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Square Eye 05-27-2006 04:42 PM

Back Yard Orchard
I have had apple trees and peach trees, one cherry tree. Now I want a yard full. Has anyone else got pictures or tips for starting an orchard in the yard?

I have a half acre behind my shop that's just not being used. We can't even see it from the house because the shop blocks the view. We have a Magnolia bush, a Red Bud, an Ash, a Red Delicious Apple, and several Wild Cherry trees, Maples and Pines/Spruce trees. The honeysuckle has taken over the fence row and is starting to choke my Wild Cherry trees. I love the smell, but they're very aggressive. Then the neighbors have a row of Silver Maples on our property line. They are on the East side, so there's no sun lost. The tall pines are on the West, so afternoon sun is spotty. The Wild Cherries are on the North along the fence. The South is wide open. This is where I want to plant the short fruit trees. Is 20' from property lines and 20' apart enough space?

We're going to build a patio back there this weekend. I've wanted to do this from the day I bought this place 6 years ago. Comments and suggestions welcome.

Tom in KY, my boy John is planting every apple seed he can find. My great Grandfather had an orchard. I wonder if old Johnny Appleseed is a distant relative?

ALPS 06-09-2006 08:59 PM

I'm looking into planting a small apple orchard next spring myself, somewhere around a dozen trees. I'm going to spend this summer clearing a spot in the back for this and do more research on orchards before planting next spring. Fortunately for me I live in NY -- prime apple country.

What types of apples are you looking at planting? There is a great place near me that has hundreds of types of apples (and other fruit trees and bushes, too). They go far beyond the typical Macs and Delicous you'll find everywhere else.

You say "short fruit trees". I'm guesssing this means semi-dwarf? If so your spacing of 20' between rows sounds about right, with maybe 15' between trees in the rows.

One bit of advice I've come across was to get the soil tested and amend it ahead of time. Check with the local cooperative extension in your county. Mine cost $12 for the test and told me what it needed.

Square Eye 06-09-2006 09:51 PM

Thank you Alps! I'm starting with 2 Red Delicious apples, a Georgia peach, a Bing cherry and who knows what else. The reason I say short trees is that the rest of the trees on the property are very tall maples and pines, ash and wild cherry. I'd like to have a sycamore just because I think they're cool and a tulip poplar 'cuz they're cool too. There are 2 dogwoods and a redbud that are cool up close to the house. And soon there will be a crab apple in the front yard.

Do I like trees?

to quote Daryl in Nanoose "OYAH OYAH"

ALPS 06-10-2006 09:54 AM

Red Delcious? Really? It's such a common apple and there are so many out there that are way better dessert apples. The RD's are popular because they are so red, shiny, look good in the store and ship well. It's all marketing.

My crab apple will be a Dolgo. Good for tannins in your cider and the apples are said to make great apple jelly. Crab apples trees are also good polliators, too.

Square Eye 06-10-2006 10:07 AM

Yep, red delicious first. If I don't like them, I'll cut them down and go get another type. I still have room for a few more trees.

What do you suggest for a superior apple?

ALPS 06-10-2006 01:23 PM

Oh, I'm not saying they are bad at all. In fact, I bet yours will be way better than the ones you buy at the store.

Most of my researching apple trees was for cider production. All the great English varieties are way to bitter to eat, so I'm going with some North American types that we can eat, bake with and make into sauce as well as press for cider. I am going to plant a couple that are said to be the finest dessert apples you can find: Cox's Orange Pippin and Ashmead's Kernel. I hope they live up to their reputation.

Also good (IMHO) are Cortland, Gala, Jonathan, Granny Smith, Spitzenberg, and lots more. Keep in mind, I'm certainly no expert here, just a guy who like apples.

Square Eye 06-10-2006 11:45 PM

When I'm buying, I like gala apples. A granny smith is OK.

If I get 30-50 good apples in 3 years, I'll be shocked.

TxBuilder 06-18-2006 12:43 PM

I have a key lime, fig, pecan, and two peach trees in my yard.

I want a tangelo tree but no clue where to buy them if you can.

inspectorD 06-18-2006 07:42 PM

Pardon my ignorance, but what is a Tangelo tree?

ALPS 06-18-2006 07:59 PM

Here ya go Tex:

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