For some, the idea of fruit tree shapes might seem a little far-fetched, however, the art of espalier is becoming increasingly popular, especially for smaller gardens.
Put simply, espalier is a decorative style of fruit tree training. Featuring in both formal and informal gardens in Europe, this method of tree training is attracting kiwi gardeners who are keen to create a compact and attractive tree feature. Espalier trees are often grown against a wall, but wires between posts can also be used to support and train the tree. By doing so, the tree creates the perfect divider for different areas of your garden, while still retaining sunlight and visibility.
Let’s take a look at how it’s done…
1. First, it’s important to plan your pattern and the type of fruit tree that might work. Consideration should be given here to the age of wood the fruit is borne on.
2. Choose a location – preferably somewhere north-facing that gets a minimum of 6 hours of direct sunlight.
3. Prepare the support, fixing horizontal wires to a structure that will support your espalier and train the branches at desired angles. Wires should be spaced 30 – 60cm apart, with eyebolts used on fences and walls to keep the tree away from the structure.
4. Plant your tree, setting it in the ground about 30cm from the wall, fence or post structure.
5. Your tree is ready to begin its training. For the first couple of years, while your fruit trees are getting established, remove some of the fruit before it gets much bigger than pea-sized which will help promote a higher quality for the remaining fruit.
For more information and expert advice, come in and talk to one of our friendly staff in store.