The Best Flowers for Wet Soil

Turn a wet, poorly drained spot in your yard into a colorful landscape feature with these perennial flowers and ornamental grasses.

View Slideshow

Fall Veggies to Plant Now

Grow these cool-season vegetables and herbs to extend your garden's harvests in spring and fall. This list of vegetables includes seasonal vegetables, green vegetables, non-starchy vegetables, winter vegetables, green leafy vegetables, fall vegetables and more.

View Slideshow

Improve Poor Drainage

Follow these tips to transform a poorly drained area into an easy-care garden.

See More

Tips and Tricks to Keep Plants Blooming

Deadheading is a popular practice ¿ but do you know all the ways to keep flowers on your plants longer? Follow these easy tips for keeping your favorite shrubs and flowers blooming longer.

View Video

Top Plant Picks for Late-Summer Color

Keep the color coming on strong through the end of the growing season with these easy-care, reliable annuals and perennials.

View Slideshow

Plan for a Gorgeous Fall Landscape

See how two great gardeners -- one on the East Coast and one on the West -- created knock-your-socks-off fall yards -- and learn how you can do the same.

View Slideshow

Best Plants for Rock Gardens

Transforming an unsightly slope or mound in your backyard into a colorful rock garden is easy when you chose the right plants. These amazing, low-maintenance ground huggers don't mind poor soil but do need good drainage to survive. Here's a list of our top plants for rock gardens.

View Slideshow
Popular in Gardening

How to Build a Living Fence

An espalier is a living fence created by training small trees into decorative patterns. Here's how to create an espalier in your own yard.

Using standard pruning techniques, you can train dwarf fruit trees to form a living wall that will enhance your yard's privacy and provide beauty and fresh produce. In an espalier (pronounced es-PAL-yay), plants grow along a usually flat, symmetrical framework against a wall, trellis, or freestanding support. Frequent pruning and tying of new growth directs the plants into a decorative pattern such as intersecting diamonds, or horizontal arms or elbows.

Related article: Espaliers for a Wall

What You'll Need

Select fruits that are disease-resistant, like this 'Jonafree'dwarf apple.

Plan your espalier to meet your needs. If you want fruit, select a dwarf apple, peach, or pear that is rock-solid hardy in your area. For a purely ornamental fence, choose a blooming tree or shrub such as flowering crabapple, magnolia, or doublefile viburnum.

Although creating an espalier isn't particularly difficult, it does take time. Expect to wait three years for fruit, and plan to spend some time each year doing light pruning and training of branches.

Bamboo can be a good living fence, too. Learn how to grow it.

Supplies:

  • three or more plants (dwarf fruit trees, for example)
  • posthole digger (optional)
  • 4x4 posts (treated for soil contact or rot resistant cedar or similar wood)
  • 2x4 top rail, 8 feet long
  • 14-gauge wire
  • hand pruners
  • cloth-covered wire plant ties

Related article: Details that Enhance a Courtyard

Step 1: Create a Support

Select an overall pattern for your espalier. (For our example, we selected a diamond pattern.) Build an appropriate framework of posts (8 feet apart), a top rail, and heavy-gauge wire horizontal supports. Stretch wire tautly from post to post, spaced vertically at 1-foot intervals, to create a framework. If you train trees against a wall, leave 12 inches between the structure and the support system to allow for maintenance and air circulation. Plant 2- or 3-year-old dwarf trees at least an arm's length apart.

Step 2: Anchor the Plants

Make planting holes at least twice the diameter of the plant's root ball. Plant trees slightly in front of the wire supports. Refill the planting holes and water thoroughly. Water young trees weekly during their first summer and fall if rain is lacking. Cut off branches extending to the back or front; leave branches reaching to the sides. If you train trees along a wall, position a nail or an eye hood in the wall near intersecting branches. Loosely twist a plant tie around the branches and the hook.

Step 3: Train the Plants

Crisscross branches from neighboring trees to train them into the desired pattern. Twist a plant tie around the branches and the wire to secure them, leaving room for branch growth. Over the next three or so years, prune and train trees in late winter. As the trees grow, continue to cross and tie the branches to the framework, snipping unwanted growth to maintain the pattern. Remove fruit buds the first two years to concentrate the tree's energy into growing branches. Look for fruit in the third year.

Step 1: Create a Support

Select an overall pattern for your espalier. (For our example, we selected a diamond pattern.) Build an appropriate framework of posts (8 feet apart), a top rail, and heavy-gauge wire horizontal supports. Stretch wire tautly from post to post, spaced vertically at 1-foot intervals, to create a framework. If you train trees against a wall, leave 12 inches between the structure and the support system to allow for maintenance and air circulation. Plant 2- or 3-year-old dwarf trees at least an arm's length apart.

Step 2: Anchor the Plants

Make planting holes at least twice the diameter of the plant's root ball. Plant trees slightly in front of the wire supports. Refill the planting holes and water thoroughly. Water young trees weekly during their first summer and fall if rain is lacking. Cut off branches extending to the back or front; leave branches reaching to the sides. If you train trees along a wall, position a nail or an eye hood in the wall near intersecting branches. Loosely twist a plant tie around the branches and the hook.

Step 3: Train the Plants

Crisscross branches from neighboring trees to train them into the desired pattern. Twist a plant tie around the branches and the wire to secure them, leaving room for branch growth. Over the next three or so years, prune and train trees in late winter. As the trees grow, continue to cross and tie the branches to the framework, snipping unwanted growth to maintain the pattern. Remove fruit buds the first two years to concentrate the tree's energy into growing branches. Look for fruit in the third year.

Related article: Seven Keys to Garden Privacy

How to Plant a Tree

close
close
close
close
close

Loading... Please wait...