What does Espalier mean?
In horticulture, espalier refers to the process of training plants- including trees- to grow against a support such as a wall or a trellis. Consequently, the plant starts to grow in the direction or shape of its support system. The process of espalier was initially developed in Europe in order to encourage fruit production in trees, even in incompatible climates.
Espaliers are especially important in colder regions where the support walls provide heat to the plants. In most cases, however, espaliers are set up purely for aesthetic purposes. Homeowners often use wooden, wire or metal frames that encourage the plants to adopt an ornamental shape. Shrubbery, for example, can easily be trained to grow on fences, brick or even glass walls.
Trees and plants such as pear trees, yew, apple trees, magnolia, sweet bay, fire thorn, loquat and just about every type of Evergreens are known for being excellent espaliers. Plant training has also been shown to be excellent for smaller gardens. In some cases, espaliers are trained against a wall in order to absorb plenty of sunshine. One of the most popular types of espalier training is tip pruning a plant once it attains its desired growth before tying its auxiliary branches to a frame.