Author Topic: 40+ apple and fruit trees. What the heck can I do with these?  (Read 29049 times)

Offline KYdoomer

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Re: 40+ apple and fruit trees. What the heck can I do with these?
« Reply #30 on: January 18, 2010, 08:25:13 PM »
One other thing I forgot, try to make your pruning cuts about 1/8-1/4 inch above any terminal buds. (Other orchardists, please correct me if I am wrong. I have only worked with five apple trees in the past.) Proper pruning cuts make for a more productive tree. Cutting too long (i.e. too far away from a terminal bud) creates small sections of dead wood at the end of your branch. Cutting too close has a negative affect on any growth coming from the terminal bud. That said, don't be intimidated. Have a good look at each tree before you make the first cut. Plan on how to make the least number of cuts to create your desired effect. Review your work after you've made a few major cuts. Revise your pruning plan accordingly. I'll post more of my orchard experiences as they surface.

That is correct.  You may want to also tip each branch.  The terminal buds (at the end) create a hormone called auxin (sp?).  The hormone halts the auxiliary buds (further down) from forming new growth.  By tipping the end you can give more buds a chance to become the best branches that you want to keep to produce more fruit.

J

Offline Sweethearts Mom

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Re: 40+ apple and fruit trees. What the heck can I do with these?
« Reply #31 on: January 21, 2010, 07:08:32 PM »
I can not wait to have a full orchard. I planted a pair of Granny Smiths last year. I just bought 3 Arkansas Blacks and a walnut trees onlline; The are only 4 feet tall though. I have a pot started trying to sprout some miniature black walnuts that I found in Austin TX at a friends house.

I will be putting up a wire fence around the orchard in the next few weeks or so (if the rain stops here) and will put ducks and geese in there to graze and eventually eat any falls.

I will lock up the fowl at night in a smaller run and open the gate for the huge hound to patrol in there. Under each tree I will keep a large flat black tray of water for the ducks and geese to play in and will dump these onto each tree once a week or so to water them.

I will also plant 2 hardy kiwis...does anyone know if these are vines or trees?

Offline Whatatata

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Re: 40+ apple and fruit trees. What the heck can I do with these?
« Reply #32 on: January 25, 2010, 08:45:24 AM »
Yeah, so me and my brother (Ladieu) along with 2 friends had our work cut out for us this weekend!!!  Saturday, we came out to his house and he rented a smaller chipper. (I wish it was bigger, that thing was a PAIN!)  There was a giant burn pile situated well away from the orchard so we chipped almost the whole pile, then our friend Doug had a chainsaw and he did most all of the pruning. That is awesome, because he works for the city of Baltimore's parks dept. doing this type of stuff.  By the end of the day Saturday, somehow we managed to clear out almost the whole orchard!  Hopefully Nick will post some pictures of what we have done, it looks pretty good.

Offline sclindah

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Re: 40+ apple and fruit trees. What the heck can I do with these?
« Reply #33 on: January 30, 2010, 10:45:24 AM »
We have had some trees for the past three years and I'm still trying to learn how to take care of them. I found a really useful youtube channel on pruning fruit trees by Stephen Hayesuk from England. He has a lot of videos and even how to take care of older trees to get them back to use.
stephenhayesuk
Fruitwise guide to pruning apple trees-spur thinning 

I had some sort of rot on our apple and peach trunks that I'm trying to figure out what to do for next year.  Any ideas?

Offline Stein

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Re: 40+ apple and fruit trees. What the heck can I do with these?
« Reply #34 on: February 01, 2010, 11:57:18 AM »
I just checked out a DVD from our library - Easy Steps to Fruit Tree Pruning with Gary Moulton of Cederdale Orchards.  It has a section on what to do with huge neglected trees.  Overall, the DVD has great information, but is early 80s and low budget.  You may want to see if you can get a copy from your library.

Offline ladieu

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Re: 40+ apple and fruit trees. What the heck can I do with these?
« Reply #35 on: February 01, 2010, 12:06:26 PM »
Thanks everyone who has responded so far. As my brother said we did a fair amount of cutting a few weeks ago to at least get this thing to the point where I can walk through there.   So next step is to spread all the new mulch I just made on the floor of the orchard. I'm going to work on that this weekend.

