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toasterburn
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Joined: Tue Mar 10, 2015 10:25 am
Location: Alabama

Help Me Plan My Orchard

I have a 75ft x 75ft square that I plan to be all fruit trees. Specifically: Apples, Peaches, and Plums (though I might also try to slide a fig or pomegranate in there as well). I have next week off from work, and plan to spend my time planting. I've called every local nursery, and these are the trees I have to choose from.

I don't know much (yet) about fruit trees so I thought I'd ask: What would you plant if you were me?


Lowes: (1 year warranty)

Plum methley semi-dwarf
Apple dwarf yellow delicious
Peach bonanza patio
Peach hell heaven semi-dwarf
Peach bell of georgia semi-dwarf


HomeDepot: (1 year warranty)

Peach bell prunus persica
Plum prunus domestica
Apple red delicious dwarf


Local Nurseries: (no warranty)

pomegranate wonderful
Apple gala standard size
Peach june gold standard size
Plum created by auburn university (that's the only info he could give me on it, $40)

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ElizabethB
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Joined: Sat Nov 24, 2012 12:53 am
Location: Lafayette, LA

Re: Help Me Plan My Orchard

Toasterburn - warm welcome to the forum. The first question is where in Alabama do you live? I live in Lafayette, LA. Fruit trees that I can successfully grow are different varieties than those that produce well in central and north Louisiana. The same will be true for you.

You can not expect to grow an orchard in a 75' x 75' lot. At best you will be able to plant 2 or 3 fruit trees.

You are looking at young plants and not considering mature size. Without information about your local I can not make any recommendations on the types and varieties of fruit trees that will do well in your area. Fruit trees are EXTREMELY region specific. Some are self pollinating - you only need one, some require cross pollination - you need at least 2.

Please respond with your city. Forum members will be able to give you much more specific information.

Once again warm welcome. Glad to have you as a member of the forum. Waiting to hear from you.
Elizabeth - or Your Majesty

Living and growing in Lafayette, La.

When weeding, the best way to make sure you are removing a weed and not a valuable plant is to pull on it. If it comes out of the ground easily, it is a valuable plant. ~Author Unknown

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toasterburn
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Joined: Tue Mar 10, 2015 10:25 am
Location: Alabama

Re: Help Me Plan My Orchard

I live just outside of Tuscaloosa (Coker, AL).

Would 75 sq ft be enough for a few dwarf or semi-dwarf trees? I'm planning on planting two of each, so 6 trees total.

cdog222
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Joined: Sun Aug 30, 2009 11:52 pm
Location: Zone 6a, St Charles, MO

Re: Help Me Plan My Orchard

I currently have 4 dwarf fruit trees in my back yard - two cherry, and two apple. My understanding is that the dwarf varieties can be planted 10' apart. So...my 4 trees are essentially taking up a 10' x 10' footprint at their base. I plant to add another 4 this spring, which will make the total area 10' x 30'.

Having said that, they are now in their 3rd growing season so I have no idea if they will crowd each other out. I plan to prune systematically to maintain less but (hopefully) higher producing fruiting branches so this will probably help.

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rainbowgardener
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Location: TN/GA 7b

Re: Help Me Plan My Orchard

Elizabeth, I'm not understanding. 75 by 75 is 5600 square feet. How can you say you can only put 2 or 3 trees in 5600 square feet, that isn't making sense to me. As one example the dwarf golden delicious apple gets 8-10 feet tall and wide and is supposed to be spaced 8 -10 feet. Being conservative and saying 10 feet wide and spaced 10 feet, you could put a row of 4 of them in 75' wide and you could put four rows in 75 feet long. So if you were planting nothing but these, you could put 16 trees in the 75 by 75 plot.

But toasterburn, you do have to do a lot of homework, to figure out which are best for your area, that you have enough chilling hours to meet their needs, whether or not they are self pollinating, etc.

And I think your orchard will not be at its healthiest if it only has fruit trees in it. You might need to sacrifice a few of the 16 trees to make room for more diversity. These trees are insect pollinated, so you need to have things to attract and feed the insects when the trees are not in bloom. Dill, fennel, coriander are good for this, but also yarrow, alyssum and other flowers that have nectar in tiny florets. Planting nasturtium, chives, garlic, daffodils is good for repelling damaging insects. Planting clover, vetch, alfalfa which are nitrogen fixers, helps add nitrogen to the soil (and bees love the clover). Lots of diversity of plantings makes for a healthier eco-system.
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

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ElizabethB
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Joined: Sat Nov 24, 2012 12:53 am
Location: Lafayette, LA

Re: Help Me Plan My Orchard

Toasterburn - I am intrigued by your project. Fruit trees are extremely region specific and I am not familiar with your region. I contacted the Tuscaloosa County Extension Office and asked for region specific recommendations, planting guides, pruning, care and insect and disease control.

I received a reply this AM asking for information about the specific fruit trees you wanted to plant.

As soon as I get the information/links I will post them to you.

Region specific information is critical to a successful home orchard. Please be a little patient.

Regards
Elizabeth - or Your Majesty

Living and growing in Lafayette, La.

When weeding, the best way to make sure you are removing a weed and not a valuable plant is to pull on it. If it comes out of the ground easily, it is a valuable plant. ~Author Unknown

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ElizabethB
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Posts: 2105
Joined: Sat Nov 24, 2012 12:53 am
Location: Lafayette, LA

Re: Help Me Plan My Orchard

Toasterburn - this is the email reply I received from the Tuscaloosa County Extension Office. IDK if you can access the information. If not Contact me via PM with your email address and I will forward to you. Very good, region specific information.

OOPS :eek: - I could not paste the information. Send me a PM and I will forward to you.
Elizabeth - or Your Majesty

Living and growing in Lafayette, La.

When weeding, the best way to make sure you are removing a weed and not a valuable plant is to pull on it. If it comes out of the ground easily, it is a valuable plant. ~Author Unknown



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