In our design for the Rosmead Garden we have included several espalier fruit trees to maximize production in our small space without losing much room or sunlight. We plan for one of these to be an avocado. Typically, avocado trees grow very large and cumbersome – 5 to 8 feet at maturity. This would take up most of the small kitchen garden space we have to work with. Instead, we are planting the tree against a wall shared with neighbors to provide privacy and a general frame for our espalier avocado.
Espalier tree branches are often supported by wires on a wall to help train branches into fancy patterns, but avocado branches naturally grow in a nice horizontal pattern. All we have to do is remove the branches not growing parallel to our wall. This is known as an informal espallier. Our wall is a little more than 7 feet wide, so the branches should have plenty of room.
Because the tree will be two-dimensional as it begins to mature, more sunlight will reach the inner branches, hopefully increasing fruit production. The shape of the tree will also make it easier to reach the fruits for picking.
There are plenty of great tutorials available to help you get started with espalier, like How to Espalier Apple Trees, but I have yet to find much on working with avocado. So far I have only found this brief interview with two accounts of wrestling with an avocado. (The volume is a bit low). It sounds like it will be slightly more challenging to espalier avocado, but if we get fruit at such a young age it will be well worth the effort.
Any experience with avocado or espalier in your own small space? Share with us in the comments below.
Hi, Im wondering how your espaliered avocado tree is working out & if you have any pictures or advice you can share? Im considering trying to do the same in NZ. Thanks!
Hi, Kirsty. Thanks for the question. So far it is going well, but the tree is still quite young. I have done only two rounds of pruning to maintain the espalier shape but I will try to get photos and post a more critical update for you soon.
Hi Margie, would love to know how the espalier Avo is going?
Wow! I have been thinking about an espalier avocado for some time. I would love an update on how this is going for both of you.
Ted D Mielke
I would love to see your updated photos as well!
Up date on the Avo please.
Considering espaliating for the first time and think it would make the avos more managable.
Hi all. Thanks for commenting. Unfortunately, the property has changed hands and I am unable to offer updates on the tree. If any of you have started your own experiments with avocado, please do get in touch with more details. I’d love to share your experience with the other readers.