I'm going to consult a local fruit tree guy and pay him to teach me to do the pruning. I have a few books on it, but I think once someone actually shows me the proper techniques just one time I should be set for life.

I have some pictures of the progress that I will be posting up soon.

-Nick

Offline ladieu

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Re: 40+ apple and fruit trees. What the heck can I do with these?
« Reply #36 on: February 07, 2010, 04:04:23 PM »
No progress on the orchard project this weekend. We got about 26 inches of snow on friday/saturday.  Figured this was a good time to post some update pictures.

I'm sort of treating this thread like a mini blog for this project. I was involved in another forum involving making homemade LCD projectors and these were called "PLOGS" project logs. So it helps me stay motivated and if people want to track the progress of this project and offer any suggestions please do so.
Here is that thread for the curious http://www.lumenlab.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=9546


Yours truly getting gas for the shredder I rented. (Yes I know I should have stored gas at my house. It's on my list!)


Front of orchard... pile of stuff waiting to be chipped


My good buddy came up from Baltimore to do the chainsaw work. I still plan to buy a good chainsaw, but this offset that cost for awhile... I'll get one this spring.


The shredder I rented


What your not seeing in this picture was a pile of brush about 20 feet high that we chipped. This was there before we even started on the orchard.  We started a burn pile that burnt all night. We sat around and had some laughs and many beers


My buddy smoked some ribs and we I have a fresh pile of firewood to chop up.


My brother came up from harrisburg to join the party. He is the one that woke me up with TSP









Offline Pathfinder

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Re: 40+ apple and fruit trees. What the heck can I do with these?
« Reply #37 on: February 07, 2010, 05:06:29 PM »
Very cool, a day outside working. Looked like fun.

BTW, blue cans like yours are for kerosene, not gasoline. Not that the plastic is any different, but it prevents the rest of us from thinking kerosene and getting gas. Just an FYI.

Offline ladieu

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Re: 40+ apple and fruit trees. What the heck can I do with these?
« Reply #38 on: February 07, 2010, 06:49:31 PM »
Yeah I know, it even says kerosene on the side of it, I needed a gas can and that is what the wife brought home...

Anyway no big deal, when i get around to storing gas I'll get new containers...

-Nick

Offline whitewaterhawk

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Re: 40+ apple and fruit trees. What the heck can I do with these?
« Reply #39 on: February 07, 2010, 10:36:30 PM »
Sounds like you have just about got this task licked.  My parents have some old apple trees that produce small fruit.  We found this website from Iowa State University Horticulture Dept. ( http://www.ipm.iastate.edu/ipm/hortnews/2001/2-9-2001/prunetree.html )for instructions on pruning neglected fruit trees.  Hoping to get out and trim them up in a couple weeks. 

There are other fruit tree pruning instructions links on that page.

Offline Crispy Critter

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Re: 40+ apple and fruit trees. What the heck can I do with these?
« Reply #40 on: February 08, 2010, 06:23:36 AM »
Great progress, Ladieu. I'm glad to see you have some excellent moral support. Let me tell you, pruning neglected fruit trees alone can be very daunting. I look forward to seeing pics of Springtime blooms!

Offline ebonearth

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Re: 40+ apple and fruit trees. What the heck can I do with these?
« Reply #41 on: February 09, 2010, 08:29:32 PM »
That is so awesome! I just love permaculture. I spent part of the afternoon plotting out my future orchard and your plog is an inspiration!

Offline ladieu

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Re: 40+ apple and fruit trees. What the heck can I do with these?
« Reply #42 on: February 09, 2010, 09:38:09 PM »
Thanks so much for the encouragement. At the moment I am trying to figure out what to plant in the orchard. I'm thinking legumes, vines, bushes.. also I want to grow berries and grapes on the fenceline. My big problem at the moment is I don't understand really what Jack is talking about when he talks about noticing the flow of the land, etc.

At an overall concept level I understand permaculture, however I am getting lost in the details.

