Definition of espalier in US English:



  • 1A fruit tree or ornamental shrub whose branches are trained to grow flat against a wall, supported on a lattice or a framework of stakes.

    • ‘Because the fruit is so good, the trees are best grown as espaliers in a small garden, which will maximise fruit production against tree size.’
    • ‘I want to train a pear tree as an espalier against a wall.’
    • ‘These include Kylemore Abbey, where 150-year-old apple espaliers line the paths of the kitchen garden.’
    grid, latticework, fretwork, open framework, openwork, trellis, trelliswork, network, mesh, web, webbing, netting, net, tracery, interlacing, reticulation, reticulum, grate, grating, grille, grillwork, criss-cross, matrix
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A lattice or framework for an espaliered tree or shrub.
      • ‘A simple espalier can train all branches to grow horizontally.’
      • ‘In addition there is a large patio surrounded by trees on espaliers.’


[with object]
  • Train (a tree or shrub) to grow flat against a wall.

    ‘fruit trees were espaliered some thirty feet apart’
    ‘espaliered fruit trees’
    • ‘It was espaliered carefully back onto its old trellis and coaxed into bloom.’
    • ‘They look marvellous espaliered on wires against a wall, too, as opposed to growing loosely as a shrub.’
    • ‘Once you know what you are doing, you can prune 12 dwarf espaliered trees in an hour or maybe two each year.’
    • ‘The introduction of espaliered trees, whose fruit ripened more evenly and was not so blown about as in open orchards, helped to promote the growing of fine pears in the Paris region.’
    • ‘Plant an espaliered pomegranate or other fruit tree against a bare wall and train the branches into a living sculpture.’
    • ‘Apples are espaliered along space-saving rows of wire fencing.’


Mid 17th century: from French, from Italian spalliera, from spalla ‘shoulder’, from Latin spatula (see spatula), in late Latin ‘shoulder blade’.