Author Topic: Starting an Apple Tree Orchard  (Read 1059 times)

Offline CagedFeral

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Starting an Apple Tree Orchard
« on: March 29, 2017, 05:24:02 AM »
I'm hoping to start a very small Apple Tree Orchard (maybe 6-10 trees). I've just planted two. A Golden Delicious because it's the "rooster of apple trees" and a Liberty tree because it's supposed to be easy maintenance. The Liberty will be pollinated by the Golden if I'm not mistaken.

These are bareroot trees I planted 3 weeks ago. I'm just looking for advice/tips to keep these trees happy. They are full size trees so I'm not looking for apples any time soon. I just want them to grow so that the apples will be great years from now. I'd love to add other types next year too.

I'm zone 6 southern Ohio. I'm just looking for advice that will help me baby these two trees and maybe advice on what to add next year. Thanks
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Offline fritz_monroe

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Re: Starting an Apple Tree Orchard
« Reply #1 on: March 29, 2017, 06:47:30 AM »
Protect the trunk from rabbits and deer.  Also, any future trees you add, make sure they are not susceptible to the diseases in your area.  Cedar/Apple rust comes to mind. 

Also, take a look at the Penn State extension office.  They have a lot of great articles.  Here's a link to the Fruit Times page
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Offline Cedar

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Re: Starting an Apple Tree Orchard
« Reply #2 on: March 29, 2017, 08:41:19 AM »
Look up the "Orange Pippin" apple site, https://www.orangepippin.com/apples
Big Horse Creek http://bighorsecreekfarm.com/apple-varieties/

Go to fruit tasting events in the fall and taste test, and either graft varieties you like up, or have them custom made for you. Tasting events are how I ended up with American and Japanese varieties, instead of just my pre-15th century English ones.

It took me around two years to determine what I wanted in my orchards for taste, purpose, and pollination capabilities with each other. Some need just one other variety to cross to, some need three. A triploid' variety which means its own pollen is ineffective at pollinating other varieties. But if you are in an area which has other apple trees around, you are probably ok.

There is another pollination chart at a Seattle fruit tree society I like, but you might find this one useful as well.https://www.orangepippintrees.com/pollinationchecker.aspx

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Offline bigbear

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Re: Starting an Apple Tree Orchard
« Reply #3 on: March 31, 2017, 12:26:42 PM »
I planted 3 bare root apple nearly 4 years ago.  I used Orange Pippin because I liked their rootstock options.  And didn't have a problem with them at all. 

During the first few months/year, make sure they are watered well.  Especially in the dry summer.

Not sure how you garden, but everything I read said don't fertilize the first year.  The goal is to make the root grow and if you fertilize, then the root get what they need for the tree to grow without having the roots grow as well.  You want the root to grow deep and wide.  (That's true for everything, but probably more so for young trees.)

Protect the bark around the tree base from mice/rabbits, especially in winter.  There's a tape you can put on them.  Or you can just stake a circle of chicken wire around each tree.

Cedar has a great pruning thread somewhere in the forum.  You'll need to prune in the winter.

Maybe not a concern if you're growing dwarf trees...  But if you get apples in the first 2-3 years, pinch them off as they are start forming.  It helps root development because instead of using it's nutrients to produce a handful of apples those years, it can use that energy to grow roots to support dozens/hunderds(?) of apples in a few years.

We have a Golden Delicious too.  They are a great all-purpose apple.  I'm not sure about the Liberty, but I see that it's a triploid (like Cedar mentions).  So it sounds like it's not a very good pollinator of other trees.  We paired ours with a Fuji and a Honeycrisp (in hindsight, I wished I would have done a Jonagold instead).

I'll second the suggestion to taste different varieties.  But I'll add to get at least one tart apple (like a Granny Smith) not just all sweet apples.  Having multiple flavors in your apple sauce makes it taste much, much better!  Maybe even stagger maturity times to extend the fresh apple season.  And get some that keep longer (typically less sugar content).
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Offline Cedar

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Re: Starting an Apple Tree Orchard
« Reply #4 on: March 31, 2017, 01:21:46 PM »
I did not even realize Orange Pippin sold trees. I just use them as a reference.

