Espalier Fruit Trees: That's Natty!

What to do when you are faced with a blank wall,

but you want fruit trees?

Why - just use the ancient technique of espalier!

The word "espalier" is French, but originates from

the Italian word "spalliera" meaning

"something to rest the shoulder (spalla) against".

Perfect description! Even plants must get tired.

The technique is possibly thousands of years old,

although the term "espalier" dates from the 17th century.

Essentially, it means training trees to grow

with horizontal branches.

During the Middle Ages in Europe,

espaliers were popular in castle & monastery gardens.

It was a good way of maximising productive

space inside the safe perimeter walls.

But with increasingly smaller spaces,

it is a great technique for the modern garden too.

These illustrations are part of a fabulous

how-to guide from

Diggers using dwarf fruit trees.

It makes it simple and do-able!

You can pretty much use any kind of fruit tree,

although pears & apples are standout success stories.

But you can also espalier citrus, figs, olives,

peaches, plums & nectarines.

This fabulous old pear tree

is a brilliant example of just how beautiful

{and practical} an espalier fruit tree can be!

Images: 1/2: blue fruit  

3: my garden 4: how to grow espalier

5: RHS 6/7: Diggers

8: homestyle sa 9: Pear tree in Sussex