Monday, December 19, 2016

ESPALIER-Our New Experiment

"Espalier is the ancient horticultural art of pruning and training a tree or shrub to grow flat against a support, creating a living sculpture. According to American Garden History, espalier was originally used to create outdoor “walls” in Europe during the Middle Ages and was also planted in interior courtyard walls to prevent late frost bud-kill.  Other records show this technique dates back to ancient Egypt, where hieroglyphs of espaliered fig trees have been found in tombs dating back to 1400 B.C.  The French word “espalier” (ess-PAL-yay) was originally a noun that referred to the trellis or support upon which the tree was grown; today, it refers to the technique itself."

(Excerpt from Stark Bros. Website)

We are trying something new at the Arboretum - A Brown Turkey Fig Tree Espalier.  It is a process that will take several years as we train each year's growth to follow our wire supports.  This link will further explain what we will be doing as the fig grows:  HOW TO ESPALIER A TREE (NOTE:  The article talks about apple trees, but it applies to our fig.)  So, it doesn't look like much yet.  But we will be updating its growth periodically in this blog.  You can see it yourself just outside the auditorium doors at the Ag Center building connected with the Arboretum.

Thanks to Carolina Seasons Nursery for generously donating the fig tree.

Photo by C. Taylor