estorms
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Location: Greenfield Township, PA

orchard

I plan to plant an orchard this spring. The site was formerly covered with brush, multiflora rose, chokecherry, thornapple (Hawthorn) and poison ivy. My husband has brush hogged it and I am raking up the debries and burning. Is there any advice out there before I start? Don't assume anything is so simple that I would surely know it already! We are in Northeast PA. I plan to plant apples, peaches, plums, cherries, grapes, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and currants. I am already 65 so I don't want to plant anything that takes many years to bear :lol:

JONA878
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Hi Estorms
All of those will tolerate most soil structures to varying degree with the exception of the Blueberry.
They need a ph that is very low. 4.5 or so.
At that level the rest would not like it very much....so plant them seperately and treat the soil to get the acidity down for them.

Even so it is prudent to get the soil tested to know exactly what condition it really is in.
It's much easier to correct deficiancies before planting rather than after after plants show the effects of some trouble in the soils profile.

It always pays if you can to get as much of the perennial weeds out before planting as they can become a real nuisance once you trees are in.

With modern stocks and varieties you should be cropping on most of these by year three. The soft fruits cropping in year one or two at the latest.

It's not a bad idea on new orchards to stake out the site to your planned planting positions and then you can judge more easily if you have got the distances about right before commiting to all that hard work.
An apple a day.....keeps me in work.

CharlieBear
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Location: Pacific NW

To add to the above in this country you should look at dwarf fruit trees only. Semis will get too big for you to handle soon. My Great aunt and Uncle are having real problems managing the larger trees now that they are older. Dwarfs are easier to care for and prune and generally bear at a younger age than semis. Dwarfs are harder to come by so you may have to get them mail order. Not all mail order places will have everything you might want. For example Miller's does not have the dwarf apples, Starks has the apples, but not everything else. One Green has a great selection of dwarf apples on m-26 stock, but no other dwarfs and on and on.
I would spend a good deal of time considering what kind of apples, pears, etc you really want to eat and store for the winter. Then check with your local extention to see if they recommend some varieties or suggest against some. Not all varieties do well where you are, but many will.
Also your extention should have information or care, planting, pruning etc.
Note generally it is best not to ammend the hole you dig before planting.
If you only hedgehogged the ivy, it will be back, it will have to be hand pulled as it comes back out, the roots are what causes the problems there, also if there was any other things that spread by roots like perriwinkle, himilain blackberries, etc the hedgehog will only slow them down not get rid of them completely.

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GardenRN
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In case you didn't know and nobody else mentions it.....DON'T BURN THE POISON IVY!! If inhaled it can cause anaphylaxis and send you to the hospital. Basically it causes a case of poison ivy inside your lungs, suffocating you or causing a collapsed lung. If you must burn, steer clear of the smoke from the ivy. Or the ivy may get the last laugh.
Jeff

USDA Zone 7a, Sunset Zone 32.

Failure is only a fact when you give up.

bangstrom
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Re: orchard

I planted several the same trees that you are considering but I found that the amount of spraying I had to do to keep the insects from totally destroying the crop was unacceptable. I have been faithfully spraying my trees for the last two years and maintaining good hygiene under the trees but all I harvest is a few wormy apples and no peaches or nectarines. My neighbors in town have mostly given up and let their fruit rot on the trees. It would be a good idea to ask about and see what fruits can be grown in your local.
I was looking for a low maintenance fruit tree that doesn't need spraying and pawpaws looked like a good possibility so I planted three pawpaws. So far the trees are thriving and look beautiful by themselves. One of my trees, a Pennsylvania Golden, bloomed last year but lost all its fruit. This is normal for a pawpaw's first year 'practice' fruiting and it takes two trees in close proximity for good pollination. All of my trees are loaded with potential blossoms this winter and I am looking forward to a first harvest next fall. I tried pawpaws once when I was young and loved them. You might want to give pawpaws a try and PA has the right climate. There is plenty of information on the web about growing pawpaws in your area. Unfortunately, large pawpaw trees don't transplant well so you need to plant small and let them grow.

estorms
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Joined: Thu Dec 15, 2011 12:04 pm
Location: Greenfield Township, PA

Paw Paw

I have never seen or tasted Paw Paw. I will look for it at the store and try it to see if I like it. I will definitely do a soil test. I did one last year for the garden and I have added everything recommended. I plan to do a seperate one for the trees. We have to get rid of a lot of one inch stumps and their roots. I got a bottle of stump rot but the cautions are really scarey.

bangstrom
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Re: Paw Paw

Pawpaws are a backyard fruit and they are hardly ever found in stores. Pawpaws don't ripen off the tree so they must be picked when ripe but by then they have a short shelf life and are too soft to ship. The ripe fruit has little eye appeal and these things keep pawpaws from being marketable. You should be able to find a local farmers' market or roadside stand in PA that sells pawpaws but it would take some searching in September and October when the fruit is in season. The pulp can be frozen and used to make bread, smoothies, and other deserts. These articles mention some places where you might be able to find pawpaws.
https://www.messyandpicky.com/index.php/2009/10/01/paw-paw/
https://www.post-gazette.com/food/20030918pawpaw0918fnp2.asp

Artemesia
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Location: zone 5

Fruit for the elderly

As I have gotten older, I plant more and more fruit trees that require very little care. I also am getting more sensitive to chemicals so I am focusing more on the fruits that grow without chemicals.

Some of the more disease resistant grapes are Beta, Oberlin Noir,
Marquette, Bluebell, Trollhaugen, Mars, and America.
Since you are in a warmer region, you can also grow Shuyler, Isabella, and Norton.

You may even be in a warm enough region to grow Muscadine grape such as
Noble, Red Summit, and Red Scarlet.

For apples, I would grow a lot of Liberty and Freedom.
Your still going to have curculio problems.
Grow lots of beneficial flowers to attract beneficial insects.

Evans / Bali and Surefire cherries are reliable.
Mulberry is also very hearty.

Some apricots are very disease resistant, such as Harglow, Jerseycot, Hunza, and Chinese (Mormon).

Some of the more disease resistant peaches are Red Haven and Reliance.

Remember, usually, the key to organic fruit is to grow slowly.
Dwarfs are a good idea.

Some of the few fruits you can grow in a hurry organically are fig, currents, and blackberries.

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rainbowgardener
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You have gotten some very good suggestions.

I'm not much of a fruit grower, just berries. Mulberry is a hardy tree. I have a big old one in my yard that produces a great crop every year, even though I do NOTHING to/for it. But they are slow growing... if you planted a transplant sized mulberry tree (like a whip) now, it would be a lot of years before you saw fruit.

I don't know about apricots in PA. We have a big old apricot tree at my church (no idea what variety). It blooms pretty early, which means most years a late frost kills off all the blooms and no apricots. In these global warming times, we have a few more years where the apricots make it, but it is still pretty iffy.

I agree that for few years until production and easier care, you really want to be looking for dwarf varieties. And really ask around at good local tree nurseries (NOT big box stores) for what varieties work where you are, it makes a big difference.
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Artemesia
Cool Member
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Joined: Sat Apr 09, 2011 1:19 am
Location: zone 5

late bloom apricot

Harglow, Jerseycot, Hunza, and Chinese (Mormon) are all late blooming so you should be fine.

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