I mean I understand the words obviously, but I can't look at my yard and put those words into any sort of action. I realize I need vines and bushes... etc... add mulch.. "Chop and drop".. I understand these basics, but I have no experience growing edible plants. My entire garden experience is doing a bit of landscaping on my driveway. Just some flowers. They grew, they come back every year. I never watered them or did anything to them, just put them in the ground from the nursery and forgot about them. I weed it, that is it.

I'm hoping that between this forum and my local nursery's I can figure out how to make this orchard into a food forest.

Luckily I live in Pennsylvania and have great soil. Anything that you put down just grows even if you never water it.  I have more problems with overgrowth than I do with things not growing. I hope this gives me a beginner's edge.

Right now I am considering ordering the permaculture course from midwest permaculture and getting some books off amazon like Gaia's Garden

I just got "backyard food production" in the mail a few days ago so hopefully this sheds some light on things. I haven't watched it yet.

Project Update:

Started getting some plans together for the homestead. Right now I am just window shopping online on sites like gurney's looking at bushes and vines to buy. I plan to go to the local nursery and talk to them and hopefully give them my business. Even with strawberries there are like 100 different kinds with all sorts of claims as to what they can do and how big and awesome they are. Too many choices!



a - planned location of annual vegetable garden. Plan to do square foot gardening with raised beds                   
b - secondary well. Plan is to install a hand pump and run soaker hose to raised beds. Possibly greywater from rain water catch system too
c - chestnut trees, pear trees, more apple trees
d- walnut trees, more apple trees
e - concrete planters from the previous owner. Currently empty. Plan to put salad garden and herbs here.
f  - property line
g - possible area for chicken coup. I figured chickens could do a lot of good inside the orchard with pests, etc... plus this is outside of my fenceline and thus they won't become husky food 

This first year I don't want to overwhelm myself so I will focus on the square foot garden, planting only a few bushes and vines and possibly some beans in the orchard. I realize this is more than a hobby, it is important, but I still have a life outside of food production.

Offline ladieu

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Re: 40+ apple and fruit trees. What the heck can I do with these?
« Reply #43 on: February 10, 2010, 08:42:57 AM »

Offline “Mark”

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Re: 40+ apple and fruit trees. What the heck can I do with these?
« Reply #44 on: February 10, 2010, 03:12:19 PM »
Thanks so much for the encouragement. At the moment I am trying to figure out what to plant in the orchard. I'm thinking legumes, vines, bushes.. also I want to grow berries and grapes on the fenceline. My big problem at the moment is I don't understand really what Jack is talking about when he talks about noticing the flow of the land, etc.

At an overall concept level I understand permaculture, however I am getting lost in the details.

There is bound to be a certified permaculturalist in your area.


You may also find this to be of interest: http://isohunt.com/release/127902/permaculture

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Re: 40+ apple and fruit trees. What the heck can I do with these?
« Reply #45 on: February 11, 2010, 10:29:03 AM »
There is bound to be a certified permaculturalist in your area.


You may also find this to be of interest: http://isohunt.com/release/127902/permaculture

Actually, there is a permaculture program very near you Ladieu
http://www.sru.edu/pages/6735.asp

However, be careful..Their people may range from excellent to pachuli reeking idiots at various times.

Offline Whatatata

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Re: 40+ apple and fruit trees. What the heck can I do with these?
« Reply #46 on: February 11, 2010, 10:53:33 AM »
I wonder what the chances are to get these "students" to come to your house and set up a permaculture landscape for you, for practice?  Sell it to them as a, "learning experience."

Offline ladieu

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Re: 40+ apple and fruit trees. What the heck can I do with these?
« Reply #47 on: February 11, 2010, 12:01:44 PM »
Your on to something Whatatata

Offline ladieu

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Re: 40+ apple and fruit trees. What the heck can I do with these?
« Reply #48 on: February 11, 2010, 02:44:31 PM »
However, be careful..Their people may range from excellent to pachuli reeking idiots at various times.
Ok i have learned a new derogatory term for hippies today :D

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=patchouli

Offline mash

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Re: 40+ apple and fruit trees. What the heck can I do with these?
« Reply #49 on: February 11, 2010, 09:42:11 PM »
be careful..Their people may range from excellent to pachuli reeking idiots at various times.

