Fruit Tree Projects

Nearly every climate zone in the United States works for some kind of fruit tree, from lemons and oranges in Florida to apple trees in Minnesota. Once you've mastered the basic care and maintenance requirements of a tree, it's time to try something new. Your local nursery or county extension office can be a good starting point.

Espalier Project

Espalier methods, or growing fruit trees with their branches trained to grow horizontally against a wall or fence, have existed since the 17th century. The term refers to the plant and technique. Growers use the method to grow trees in a limited space and as a decorative landscape feature. Any fruit tree can grow in this manner, but those that produce fruit on the previous season's branches, such as plums and cherries, need special pruning. Choose a dwarf variety of apples or pears to make the espalier work easier and minimize the space needed for growth and pruning of these fast-growing trees. Plant an espaliered tree in the same way you'd plant the tree in the open. Use hooks, eyebolts and wire to construct a frame for the tree. The North Carolina State University Cooperative Extension Service recommends sketching your design on graph paper and possibly on the wall or fence itself to assist with pruning and training the tree. In addition to simple horizontal lines of branches, espaliered styles include more elaborate shapes such as candelabras, basket-weaves, fans and diamonds.

Fruit in a Bottle

Any fruit will grow in a bottle. Make this project for a decorative display on a kitchen shelf or if you want a flavored liqueur. When the fruit is small and on the stem, slip it into a clear glass bottle. Attach the bottle securely to the branch with twine. Once the fruit has ripened, simply cut the stem and fill the bottle with brandy, gin or vodka to preserve the fruit. The fruit will last for years suspended in the liquor if you want to keep it on display.


Grafting refers to the process of joining two varieties or types of trees together so they produce a fruit that's more desirable in taste, hardiness or disease resistance. According to the Home Orchard Society, the closer the two trees are botanically, the more successful the graft. To make the graft, make a T-shaped cut with a sharp, clean knife on the rootstock tree stem--the one growing in the ground. Cut a small stem with a leaf-bud from the second tree with a point on the end to insert into the T-shaped cut. This second stem, called the scion, produces the leaves, flowers and fruit of the tree. Wrap the two pieces tightly together with grafting tape, leaving the bud itself exposed. Seal the cut with a waterproof sealing product until the two pieces have grown together.

Keywords: fruit tree projects, espaliered fruit trees, grafting fruit trees, fruit in bottles

About this Author

A freelance writer with an extensive career in education, Susan Lundman taught writing and communication at the Military Academy at West Point, at military bases overseas and at community colleges in the United States. Working in a non-profit agency for 20 years, she wrote grant requests, promotional material, and operating guides. Lundman's expertise includes backpacking, dance, gardening and healthy living.