es·​pal·​ier | \ i-ˈspal-yər How to pronounce espalier (audio) , -ˌyā \

Definition of espalier

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a plant (such as a fruit tree) trained to grow flat against a support (such as a wall)
2 : a railing or trellis on which fruit trees or shrubs are trained to grow flat


espaliered; espaliering; espaliers

Definition of espalier (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to train as an espalier
2 : to furnish with an espalier

Examples of espalier in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Klein and Fulnecky have espaliered fruit trees — McIntosh and Yellow Transparent apples and a Van cherry tree, though the robins tend to get to those first. Amy Pennington, The Seattle Times, "A couple’s Rainier Beach garden is a place of creativity, vision and function," 19 May 2019 Almost any fruit or citrus tree can be espaliered, but some are better suited. Joan Morris, The Mercury News, "How to grow fruit trees — even in a tiny Bay Area garden," 19 June 2019 Carlson espaliered fruit trees along the garage to squeeze more into the compact backyard. Debbie Arrington, sacbee, "Think Sacramento feels like Iowa? They'd agree | The Sacramento Bee," 21 Apr. 2018 The Orange Home Grown Educational Farm plans a free workshop at 1 p.m. Jan. 14 on how to espalier fruit-bearing trees. Orange County Register, "15 things to do this weekend in Orange County (Jan. 13-15)," 14 Jan. 2017 Orange Home Grown offers free classes once a month, often with master gardeners, such as one recently on how to espalier and another on composting. Wendy Fawthrop, Orange County Register, "(Sub)urban farming," 19 May 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'espalier.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of espalier


1662, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1810, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for espalier


French, ultimately from Italian spalla shoulder, from Late Latin spatula shoulder blade — more at epaulet

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The first known use of espalier was in 1662

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Cite this Entry

“Espalier.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Apr. 2021.

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