Espalier Of Fig Trees: Can You Espalier A Fig Tree?
Fig trees, native to Western Asia, are somewhat tropical in appearance with a beautiful rounded growing habit. Although they have no flowers (as these are in the fruit), fig trees have beautiful gray bark and tropical lobed deciduous leaves. Fig fruits are naturally sweet, pear-shaped and dark brown to purple in color. Most fig tree varieties can be grown in USDA plant hardiness zones 7 through 10, although some are also found in zones 5b and 6.
If you have space, a fig tree makes a delicious and attractive addition to any landscape. However, don’t fret if your garden is small. If you don’t have a large enough space but have a section of east- or south-facing wall or fence, consider creating an espalier. Let’s find out more about fruit tree espalier and how to espalier figs.
Can You Espalier a Fig Tree?
Espaliers have been around for a very long time and are now experiencing a comeback with more people interested in sustainability. So, if you have been wondering if you can espalier a fig tree, the answer is absolutely, yes. The natural shape and strength of the fig tree trunk and pliable branches makes it a perfect tree for an espalier project.
Fruit tree espalier drawings, especially figs, have been depicted on Egyptian tomb walls and in art through the Middle Ages. Not only are espaliers a great way to cover an empty wall, but they are also a practical way to introduce fruit trees into a compact space without compromising on beauty or fruit production.
How to Espalier Figs
Space needs to be one of your first considerations. Although a fig tree may reach only 30 feet (9 m.) in height, its shallow spreading root system needs ample space to grow, as it can spread 50 feet (15 m.). Although branches can be trimmed, the roots system needs room to spread so keep this in mind when choosing a location for your espalier. You can also select a dwarf cultivar if you have a smaller area.
The first step in creating an espalier is to plant a young fig tree about 6 inches (15 cm.) from the wall or fence. If you do not have a wall or a trellis available, you can also create a trellis-type structure to support the tree.
Place horizontal wires on your support wall, fence or structure in the desired espalier shape. Horizontal and fan shapes are popular. As young branches grow, train them to these guide wires. While training your tree, there are two times that you will need to prune. Prune once in the winter when the tree is dormant. This is the time when the most pruning of figs should be happening. A good winter prune will stimulate spring growth.
Prune again in the spring for creating the tree shape, and as the tree grows in the summer, you will need to be sure that the tree is following the guide wires. Pruning and training a young fig tree takes patience. It can take up to four years to produce a beautiful espalier that produces a bountiful harvest.
Remember, the espalier of fig trees requires that you cut back to a bud, lateral branch or main trunk and try not to leave any stubs on the branches.
Additional Fig Espalier Info
If fruit production is not an issue and you desire a fig espalier for its aesthetic value only, you can prune as frequently as you wish. However, in order to keep up fruit production, it is necessary to remember that figs put fruit on branches that are one year old, so avoid late winter pruning once you have created your desired espalier shape. The best time to prune is in the fall after you harvest figs.
ข้อมูล Fig Espalier – เรียนรู้วิธีการ Espalier Figs In The Landscape
ต้นมะเดื่อซึ่งมีถิ่นกำเนิดในเอเชียตะวันตกมีลักษณะค่อนข้างร้อนและมีลักษณะการเจริญเติบโตที่โค้งมน แม้ว่าพวกเขาจะไม่มีดอก (เนื่องจากอยู่ในผล) แต่ต้นมะเดื่อมีเปลือกสีเทาสวยงามและมีใบผลัดใบเป็นแฉกในเขตร้อน ผลมะเดื่อมีรสหวานตามธรรมชาติรูปทรงลูกแพร์และมีสีน้ำตาลเข้มถึงม่วง พันธุ์ต้นมะเดื่อส่วนใหญ่สามารถปลูกได้ในเขตความแข็งแกร่งของพืช USDA ที่ 7 ถึง 10 แม้ว่าบางพันธุ์จะพบได้ในโซน 5b และ 6
หากคุณมีที่ว่างต้นมะเดื่อจะช่วยเพิ่มความอร่อยและน่าสนใจให้กับ ภูมิทัศน์ใด ๆ อย่างไรก็ตามอย่ากังวลหากสวนของคุณมีขนาดเล็ก หากคุณไม่มีพื้นที่กว้างขวางเพียงพอ แต่มีส่วนของกำแพงหรือรั้วที่หันไปทางทิศตะวันออกหรือทิศใต้ให้ลองสร้าง espalier มาดูข้อมูลเพิ่มเติมเกี่ยวกับ espalier ไม้ผลและวิธีการเพาะพันธุ์มะเดื่อกัน
Espalier Trees: Fruit vs. Ornamental
Here are some reasons behind using the espalier technique with fruit-bearing trees:
- They are easy to train. They take training quite well when they are young and pliable, allowing you to shape them in a variety of forms.
- They do not grow completely out of the space in which they are intended to stay. Looking back into garden history, espaliers were found inside cloisters, where every inch was very valuable.
- When you have a flat tree against a wall or fence, it is much easier for the sun to penetrate the foliage, thus ripening fruit that might not have ripened otherwise. The espalier technique is often used in cooler climates where ripening fruit is difficult.
However, if raising fruit is not your thing and you just want to add interest to a wall in a tight or design-barren space, there are numerous plants that take training quite well. From my experience, trees with good horizontal branching structure and a slower growth rate work best. One of the most beautifully trained trees I’ve ever seen is a Ginkgo biloba at Swarthmoore College in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania. The tree was perfectly placed along a towering building where the tree was able to reach the third floor and the branches informally covered the building.