 Cedar
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Offline CagedFeral

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Re: Starting an Apple Tree Orchard
« Reply #5 on: April 01, 2017, 05:09:03 AM »
Thanks very much. I'm using everyone's advice as I type this. I need to learn more about what pollinates what. I don't want to end up with a crabapple. Right now it's been raining and all kinds of wet but good advice about keeping watered this summer. I'm about to make a couple slow watering buckets to set out for them this summer.  Right now I'm only thinking of roots. I don't expect apples. I'll be very happy just watching them grow.
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Offline Cedar

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Re: Starting an Apple Tree Orchard
« Reply #6 on: April 01, 2017, 08:19:34 AM »
I need to learn more about what pollinates what. I don't want to end up with a crabapple.  Right now I'm only thinking of roots. I don't expect apples. I'll be very happy just watching them grow.

I have been doing this for 30+ years and I need to still go back and look at charts to see what pollinates what. Generally you will be fine unless you live in a very apple deficient area. If you have any apple tree anywhere within a mile, you probably have one to pollinate your trees. I believe you said you had a "Yellow Delicious", so you are probably more than fine.

And what is wrong with a Crabapple? It too is its own cultivar (variety), and there are some quite fine crabapples out there. If by what you mean with cross pollinating is that your tree will not produce the variety you want, but instead will become a 'crabapple', this is not correct. You will either get a light or no crop off your tree with poor or wrong pollination.  In Canada I had a crabapple in my front pasture which was red all the way through and make a beautiful apple juice which was pink coloured and just delicious. A friend took some off that tree and other tree and made Spiced Crabapples to can up. Crabapples also tend to be excellent pollinators.

And YES!! Expect apples!!! That is part of the joy. Otherwise you could just be growing any non-fruiting ornamental. Ornamental pears that people grow actually confuse me  ;D

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Offline jerseyboy

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Re: Starting an Apple Tree Orchard
« Reply #7 on: April 02, 2017, 10:53:16 PM »
Here is the Orange Pippen site

https://www.orangepippintrees.com/pollinationchecker.aspx

Golden delicious and liberty are not recommended pairs.

Here is a chart I use which gives a good visual.

https://www.acnursery.com/apple_pollinizer.pdf

It shows that Liberty is a very early flowering variety. 

Here is another chart

http://raintreenursery.com/uploads/ApplePollination.pdf

Golden delicious blooms later but there appears to be some overlap.

Good luck and remember that there are many traits to look for in an apple, sweet, tart, high acid, long keeping,  baking (stays firm when cooked),  keeping period,  bloom time, harvest time, flavor, disease resistance, etc.

Also, like Cedar said, crab apples are often used for pollinators in large orchards.

Oh here is a short history and some comments for the liberty apple

https://www.orangepippin.com/apples/liberty

Personally, I like honeycrisp the best for an eating apple, although I did plant a young liberty last year.

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Offline CagedFeral

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Re: Starting an Apple Tree Orchard
« Reply #8 on: April 03, 2017, 04:41:49 AM »
And what is wrong with a Crabapple? It too is its own cultivar (variety), and there are some quite fine crabapples out there. If by what you mean with cross pollinating is that your tree will not produce the variety you want, but instead will become a 'crabapple', this is not correct. You will either get a light or no crop off your tree with poor or wrong pollination.  In Canada I had a crabapple in my front pasture which was red all the way through and make a beautiful apple juice which was pink coloured and just delicious. A friend took some off that tree and other tree and made Spiced Crabapples to can up. Crabapples also tend to be excellent pollinators.
Cedar
Don't mean insult Crabapple. I recently read that they are great pollinators so I'd like one or two. I'm just remembering those little green sour apples that we'd salt and would give us stomach cramps as a kid. We loved them even though we knew we'd soon pay for it. I'm not even positive they were crabapple. They were very small and sour though. I'm relying on 35 year old memories
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Offline CagedFeral

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Re: Starting an Apple Tree Orchard
« Reply #9 on: April 03, 2017, 05:07:43 AM »
Good info. More to apples than you'd think. I'm reading the links and It's starting to sink in. I know I want good pollination and disease resistance. I like nearly any apple myself. As long as it doesn't have a big rotten spot or worm holes. I've always been a fan of the Granny Smith so I'll probably lean toward planting that next year.

