Plant a wall of fruit

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No room for trees? Make the most of the vertical space and create a fruiting wall!  With flowers, colourful foliage and attractive branch patterns too, fruit trees are as ornamental as they are productive. A fruiting wall will also double as a privacy screen.

1. Cover a fence with a fruiting climber

A sunny fence line can be turned into a wall of fruit with a quick growing vine. A passionfruit vine planted in early summer will fruit within 18 months. Encourage side branching by pinching out the growing tip and train the new laterals along a trellis or wire support. Passionfruit vines will fruit for 5-6 years. Pruning off some of the old wood each year encourages vigorous new fruiting growth.

2. Plant a fruiting hedge

Citrus make fantastic hedges with glossy foliage all year round, and the summer scent of orange blossom is heavenly. For a smaller citrus hedge try mandarins or limequats.  Blueberries make an attractive informal hedge up to 2m tall. There is a wide choice of varieties to suit various climates. Feijoas make an excellent windbreak or screen. For best fruiting, plant a named variety (not seedlings). Olive and guava trees also make very attractive hedges.

3. Train fruit trees espalier style

The age-old craft of training fruit trees flat against a fence or wall is highly decorative and very high yielding. Many fruit trees are suitable, including apples, pears, quince, fig, olive, plums, and even citrus.  Important: Make sure your support structure is strong. The weight increases dramatically when plants are in fruit. For more about espaliers

4. Grow a row of Ballerina Apple trees

These slender fruit trees are ideal for those who have limited space but no interest in pruning. They can be planted in a row, ‘espalier style’ along a wall, as a divider between garden rooms, or as stunning vertical accents in the vege garden.

Fruit growing basics

  • Thorough soil preparation is fundamental to successful fruit production. At planting time dig in plenty of compost and slow release fertiliser.
  • If drainage is poor, plant in raised beds or containers.
  • Choose varieties to suit your climate.
  • Keep young plants well watered.

Know which growth (current season’s or older) your tree bares fruit on and how that affects when you should prune.

How to grow a Meyer lemon tree – espalier style

The versatile Meyer lemon with its bountiful crop’s bright yellow fruit and lush green foliage is an ideal espalier tree because of its spreading, pliable branches. Meyer lemons are forgiving if you make a mistake because the quick summer growth means a new shoot will soon appear. Wooden trellis makes an ideal support because it provides plenty of places for attaching ties and allows the air to flow around the foliage.

  1. Choose a sunny well-ventilated location with well-drained soil. Mix compost and slow release fertiliser into the soil prior to planting. A large pot or planter box is a good alternative if the soil is poorly drained.
  2. Fix a sturdy piece of wooden trellis (at least 1x1m) to a solid support, e.g. a fence post.
  3. Select a healthy young tree with wide arching branches.
  4. Before you plant, look at your tree from all angles. Plant it so that the majority of  horizontal branches line up with the wall and the flattest side is against the trellis.
  5. Gently spread the branches against the trellis and tie loosely with twine or plastic ties. Trim the branches that won't lie flat.
  6. Keep spreading and tying the branches back as they grow (as you would for a climbing plant), checking and loosening ties.
  7. Remove fruit in the first year to encourage strong branch growth.
  8. Water regularly especially when the weather is hot and dry. Feed with citrus fertiliser in spring and autumn. Citrus will also thrive on the liquid from your worm farm.
  9. Keep your secateurs handy. Trim little and often to maintain the flat horizontal shape, always leaving new fruiting wood.




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Passionfruit vine


ballerina apple
Ballerina apple

lemons espalier
Lemon tree trained onto trellis fence.