I think it's supposed to cover up the scent of other "herbal" things.  ;)

Offline Jon M

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Re: 40+ apple and fruit trees. What the heck can I do with these?
« Reply #50 on: February 12, 2010, 07:51:58 AM »
It's great to see your orchard being revived.

So much great advice from everyone here on the TSP forum.

Crispy Critter mentioned walking around and tagging the branches that you want to prune using pieces of tape. That seems like it would make it easier when you have a bunch of people helping you make the actual cuts. Is that the strategy you used with Doug and Ben?

Call me up next time you do pruning and I'll bring my chainsaw!

Offline ladieu

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Re: 40+ apple and fruit trees. What the heck can I do with these?
« Reply #51 on: February 12, 2010, 08:24:58 AM »
Jon, that is the next step. This first phase was to clear it out enough where you could walk through without getting torn to bits by thorns and branches :D

Offline zackandjen2004

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Re: 40+ apple and fruit trees. What the heck can I do with these?
« Reply #52 on: February 12, 2010, 03:01:11 PM »
Have you ever considered getting a pig to fatten on all that fruit?  In The Self Sufficient Life and How to Live It, John Seymour mentions running pigs in the orchard.  The Gloucestershire Old Spot was managed this way (http://www.animalcorner.co.uk/farm/pigs/pig_breeds.html#gosp)   BTW...Pigs LOVE chestnuts.  I had a couple of massive chestnut trees at my previous home.  A neighbor had some hogs.  I picked up all the chestnuts (without the spiny hulls) and hauled them over to the piggies. They loved them!  Chestnuts are high-starch, like acorns.  I tried to process them for food myself, but found that it wasn't worth it. 

By the way, stay on top of the chestnut hull pick up if you EVER want to walk around your yard in safety!  Those spines don't decompose easily.  They're very tough to burn, too...near impossible if they get wet.  Bees love chestnut blooms, and the pollen has a nice scent.  You'll enjoy these trees. 

Offline ladieu

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Re: 40+ apple and fruit trees. What the heck can I do with these?
« Reply #53 on: February 12, 2010, 03:22:08 PM »
@zackandjen2004

I was thinking a goat would also appreciate eating apples...  my problem right now is my husky will definitely kill a goat, he already took out a goat sized baby deer.  With the chickens I can keep them separate and it isn't a problem, but I think the goat will need to be fenced in.

-Nick

Offline ebonearth

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Re: 40+ apple and fruit trees. What the heck can I do with these?
« Reply #54 on: February 13, 2010, 09:13:11 AM »
Have you ever considered getting a pig to fatten on all that fruit?  In The Self Sufficient Life and How to Live It, John Seymour mentions running pigs in the orchard.  The Gloucestershire Old Spot was managed this way (http://www.animalcorner.co.uk/farm/pigs/pig_breeds.html#gosp)
As a Gloucestershire Old Spot owner I approve of this message.

Offline texican

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Re: 40+ apple and fruit trees. What the heck can I do with these?
« Reply #55 on: February 13, 2010, 11:39:06 AM »
If you don't know what your doing, I'd not recommend pruning anything... wait until summertime and see if each tree gets plenty of sunshine.  The commercial orchards I've seen have a pretty good planting density.  The trees that appear small and spindly might just be replacement trees.  In my orchard I have big trees and tiny trees... some might think the small ones are sickly... No, they're just babies, one or two years old, compared to the 20 year old ones.

I wonder what the problem is, wondering what to do with all that fruit??? Isn't that what people move to the country for?  Very first thing I did when I got land was to put in an orchard... knowing it'd take several years to get any fruit production at all.

BTW, I've not pruned any of my trees, except for limbs that were ridden down to the ground by deer.