I put a mulch ring made from plastic 55gal barrels around them yesterday. Cut outs are only about 6'' high so no rabbit protection. I did make some pest repellent from garlic, hotsause, cayenne pepper and raw egg. I'm not sure i'll work but it sure makes me want to run away. 
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Offline jerseyboy

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Re: Starting an Apple Tree Orchard
« Reply #10 on: April 03, 2017, 07:15:08 PM »
Not all crab apples are sour

https://www.starkbros.com/products/fruit-trees/apple-trees/whitney-crabapple

I haven't tried this one, but Whitney is one of three or four common ones people grow.  If I find others, I will post them.

Here are a few more

http://www.grandrapidsmn.com/opinion/columnists/ornamental-versus-edible-crabapples/article_63d864ac-d16a-11e3-9f57-0019bb2963f4.html

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« Last Edit: April 03, 2017, 07:31:12 PM by jerseyboy »

Offline CagedFeral

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Re: Starting an Apple Tree Orchard
« Reply #11 on: April 04, 2017, 05:29:11 AM »
I'm now thinking I may need a crabapple. I'm thinking good pollinators are what I should start with. I'd like to try a Whitney crabapple if for no other reason than that's my daughter's name.

I'm watching these 1st two trees for buds then I'll be very motivated to get more started next year. This time of year here can make you crazy because some things start budding out while others stay dormant. I feel like running out to there and giving motivation speeches.
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Offline Cedar

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Re: Starting an Apple Tree Orchard
« Reply #12 on: April 04, 2017, 10:08:25 AM »
Advice? Don't over think it if you have alot of apples within a mile of your house. I tend to live in remote areas that apples are not very well populated, and with the weird varieties I tend to have, I had to do a bit of research  on them. The chances of your apples not getting pollinated are unlikely.

In the Autumn, find a apple taste testing  orchard or event in the fall, taste test until you can'tt take another bite, take a notebook and rate the flavor etc from a 1-5. At the end of the day, find the varieties you liked best, research and locate this one's you really like. Don't have enough room? Make a Belgian fence from them. I have  pics on here somewhere on what a Belgian fence with apples looks like. Really not as intimidating as it might seem.

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Offline CagedFeral

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Re: Starting an Apple Tree Orchard
« Reply #13 on: April 11, 2017, 05:29:26 AM »
I'll look into a fence. I have deer in the back yard all the time. I'm using a homemade pest repellent right now. It's nasty stuff. It makes my wife run away. Checked them Sunday evening and no signs of pest. One tiny bud at the highest tip on each tree.

I saw a youtube video saying to cut a bareroot in half so that it will grow roots stronger the first year. These bareroots are basically 3ft sticks. I'm wondering if I should do this.

We have a huge apple orchard that my best guess is 8-10 air miles from here. I worked some weekends picking there when I was 16. I have no idea where the nearest tree is but I'm guessing a few are around. We also have a beekeeping operation near by so that may help.
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Offline bigbear

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Re: Starting an Apple Tree Orchard
« Reply #14 on: April 12, 2017, 11:10:58 AM »
One tiny bud at the highest tip on each tree.

I saw a youtube video saying to cut a bareroot in half so that it will grow roots stronger the first year. These bareroots are basically 3ft sticks. I'm wondering if I should do this.

Pinch the bud off.  It takes nutrients away from growing roots and other more important things.

Let it grow for now.  Wait until winter to cut it back.  But yes, the first pruning is pretty severe.
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Offline LvsChant

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Re: Starting an Apple Tree Orchard
« Reply #15 on: April 12, 2017, 05:50:57 PM »
We planted our little orchard before the house was even built back in 2013 (bare root stock from Peaceful Valley - groworganic.com - got a mix of fruit trees for about $200 for 10 different varieties)... All the trees are loaded with apples this year since we haven't had a late frost this year. I'm going to have to thin them out pretty soon. It's been so windy, though, that I'm waiting to see what blows off first.