When I’m designing, I love using espalier as a screen along a fence area. There’s something about a living fence that just draws my eye in—the simplicity, restraint, the uniqueness—not sure exactly, but whatever it is, it works for me! Don’t let the informality of your garden or lack of vertical walls limit you from using an espalier in your landscape. Using a design element unexpectedly or outside the norm creates a garden that is uniquely yours and inspires others.
Grapes informally trained on the wall of a Belgian garden of designer Dina Deferme.
Horizontal cordon espalier being used as to screen off a private patio.
The horizontal cordon is very effective and uses minimal space.
A pear tree is horizontally trained against a garage, adding a bit of whimsy to an otherwise bland wall.
A gingko resides on the wall at Chanticleer Gardens, just outside Philadelphia, adding a touch of funkiness to the ruin gardens.
One of my favorite espaliered trees resides at Swarthmore College. The lanky gingko is trained in the palmette oblique fashion and races up the immense stone wall.
Clockwise from top: Don’t be overwhelmed when the espalier gets out of hand during the season-nip the branches back a leaf node to achieve the uniformity you want. Use 3-ply jute to attach the branch to the wire. (After a season the jute will rot away which keeps the branch from being girdled by the restraint.) To help train younger plants, use braided stainless steel cabling and turnbuckles to create a sturdy guide.
On this living fence we trained the horizontal branches to be roughly 10-12” tall with about the same spacing between the runs.
Debora Silver employs a palmette verrier trained apple tree along a client’s garage in Birmingham, Michigan. The bright green foliage pops off the dark color of the garage, and the structure of the trees provides a wonderful pattern.
Watch this short video to see how to frame a vegetable garden with espaliered fruit trees.
link below to how i made my trellis. it's working well. check out especially the link at the bottom of the post. that site has a LOT of very good info.
lots of questions -- i'll answer a few.
1) i don't think you should trellis against a house. one of the main reasons to trellis in fla is to increase airflow, which in our humid conditions is important. unless you can rig it up so that there's at least a foot, maybe even more, between the house and the plants, i would think twice about it. (i can imagine a number of ways of doing this, esp if your house is brick). if you DO trellis against the house, the south or east would work best.
2) figs and pears espalier very well. any tree that offers lots of spurs can be espaliered well. i have read that peach trees don't espalier well, b/c they grow so vigorously however, at leu garden in orlando, they have a number of peaches espaliered, and they look great. whatever you do, read up on pruning and understand what needs to go and what needs to stay to maximize fruit set.
3) on a relate note, pears can definitely be grown on a trellis. even without a trellis, i've seen several quite old pears that weren't more than 10 feet high. it's all about pruning. google "dave wilson dooryard fruit" for more info on aggressive pruning techniques.
check your ph -- why do you say it's acidic? most sand in fla is pretty ph neutral.
finally -- go to the fig forum and ask if anyone there has experience with growing figs that close to the ocean. i don't know anything about figs and salt, but it should not be a problem, since i've seen fig groves in morocco growing almost oceanside. hwoever, there might be varieties that do better and worse in such an environment.
Here is a link that might be useful: trellis
What Are The Best Fruit Trees To Espalier?
A single-tier horizontal cordon with upper fruiting branches. Source: Hetx
One of the most common choices, espalier apple tree varieties are extremely common. As apple trees tend to be relatively easy to train, they’re used for a number of different patterns. Horizontal espalier is the easiest, but fan palmetto, candelabra, or spiral cordon are also popular.
Pears are much like apples, because both pear and apple trees fruit on spurs rather than on branch tips. Espalier pear trees often are treated very similarly to apples, but usually are trained horizontal or in a fan shape.
Espaliered fig trees are also popular for the horizontal method, although as figs can become large, they are more commonly trained to an informal fan pattern.
Various stone fruit trees lend themselves to espalier techniques. However, different varieties require different care.
Plums and apricots both seem to do best as fan shapes but can be trained into a low horizontal hedge as well. Both of these need more attention than some other varieties as they tend to send off lots of young shoots.
Peaches and nectarines only produce fruit on new wood, which means that they are going to require a lot more pruning to encourage flushes of new growth. These should be pruned in an informal fan shape to provide room for the young fruiting branches to grow.
It is possible to espalier cherries, but it’s only recommended for people who’ve had some level of formal training in the art. Unfortunately, while espalier cherry trees make gorgeous fan shapes, getting them to provide fruit is much more complicated.
Espalier pomegranate trees do quite well in natural form, as do some forms of persimmon.
Citrus fruits like orange, lemon, kumquat or pomelo can be done, but espalier citrus trees tend to prefer more informal designs over formal patterns. They do well as a horizontal, but fan shapes are much easier to train for these fruits.
Stone fruit trees, like peaches and plums, are also common for espalier treatments. These species grow much like apples and pears, with flexible, fast-growing branches. They work well in a fan shape with no central leader branches, but can be trained to other shapes as well.
The flexible, adaptable fig is a good choice as an espalier, though it doesn't take well to very formal shapes. Instead, espaliered fig trees look almost like interlocking puzzle pieces. Because figs grow so quickly, they may need a lot of training and pruning in a relatively short time to prevent overgrowth.
Training the Branches
From the main trunk of the plant, prune branches that don’t conform to the desired pattern. The best time to do this is in late winter and early spring during the dormant season because pruning stimulates new growth (If it’s a flowering plant, such as a camellia or rose, avoid pruning when the plant is setting buds).
Attach the desired branches to the supports. Continue pruning to form the desired pattern and to stimulate additional growth. Tip: Pruning horizontal branches encourages vertical growth conversely, pruning vertical branches stimulates horizontal growth.