Espalier traces its roots (..and
branches ;-) back to Roman times when the training method was used
to produce fruit along castle walls, while at the same time
decorating them. Vineyards have used a similar technique for ages.
The French word ‘espalier’ comes from the Italian meaning ‘something
to rest the shoulder against.'
Espaliers are useful in
both function and form, making efficient use of small spaces while
also making a blank wall much more pleasing to the eye. Fruit trees
benefit from the extra heat absorbed by the masonry walls they are
trained against, thereby extending their productive season. Some
types of trees and shrubs are more easily trained in this fashion
than others. Many nurseries will have espaliers available for
purchase that have already been started.
Espalier on wall at