Espalier is a method of training a plant or tree to grow on a trellis, or wire, that is set against a support structure such as a wall. This method can be used for decorative purposes, such as to produce patterns or to cover walls, but it can also help maximize fruiting and blooming in some plants. With a good supportive structure and the proper set up of a wire or trellis, you can espalier most climbing plants.
Things You'll Need
- Masonry shields
- Eye hooks
- 14-gauge galvanized wire
- Soft plant ties
Drill holes in your wall with a drill bit large enough to hold masonry shields. This is necessary for a masonry wall. If you have a wall that is wood or plywood, drill holes directly into the wall where there is solid wood or a stud. The holes for wood or plywood should be just smaller than the diameter of the eye hook. In both cases, drill the holes at whatever height that you want. They do not all need to be level with each other. You may want several holes at eye level, and several lower, depending on the height of your plants and the design that you want to achieve by using the espalier method. The depth of the hole should be approximately 1/4 inch deeper than the masonry shield, and the holes should be spaced out evenly 6- to 8-inches.
Tap the masonry shields into the hole that you made in your masonry wall. If you made holes in wood or plywood, proceed to Step 3.
Screw the eye hooks into the masonry shields. If you drilled holes in wood or plywood, screw the eye hooks directly in the holes you drilled. Make sure the eye hooks are screwed tightly.
Insert 14-gauge galvanized wire into the eye hook eye and wrap it around the inside twice. For extra support, you can drop the wire back out of the eye and twist it together like a noose. Whatever method you use for fastening the wire to the eye hook, make sure that it is tight and won't come free from the eye hook.
Run the wire from the first eye hook to the next eye hook where you repeat the process of fastening the wire. Run the wire to each eye hook that you inserted in your wall. Make sure that the wire is very taught. It needs to be strong enough to support the weight of the plants branches as they grow.
Plant your plants approximately 1 foot in front of the wall.
Attach plant shoots to any place on the wire with soft plant ties, according to where you want to train your plant's shoots to go. As your plant grows, make sure you remove any side shoots or under shoots.
Tips & Warnings
- You may want to tie shoots directly to the eye hooks with soft plant ties. If this design suits your preference, then you don't need to attach the wire to the eye hooks. When the plant has grown fully throughout the season, attach the shoots to whatever eye hook you want.
- Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images
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