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Friday - July 23, 2010

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Shrubs
Title: Native tree or shrub with fruit to espalier on fence
Answered by: Nan Hampton


I live in the Austin, TX area and I would like to choose a native tree or shrub to espalier on a fence in my garden. Ideally, I would like to use a tree that bears fruit. Any suggestions?


The University of Florida IFAS Extension has a very good article, Espaliers, that describes how to create and care for them that you might like to read  They also have tables of recommended species, but you should be aware that some of the species they recommend are not native and some are even considered invasive in Texas (e.g., Ligustrum japonicum).  Please don't plant invasives!  Here are a few recommendations for native trees from their list as well as some additional ones:

Prunus mexicana (Mexican plum) and Prunus rivularis (creek plum) both produce edible plums.

Ilex vomitoria (yaupon) is evergreen and the female plants have red berries that the birds like to eat.

Ilex decidua (possumhaw) is deciduous and female plants produce red berries for the birds.

Cercis canadensis var. texensis (Texas redbud) has beautiful blooms for a couple of weeks in February and March.

Juniperus virginiana (eastern redcedar) is evergreen.

Rhus virens (evergreen sumac) is evergreen and has attractive flowers in the spring.

Viburnum rufidulum (rusty blackhaw) has showy spring flowers, dark blue berries and beautiful fall colors.

Diospyros texana (Texas persimmon) has edible fruits on the female trees.

Morus microphylla (Texas mulberry) produces edible fruits.

Vitis mustangensis (mustang grape) is a vine, of course, but it produces woody branches that would do well as an espalier and it does produce edible grapes that make delicious jelly.

Here are photos from our Image Gallery:

Prunus mexicana

Prunus rivularis

Ilex vomitoria

Ilex decidua

Cercis canadensis var. texensis

Juniperus virginiana

Rhus virens

Viburnum rufidulum

Diospyros texana

Morus microphylla

Vitis mustangensis






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