Save space and grow apples with a lattice

No space for an apple orchard? Try a 6-foot-tall lattice “wall” of espaliered dwarf apple trees.

The espalier style we chose is a modified form of the Belgian fence, in which branches, or cordons, cross to form diamonds. To create the support grid, we tied bamboo poles with twine in a diamond pattern. The diamonds measure about 2 feet on each side, allowing plenty of air circulation.

Next, we ordered bare-root dwarf trees from Northwoods Nursery (503/266-5432) and Raintree Nursery (360/496-6400). (In Sunset climate zones 1-3, try ‘Spitzenberg’ or another hardy variety such as ‘Fiesta’ or ‘William’s Pride’.) In February, we planted the dormant trees 2½ feet apart, slanted at 45°, to line up with the diagonal grid. We loosely tied the trunks to the poles (we’ll remove the poles in a few years when the tree trunks are larger).

By the second year, our trees were dotted with delicious full-size apples. Periodic pruning maintains the pattern and encourages fruit production.