Espalier fruit trees are a great way to save space and have fresh home-grown fruit too!
First a few things you should know
All espalier forms need a strong structure for support and training while they are young. Once the branches are thicker the structure can sometimes be removed.
Branches that grow horizontally produce more fruit. An espalier tree may not produce as much fruit as a 3-D tree, but it still produces a lot.
Pruning at least twice a year is part of the deal. It may sound daunting, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll be fine. Espalier are smaller, but definitely not more hands-off, than regular fruit trees.
Most fruit trees require a lot of care. Be prepared to apply dormant spray once or twice during winter as a preventative measure, to keep an eye out for pest and disease issues, and to treat them. Many organic solutions for treatment are available.
Fruit trees can be trained into many different designs.
To train fruit trees into these forms you would need to start with very young, unbranched trees called whips. While Portland Nursery stocks small fig trees, the other fruit trees we sell are more mature. The Home Orchard Education Center is a good resource for finding starts or to learn to graft your own.
Come in and see us if you have any questions!