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General Forestry => Urban and Community Forestry => Topic started by: DouginUtah on May 30, 2008, 08:13:43 PM

Title: Planting fruit trees
Post by: DouginUtah on May 30, 2008, 08:13:43 PM
I don't have the trees yet, but I am having some holes dug with a backhoe tomorrow. Some of them may be semi-dwarf?? for zone 5.

My question is: What is the closest I could get by with planting them?  The area is about 60' wide between fences, with horses on the other side.

I have it laid out on a 10-foot grid but I'm thinking that may be crowding them too much. (Just a dozen trees of different varieties. Any advice on varieties appreciated--pairing, pollinating, etc. I'm pretty ignorant when it comes to fruit trees. Hey, don't even think that!) )
Title: Re: Planting fruit trees
Post by: Left Coast Chris on May 30, 2008, 10:50:00 PM

The spacing depends on what kind of trees you are planting.   The semi-dwarf tree lables typically tell you what the root stock is and the expected size.  A mid sized semi-dwarf apple will need 12 feet or so spacing unless you want to prune them to shape narrower.   A full size peach will need 20' or more if you want to keep the limbs low and spreeding for eaiser picking (recommended).

What kind of trees are you buying?
Title: Re: Planting fruit trees
Post by: tyb525 on May 30, 2008, 10:52:20 PM
I'd say more around 15 ft minimum. Semidwarf Apple requires about 18ft and Dwarf pear about 12. Going closer would make them crowded once they get fully grown, and make pest control harder. Also harder to harvest the fruit if they are crowded.
Title: Re: Planting fruit trees
Post by: Norm on May 31, 2008, 07:39:50 AM
I have a couple of orchards and the hands down favorite I grow is....

I'd not go with any less than 15' spacing unless you want to aggressively prune them every other year after they mature. If you go with full dwarf's the spacing is less but I'm not a fan of them. Also you may want to consider how many you really want to plant. I have a dozen in one orchard and they really produce on a good year. The clean up of fallen fruit is quite a bit of work in the fall and pruning is a bunch of work also. On the orchard that I planted on the farm I  went with less apples and more variety such as peaches, cherries, plums and such.

Good luck, there is nothing better than fresh fruit from your own orchard.
Title: Re: Planting fruit trees
Post by: DouginUtah on June 01, 2008, 04:53:11 PM
I change my spacing to 15' east to west and 20' north to south. Took the backhoe 15 minutes to dig all nine holes. He asked for $20.00; I gave him $25.00.

Black topsoil at least 18" deep.

I bought the trees locally, on the backhoe operator's recommendation.

Apple   Jonagold   $22.95
          McIntosh   $22.95
          Honeygold   $23.00
          Mutsu(Crispin)   $24.50
Cherry   ??                   $22.95
Peach   Reliance      $30.00
           Elberta      $28.00
Pear   Bartlett      $24.95
Plum   Stanley        $22.95

The Mutsu and Jonagold are semi-dwarf; not sure about the others.

Guess where these trees came from...

Iowa ! ???  :D

Have to investigate if pollination will be a problem??
Title: Re: Planting fruit trees
Post by: Norm on June 01, 2008, 05:41:25 PM
It sounds like a nice variety Doug. I think you may have to plant a pollinator for the cherry tree, not too sure about the plum but if I remember right Bartlett's are self pollinating. If you can get them through the first year you've got it licked. I found that they did better if I watered heavily once a week and gave them a thick mulch bed around the trunk. I don't know about your area but in winter time we have to put on the protectors to keep the rabbits from gnawing the trunks.

