Espalier is an old horticultural practice of forming trees to grow in fan-like flat forms on a single plane. Originally the practice was used to increase food production by limiting vertical growth and increasing horizontal growth. The practice soon extended to ornamental use and is used as way to grow a tree or plant along a wall or other structure.
Espalier demonstrates man’s power over nature but in a beneficial way. By placing the trees in a harmonious orientation to the equator, fruit production increases. Espalier trees also help in reflecting back radiation keeping buildings cool. Without the use of any sort of chemicals, we have been able to use principals of nature in order to increase the utility of nature. This is evokes Botkin’s idea of using the laws and rules of nature to our advantage to help stabilize our resources.
With the sustainable advantages espalier trees provide, it should be no surprise to see more of them in the landscape.