Make sure you have a firm support for your tree. Most espaliered trees are grown against a wall with wall bolts holding strong horizontal support wires, spaced 45 to 60cm apart up the wall.
Choose your tree
The most successful fruit trees to grow include apples, pears and figs. However, you can pretty much use any kind of fruit tree, including citrus, olives, peaches, plums & nectarines. Bear in mind though, that if you want them to fruit successfully, you will need at least two trees next to each other and the more the better so that they can cross-pollinate. Other ornamental trees that can be espaliered include Holly, Snowball Viburnum (Viburnum tinus) and you could even try some of our indigenous trees like Dovyalis, Virgilia, Dombeya, Calodendrum – who knows they may lend themselves to espalier. Bear in mind it is also easiest to start with a young whip or sapling fruit tree with few developed branches and rather wait for the branches to grow so you can easily guide their position.