At one time Iowa was a major apple producing area. In recent years we are seeing more and more orchards on the ground that's not suitable for row crops. Another thing we are seeing more of is grape vineyards, I had some very good wine from a local one last year.
Title: Re: Planting fruit trees
Post by: Left Coast Chris on June 01, 2008, 08:50:44 PM
You are going to have a great orchard.  One tip I learned is that some nurseries will put a dab of paint on the trunk in the direction facing north.  This increases the chances of survival since the bark may be hardened for the prevailing wind and the roots will be bigger on the wind side.   If there is no paint just put the biggest most spreading root in the direction of your prevailing wind.  That way they are less likely to blow over in the future.
Title: Re: Planting fruit trees
Post by: Dana on June 02, 2008, 07:25:14 AM
Following up on Chris's paint comment.... Up here the trunks are painted white on all sides to reflect the sun during the early spring. This helps keep the tree from bringing sap into the trunk too early in the spring. The freeze/thaw cycle can split the bark on the young trees. Best thing to do is skip the paint and get light colored flexible wrap for the trunks. That will take care of both the rabbits and mice as well as the freeze problem. If you have deer or elk, you will need to fence them out as well.
Title: Re: Planting fruit trees
Post by: DouginUtah on June 06, 2008, 11:49:28 PM

Just a short update....

I found out the cherry tree is a Montmorency. (sour cherry for pies)

According to Nature Valley's web page it is a self-pollinator.

I still have a couple of questions about planting them--too late now, but I'd like to know--but that will have to wait for another day.

Title: Re: Planting fruit trees
Post by: DouginUtah on June 08, 2008, 06:07:48 PM

Time now for my questions about transplanting the fruit trees.

I should have paid more attention to what the mulch was, since that is what my questions are about. I seemed to be mostly chopped up bark. (?) What is normally used?

Anyhow, there are two sides to this. One is the dude at the greenhouse said take the tree out of the pot (2 gallon), place it in the hole and press dirt around it. That worked for about four of them.  Although they were tagged "non-established" the mulch/dirt was very "root bound". It was a very solid form which I could not loosen easily using my fingers.

The other side of this is the remaining trees, when pulled from the pot—the mulch immediately fell apart and left me mostly with a bare root tree.  I left the mulch--what was left clinging to the roots in place, and also left the pile of disattached mulch lying around the roots.

First, should I have tried harder to loosen up the solid root balls?

Second, should I have left the mulch from the now bare root trees in the hole or should I have discarded it and just put the soil from digging the hole back in on it?

Farmerdoug, do you establish fruit trees? If you do; I'd love to have you explain the process—grafting, potting, mulch sources, etc.
Title: Re: Planting fruit trees
Post by: Norm on June 14, 2008, 10:23:29 AM
Doug I've heard both to score the rootball and the other is to just leave it alone. I don't score it and really have not had any problems from doing so. On the mulch I always mix it with some of the black dirt and put it in the hole. I fill up the hole with water while I'm mixing in the soil around the transplant, helps to keep from getting air voids.

Hows the transplants coming?
Title: Re: Planting fruit trees
Post by: DouginUtah on June 14, 2008, 09:47:14 PM

Thanks for the reply Norm. After five days I was wondering if anyone was going to answer my questions.

I didn't put water in the hole but I did pour five gallons in the depression around each tree the next day. Then four days later another five. Now I have a PVC irrigation system with bubblers (one to one and a half gallons per minute).

We had one night that got down to about 30° and I noticed that the "buds" on the pear tree turned dark/black, but the leaves on all of the trees look healthy and vibrant.

I bought the Honda FBC800 tiller (*) so the garden is getting prepped. (Finally inspection on my house is Monday.) I'm not sure if I am too late for anything this year. It has been cool and wet so far this spring but yesterday was the turning point. It will be hot and dry for the rest of the summer--but I will have irrigation water. A friend is trying to talk me into a drip system. ??

(*) So far I am satisfied with the tiller. It seems to be quite substantial but after I had commited to buying it, I had a major disappintment. It does not have counter-rotating tines. It does have an adjustable drag bar that holds it back 95% of the time, but I am breaking up sod, so it will probably be okay after the first tilling. (I bought it for $200 below list.)

Title: Re: Planting fruit trees
Post by: beenthere on June 14, 2008, 11:37:18 PM
........................ Now I have a PVC irrigation system with bubblers (one to one and a half gallons per minute).................