Gala is my big pollinator for the apples...

We have:

Gala
Granny Smith
Cox's Yellow Pippin
Gravenstein
Honeycrisp

The Gravenstein and Honeycrisp are the latest to blossom, but the Gala has blooms for such a long time that it seems to take care of all that need a cross-pollinator. Around here (southern NM), despite the fact that apples and pears do really well, not many people have them and there are zero local orchards to visit...

We also have two pear trees, which seem to do really well... Bartlett (good pollinator) and Red D'Anjou (iirc)

Offline CagedFeral

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Re: Starting an Apple Tree Orchard
« Reply #16 on: April 20, 2017, 04:53:30 AM »
Went out and watered with rain water tonight because it's been a couple three days without rain. They are lookin great. The Golden Delicious has leaf sprouts all over and the Liberty has about half the leaf sprouts but the stock is about 3 times as thick!

It looks like these trees are loving the location. I'll baby them this summer by watering at night thru the hot dry times. I just don't have the nerve to cut them when they seem to be doing so well. I put half of one of those fertilizer sticks and a little bone meal in when I planted so I'll just water and mulch this year. I don't think adding anything would help them in the long run for now. I want them to grow strong roots.

Now I need to research the 4 to 6 I'll add next year.
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Offline CagedFeral

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Re: Starting an Apple Tree Orchard
« Reply #17 on: April 20, 2017, 05:40:15 AM »
We planted our little orchard before the house was even built back in 2013 (bare root stock from Peaceful Valley - groworganic.com - got a mix of fruit trees for about $200 for 10 different varieties)... All the trees are loaded with apples this year since we haven't had a late frost this year. I'm going to have to thin them out pretty soon. It's been so windy, though, that I'm waiting to see what blows off first.

Gala is my big pollinator for the apples...

We have:

Gala
Granny Smith
Cox's Yellow Pippin
Gravenstein
Honeycrisp

The Gravenstein and Honeycrisp are the latest to blossom, but the Gala has blooms for such a long time that it seems to take care of all that need a cross-pollinator. Around here (southern NM), despite the fact that apples and pears do really well, not many people have them and there are zero local orchards to visit...

We also have two pear trees, which seem to do really well... Bartlett (good pollinator) and Red D'Anjou (iirc)

Gala is always coming up as a good pollinator so it's on the list. I've always loved a Granny Smith so I'd love to have couple of them.
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Re: Starting an Apple Tree Orchard
« Reply #18 on: April 24, 2017, 08:51:29 PM »
Good luck! I got into tree planting two years ago (planted couple more before, but it was no big deal). Planted 40 new trees and bushes in the last two years. Most of them are doing great so far. Hope yours will be the same.
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Offline Skispcs

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Re: Starting an Apple Tree Orchard
« Reply #19 on: Yesterday at 08:22:22 AM »
Not sure if Japanese beetles are a problem in your area but they destroyed my young apple trees last summer.
I had 10 2 year old apple trees and the beetles completely defoliated them along with my cherry and plum trees.
Even with some judicious pruning, half of the trees did not come back this year.

I am currently experimenting with mosquito netting and a frame to place over each tree once they are pollinated and before the beetles come out in late June.

Offline bigbear

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Re: Starting an Apple Tree Orchard
« Reply #20 on: Yesterday at 11:35:54 AM »
Not sure if Japanese beetles are a problem in your area but they destroyed my young apple trees last summer.
I had 10 2 year old apple trees and the beetles completely defoliated them along with my cherry and plum trees.
Even with some judicious pruning, half of the trees did not come back this year.

I am currently experimenting with mosquito netting and a frame to place over each tree once they are pollinated and before the beetles come out in late June.

I had the same problem with Japanese beetles.  Until I used diatomaceous earth.  It's a natural organism that will be ingested by Japanese beetle larva and essentially dehydrate it.  It has worked wonders.  Just put a tablespoon scoop on the ground every few feet in early spring or fall.  And by next year the population will be dramatically reduced.  (Plus DE can be used for a few other things, like for mites in the chicken coop.)  It's supposed to be effective for the next 20 years.
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