The Importance of Tree Training: Shaping Beauty and Function in Gardens and Landscapes

Tree training is a transformative practice that allows us to shape the growth and form of trees, creating visually stunning and functional elements in our gardens and landscapes. From techniques like pleaching and topiary to other forms of training, tree training offers a range of possibilities. In this blog post, we will explore the importance of tree training and its various applications. We will delve into the profound impact that training can have on both, the aesthetic appeal and functionality of trees in outdoor spaces.

The Art of Pleaching

Pleaching is a technique that involves weaving and training tree branches together to form living fences or screens. It is an art form that has been practiced for centuries, adding a touch of elegance and structure to gardens and landscapes. Pleached trees offer several benefits beyond their visual appeal.


Firstly, pleached trees create a sense of privacy and enclosure. By carefully training the branches to interlace and form a dense barrier, they serve as living walls that shield outdoor spaces from prying eyes. This makes them an excellent choice for creating secluded garden rooms or defining boundaries in a graceful and natural way.


Additionally, pleached trees provide shade and act as a windbreak. Their intertwined branches create a filtered canopy that offers relief from the sun’s harsh rays while allowing dappled light to pass through. As a windbreak, pleached trees help to reduce wind velocity, protecting delicate plants and creating more favourable micro-climate within the garden.

The Artistry of Topiary

Topiary is a horticultural practice that involves shaping trees or shrubs into intricate geometric or ornamental forms. It is a meticulous art form that requires skill and patience, but the results are truly breathtaking. Topiary offers both aesthetic and functional benefits.

One of the primary advantages of topiary is its ability to create focal points and visual interest in gardens and landscapes. The sculptural forms of topiary specimens draw the eye, adding a sense of structure and artistry to outdoor spaces. Whether it’s the perfectly spherical shapes, intricate animal figures, or towering spirals, topiary allows for endless creativity.

Beyond its ornamental value, topiary also serves some practical purposes. It can be used to define pathways or create natural borders, guiding visitors through the garden. Moreover, topiary can provide shelter for wildlife, acting as a refuge and nesting site for birds and small animals.

Other Forms of Tree Training

While pleaching and topiary are well-known examples of tree training, there are other techniques that offer similar advantages. For instance, espalier is a method where trees are trained to grow flat against walls or fences, maximizing space utilization while adding beauty to vertical surfaces. Espaliered fruit trees not only serve as decorative features but also provide a bountiful harvest.

Coppicing is another form of tree training that involves regularly cutting the tree near ground level to stimulate vigorous regrowth. This practice is commonly used with species such as willows and hazelnuts, to harvest their straight and flexible branches for weaving, basketry, or woodwork.


Tree training is a transformative practice that brings both beauty and function to gardens and landscapes. From the structured elegance of pleached trees to the whimsical artistry of topiary, training techniques allow us to shape trees according to our vision. Whether it’s creating privacy, adding focal points, defining spaces, or enhancing wildlife habitats, tree training offers numerous benefits. By understanding and embracingthese techniques, we can elevate the aesthetics and functionality of our outdoor spaces, creating captivating and harmonious environments that inspire us and our visitors.