What might that equate to in "inches/day" or per week??  Just sounds like a lot of water but don't know the area covered.  Want it to simulate a good, normal rainfall, I'd think.
Title: Re: Planting fruit trees
Post by: Norm on June 15, 2008, 08:10:48 AM
I've tried the drip irrigation and for some plants it does well, others it just about kills them. It tends to be dependent on the soils and climate in your area but I'd not keep them constantly wet. Maybe let them dry out for a couple of days although I'd err on the side of too wet if it were me.

I'll bet potatoes would still do fine for you and so would things like winter squash. I'm surprised you get frost so late in the year, is this normal for your area?
Title: Re: Planting fruit trees
Post by: DouginUtah on June 15, 2008, 10:47:43 AM
Beenthere, I just leave the flow on for a few minutes a couple of times per week. Just enough to fill up the depression at the base of the trees with a couple of inches of water. As the trees branch out I'll have to extend the depression.

Norm, my place is close to an elevation of 6000' so frost isn't rare in June, although this has been a weird spring.

Sweet corn would be number one on my most interested in growing list, potatoes number two.
Title: Re: Planting fruit trees
Post by: Norm on June 15, 2008, 12:02:03 PM
I agree with the sweet corn, it's just about my favorite garden crop. There's some excellent SE hybrids out there that are 70+ days I'll bet would do well in your area

I didn't realize your elevation was so high. Does it get dry during your summers?
Title: Re: Planting fruit trees
Post by: DouginUtah on June 15, 2008, 02:37:26 PM
Norm, during July and August we usually have many days in the 95° to 105° range with relative humidity under 10%. We often go for weeks with no rainfall at all--June, July and August are the driest months. Annual rainfall of about 15".

? SE=Scientifically Engineered?

Being a rookie, I have a lot to learn about planting and watering. Anyone have good links for basic gardening information?
Title: Re: Planting fruit trees
Post by: Norm on June 15, 2008, 04:47:24 PM
It stands for sugar enhanced sweet corn. There's three main classes of sweet corn now days. Plain old open pollinated, se, and SH2 (super sweets) being sold. The SH2's are a little harder to grow in our area so that's why I suggested the SE varieties. None of these are GMO's.

I read every issue of Organic Gardening when I started gardening seriously back in the early 80's. If you can get the back issues they are really a good source of information. A local library would be my first source to see if they have them. I don't follow their methods to the letter but I do not use any chemicals unless I have to.
Title: Re: Planting fruit trees
Post by: mdvaden on June 26, 2008, 10:55:45 AM
Depends on what you want and what you are willing to do.

At our last house, I planted 4 apple trees in the back yard and trained them into 14' tall extremely tall pyramidal form canopies.

Pruned to be 3 to 4 feet wide at the base and slowly tapering all the way to the top.

I could prune the entire tree with the orchard ladder in one position

These were cylindrical pyramidals - not flat plane espallier.

So I could have planted more at 8 to 10 feet apart.

Was not really very hard to maintain.

Again, it's what you want. If you want bigger wider trees - plant farther apart.
Title: Re: Planting fruit trees
Post by: Part_Timer on June 28, 2008, 09:13:23 PM
not that I know much about it but we planted part of our orchard 2 years ago and have planted a few trees each year after.  we made a good find on 2 peaches last year, they were 10' tall and only $10.95.  I wish they had had more.

We went to VA for vacation 2 weeks ago and went to the farm to see how they were doing.  There were 55 peaches and pears on 7 trees.  Not to bad a crop.  All the fruit was pulled off as no one will be there to harvest it and the trees can work on growing not on producing.  A few more trees were added while we were there.  We have the following all on 12-15' spacing

Peaches (semi dwarf)
3 elbert
3 red haven
1  I can't remember

pears (semi dwarf)
2 bartlet
1 asian

apple (semi dwarf)
1 macantosh

We found 1 of the persimmons but could not find the otheres down by the creek.  They are only about 6" tall, so I will look next spring.

This farm has a very old apple orchard on it.  Most of the trees are about 30' tall or so and are in various stages of dieing, so that is why we are planting the new trees.  It is funny, you can look across the  hill side in the spring and pick out all the apples that the deer and turkeys have planted for us. higher up the mountain :)