successful espalier fruit trees. Most fruit trees require sun, and good soil drainage. Ideally you want a south-facing or west-facing wall in your yard for sun. Make sure you are purchasing fruit trees that are compatible with your climate zone. For full instructions on how to construct the wire structure for your espaliered tree, check out this link at Sunset Magazine. But most of all have fun with this traditional and beautiful form of gardening!