Shape trees or topiary trees

Shape trees or topiary trees

Shape trees are trees that have a shape and retain it without intensive human intervention. Topiary trees can only retain their shape through pruning. Which Assortment fits best in a design depends not only on the desired final look, but also on the budget earmarked for management and maintenance. 

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Shape trees

  • Standard trees and half-stem trees
  • Feathered trees
  • Multi-stem trees


  • Weeping trees
  • Columnar trees
  • Globe trees


In the Shape Tree Guide, you can read all about trees that obtain and retain their shape without intensive human intervention.

Shape Tree Guide

Pruned topiary trees with and without stems

  • Berceaus

  • Geometric shapes: beehive, globe, block, cylinder, egg, bowl, trapezium, column

  • Roof-form

  • Candelabra

  • Pollard

  • Espalier

  • Pleached

  • Multi-stem umbrella and roof-form

  • Hedges and hedge elements

  • Sculptures of nature

The Topiary Tree Guide will tell you all about trees that obtain and retain their form through pruning.

Download the Topiary Tree Guide
Annual pruning

Annual pruning

All topiary trees need to be pruned annually because the tree would otherwise revert to its natural shape. An example of this is the espalier linden, which is originally a tree with a regularly branched crown. Sometimes it is possible that at a particular level no individual branch is satisfactory for training, and thus creating the right final picture. In that case, make a small nick in the wood with a knife. This interrupts the flow of sap, and the nutrition accumulates. This influences the formation of buds (and branches), allowing you to hide that blank wall from view.

Download the pruning guide
Application of espaliers

Application of espaliers

Espalier trees are ideal for use in gardens with limited space. They create privacy. Espalier trees are trees which acquire their shape through binding and pruning for training and shape. Aids are used for this, such as a bamboo frame or an ironwork arch and binding wire. Espalier fruit is often grown against walls, along wire and as a freestanding topiary tree. A tree tunnel (berceau) is also a particular, authentic way of growing fruit. A combination of a pear cordon on the underside with vines as a second layer on top is often used in a berceau. Using the correct pruning method we can shape trees in the desired way. With espalier fruit it is important to choose the correct wood for a good harvest.

Sculptures of nature

Alongside the regular shapes, Ebben Nursery also has exclusive shape trees, the 'sculptures of nature'. These are unique forms, only a couple of specimens of which are available. If you would like to find out more about these trees, please contact us.

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