Offline ladieu

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Re: 40+ apple and fruit trees. What the heck can I do with these?
« Reply #56 on: February 13, 2010, 12:41:57 PM »
Thanks for all the advice. I take all the advice I have gotten very seriously.  When I moved in my plan was to cut down all the trees and grind the stumps to the ground.  I had no notion of food production in my life.  Now that I am turning around to a new way of thinking having a semi-large orchard under my control is intimidating.  Especially since I am a city boy with no practical experience doing anything that would be considered useful post shtf.   So I didn't move to the country with any notion of homesteading. In fact I live 2 miles from major interstates and big box stores, developments, all of that crap.   

So it isn't a problem, but a challenge.  Also I would say all of the trees are a
minimum 15 years old based on when the former owner died and when I got the place.  Unless they are volunteers.  Realistically they are all 20+ but seem to still be good producers

Offline cohutt

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Re: 40+ apple and fruit trees. What the heck can I do with these?
« Reply #57 on: February 14, 2010, 04:16:14 AM »
interesting project. 
keep the updates coming!

Offline “Mark”

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Re: 40+ apple and fruit trees. What the heck can I do with these?
« Reply #58 on: February 14, 2010, 08:46:45 PM »
Thanks for all the advice. I take all the advice I have gotten very seriously.  When I moved in my plan was to cut down all the trees and grind the stumps to the ground.  I had no notion of food production in my life.  Now that I am turning around to a new way of thinking having a semi-large orchard under my control is intimidating.  Especially since I am a city boy with no practical experience doing anything that would be considered useful post shtf.   So I didn't move to the country with any notion of homesteading. In fact I live 2 miles from major interstates and big box stores, developments, all of that crap.   

So it isn't a problem, but a challenge.  Also I would say all of the trees are a
minimum 15 years old based on when the former owner died and when I got the place.  Unless they are volunteers.  Realistically they are all 20+ but seem to still be good producers

Maybe you can partner with someone for a year or two? In exchange for their guidance, give them half the crop or whatever you work out.

Offline ladieu

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Re: 40+ apple and fruit trees. What the heck can I do with these?
« Reply #59 on: April 06, 2010, 08:54:01 PM »
Ok people, I've been absent on this thread for awhile. I'll probably start a new thread since the original intent of this thread was about asking a question.

So here is a basic question... book to follow (as I learned from Jack :D)

I had a 35+ year orchard veteran out to my house to impart some knowledge.  Now I suppose he is "old school" but he is telling me to use Calcium Nitrate on all of my trees.  He is coming back this summer to check up on me and I don't want to let him down!

What can I do organically with these trees? Is it just a matter of buying the organic fertilizer... or is there a more sustainable method for fertilizing these guys? Or should I just use the calcium nitrate as he suggests?

I need to take some more pictures but here is an update on how the project is going. I'll make a better and more detailed post with everything in it I have learned about rehabbing old fruit trees and post the link back to this thread. If I fail you guys will see me fail, If I succeed then hopefully something can be learned from this. It is so overwhelming!

  • With the orchard guys guidance we really gave these trees a good pruning. They are looking awesome.  Pictures to come
  • I was pleasantly surprised to learn I had 8 pear trees after I counted them up
  • I purchased a battery operated backpack sprayer... review to come and will be spraying oil on my trees. Neem oil
  • I'm buying some sort of Stihl chainsaw this coming week. I haven't decided whether to buy used or just bight the bullet and get a new one. Also I haven't decided what level of saw I really need.  Too many options!
  • The orchard guy said to spray the bottoms of the trees with a water/dish soap combo and it would repel bugs.
  • I am considering overseeding the grass in the orchard with white clover which is a nitrogen fixing legume
  • Got started on my cider press build. I'm making 2 as my uncle wanted a press too for his fruit trees
  • I still have no idea what variety of apples I have. The orchard guy is coming back this summer to identify them for me
  • I'm going to be getting some sort of license that allows me to buy products at a discounted rate
  • Pruned up an old peach tree, it looks to be in pretty bad shape, but we will see
  • Plan to put in a few nectarine trees and a few almond trees into the orchard this year. I have ordered them online and am waiting for them to come in.
  • The squirrels will be pissed but I plan to take at least SOME of my walnuts this year. LOL.. They filled up my old pickup truck's cab to near overflowing this past winter!


« Last Edit: April 06, 2010, 08:57:03 PM by ladieu »