Last year I was doing some landscape consulting for a lady who lives in southwest Edmonton. When I walked into her backyard I was pleasantly surprised to see an espalier apple tree.
For those who aren’t familiar with the term espalier, it simply means that trees - like apples – whose branches are trained to grow flat against a wall and supported by a lattice or perhaps some wires attached to stakes. Essentially, an espalier tree looks more two dimensional than it does three dimensional.
The apple tree was in great shape and produced outstanding quality fruit primarily because of the increased exposure of the leaves and fruit to direct sunlight. When I chatted with the lady about why she espaliered the apple, she replied that she loved the look and loved the fact that the tree took up far less space than that of a conventional apple tree.
This year we are offering some apple trees that are espaliered. And not only are they espaliered but they are "combination" apples that have several apple varieties on the one tree. For those with small but sunny yards espalier may just be the way to enjoy great fruit as well as an apple tree that is truly a work of art.