Author Topic: Fruit Tree Orchard Planning  (Read 4465 times)

Offline STLAR

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Fruit Tree Orchard Planning
« on: October 03, 2008, 10:25:28 AM »
I am interested in putting in a fruit tree orchard but would like to know what type of trees to put in and how many.  I have unlimited ground to put the trees on.  Im looking to produce apples, pears, cherries, peaches, plums and apricots.  I live in eastern Missouri in zone 6.  I would like to have about 2 of each kind of tree but would like them to produce fruit at different times to spread out the harvest.  Does anyone have some suggestions or a link that has some expertise on orchard planning.

wipeout

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Re: Fruit Tree Orchard Planning
« Reply #1 on: October 04, 2008, 05:36:21 PM »
What part of the country are you in?

When it comes to fruit trees, it really is the more you have the better.

Apples - You need to be in a location that gets a good solid winter freeze. There are maybe only 4 varieties that will produce fruit if it does not freeze in your area. With apples, each plant needs to have a cross pollinator that is flowering at the same time. Semi-dwarf trees will produce about a bushel and a half of fruit a year once established (3-5 years). Standard size trees can take as long as 7-8 years to come into full production but will produce 10-12 bushels of fruit. Standard trees are also harder to control and pick fruit from.

Pears - just about everything that applies to apples applies to pears as well. Pears are probably the easiest fruit to start with as there really isn't that much that harms them (except fireblight). Pears don't really need the hard freeze like apples do.

Cherries - Cherry trees will produce a lot of fruit on one tree. They do not need a pollinator so you can plant only one if you wish.

Plums - There are two types of plums, Japanese and European. Euro plums are self fertile and do not need a pollinator. They are considered more of a cooking and prune making plum. Japanese plums need a cross pollinator and produce larger, sweeter fruit. I have one euro plum tree and this year alone I got over 36 gallons of plums.

I can't help you much with apricots as they do not grow in my area.


As I said before, with fruit trees, the more you can plant the better. Thinning (removing some fruit while it is small) is very important for plum and apple trees. The trees will set way too much fruit if left to their own devices and you will have lots of small, undesireable fruit come harvest time. If you don't thin, you also risk having branches break (happened to me this year on a neglected 30yo apple tree). Not only will you get smaller fruit and risk damaging the tree, the tree doesn't care if it sets fruit every year. The tree will put all its energy into producing seed(fruit) that it might use all its energy for seed production one year, and you might not have any fruit on the tree the next.

Bighorn

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Re: Fruit Tree Orchard Planning
« Reply #2 on: October 05, 2008, 05:07:25 PM »
Great info Wipeout. Thanks

Offline steel

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Re: Fruit Tree Orchard Planning
« Reply #3 on: October 05, 2008, 06:47:06 PM »
Some plant a few dwarf varieties to get a quicker harvest until the standard varieties come into maturity.  Don't forget to plant some nut trees as well.  Check with the county extension agent in your area for a list of fruit/nut varieties suitable for your environment.

Offline STLAR

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Re: Fruit Tree Orchard Planning
« Reply #4 on: October 06, 2008, 10:42:30 AM »
Thank you very much.

Offline JLMissouri

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Re: Fruit Tree Orchard Planning
« Reply #5 on: December 17, 2008, 10:40:15 PM »
 I have had good luck with several kinds of peaches, pears and apples. I woulld have to look at my records for the type of peach trees, as I have two varieties. For apples I have winsap, golden/red delicious, and granny smith. They are all doing good. They are all dwarf. Apples produced the second year, and peaches produced the first year.

I have wild plum trees on my place, but the bugs will get them before they have a chance to grow. I have several apricot trees, but they have yet to produce. I have had the best luck with the pear tree. It is a dwarf tree that was in the original orchard my parents planted in 1984. Dwarf trees are not even suppose to live this long, but it will produce a butt load of pears every year, it is the sole survivor of the original orchard, as no one lived here from 86-02.

Offline spartan

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Re: Fruit Tree Orchard Planning
« Reply #6 on: December 19, 2008, 09:40:59 AM »
Some general recommendations:

1.  Call your local extension office and ask them what varieties of each tree grows well in your area and which are used for commercial production.
2.  Visit local nurseries and garden centers to see if they sell those types and if possible buy your plants there.

These two steps helped my planning for berries a much easier process.  I know upfront which ones tolerate the strange mix of weather we have here.  I live in zone 6a that acts more like 5b, which changes my plant choices.  By buying the varieties known to the extension office, they have a better ability to assist me if I have questions about specific pests or diseases that may afflict me.

Most of the nursery plants here come from local providers, so have become established under similar conditions.  Finally, buying locally allows me to deal with a person who has a vested interest in keeping me a customer.