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HOMELawn Care Articles

Espalier Pruning
by Carole Schwalm A close up photograph of some bradford pear tree blossoms with a blurry background.

The specialty pruning known as espalier is a unique way to not only save space, but to create a lovely focal point in a yard or patio. The trees or plants are trained to grow along a flat plane. (Fruit trees are often espaliered to save space, and against a southern exposure the pruning helps protect the fruit.

Some illustrations of various espalier pruning styles. You do need a framework and it should be rot-resistant wood, wire or nylon cord. Be sure that the framework extends approximately 6-8” from the wall. The added distancing helps increase air flow and helps keep a plant from staining the wall. Strongly anchor the frame to the wall.

This type of pruning is not a one-time job, because you have to maintain the pattern, but you’ll find it is something worth the effort.

An espalier-style pruned tree placed against an outside wall. A list of a few prune-able trees: the Bradford pear, foster holly, crape myrtle, loquat, creeping fig, pyracantha, southern magnolia, and wisteria.

*Illustrations of styles from: University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences

*Photo of tree with esplier-style pruning courtesy of Newman's Garden Center, Santa Fe, New Mexico

Share your Espalier pruning experience or if you'd like more information.