Contributed by Green Landscape Nursery
Espaliering is the training and pruning of a tree (often a fruit tree) or shrub so that the branches, coming from a vertical stem, lay flat horizonatally against a wall. This saves space, and provides a warm place for the trees to thrive. Plus, it opens up the branches, which increases fruit production, and the heavy pruning generates larger fruit. And--the best part--the fruit can be reached easily when it's juicy and ripe for picking!
To train an espalier, run heavy wires horizontally against a wall, trellis or fence at 18" intervals. Gently tie branches to the wires. Plant a young tree 6-10 inches away from the wall. Cut unwanted lateral branches
the first wire, and cut the plant off just above the first wire to trigger growth of buds just below the cut. Select three good buds; rub out any other buds that sprout. Train shoots from two of the buds onto the wire in opposite directions. Allow the top bud to grow to form a trunk. Next winter, cut the developing trunk just below the second wire to trigger three more buds. Repeat the process until the growth reaches the highest wire.
Good fruits for espaliering include apples, pears, figs, kiwi, persimmons, and some citrus. Good ornamentals to espalier include ssanqua camellias, forsythia, magnolia grandiflora, pyracantha, and star jasmine.
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