Rustic tunnel in an Atlanta garden. Photo by Martha Tate, co-exec Producer for HGTV, columnist for Atlanta AJC. Download this wallpaper at the link!! (I could sit in front of my computer all day with this view.)
Espalier is the art of manipulating woody, fruit-producing plants (vines, shrubs, or trees), by pruning or growing them on structures in order to achieve a flat shape.
Many plants trained to overlap one another can be used to create “living fences,” to maximise production in a limited space.
Espalier plants can benefit from a microclimate of radiating heat and shelter against a wall or fence, which hastens the ripening season of fruits. A tree grown against a sunny wall will benefit from the fact that the surface retains and radiate solar energy after the sun has set. With regular pruning, the fruit yield will be consistent, improved, and easily accessible.
If you are working on an edible forest project, espaliers are an excellent idea for ‘choice’ or exotic fruit cultivars. They can also be used instead of hedges; used for privacy screening, pathways, and on building facades; or, for fencing, which allows for previously uncultivated areas in the garden to become highly productive.