Peach tree spacing question
In another post, Hman mentioned peach tree spacing which is something I've been struggling with, so I thought I'd post my question.
Here's the deal. Regulars on the forum know I've a special interest in peaches and am in the process of expanding to a large planting (at least large to me). I've been wrestling over the peach spacing for months and still can't decide for sure.
Over the years, I've visited lots of peach orchards and asked fruit specialists about the correct spacing for peaches. The problem is that almost all commercial orchards in the Midwest are irrigated and I plan to run a dry orchard, so the advice really doesn't apply since dry orchard trees need more space due to water competition. Other recommendations are more vague and simply state optimum spacing will differ based upon soil type, rainfall, etc.
My quandary is that I want the peaches as close together as possible without causing the trees to suffer during dry spells, or spend a lot of time pruning to keep the trees from growing into one another.
I know there may not be any on this forum with experience in commercial peach production, but a lot of you have considerable general fruit tree experience and good intuitive knowledge in this area. I would appreciate your thoughts.
I've already got my terraces built and spaced them 25' apart. That means my row spacing is already set at 25'. I know that's a little wider than most recommendations but I wanted plenty of room to drive equipment between rows.
What I can't decide on is the spacing within the rows. I've run across one recommendation from Oklahoma which recommends 18' spacing in the rows for a dry orchard. We get a little more rain here than OK so I was thinking 17' spacing for my new trees. I have plenty of terraces built, so I can put more space between trees, I just don't want to be wasteful and use more land than necessary for the planting.
The peach trees in my backyard orchard are spaced 20' and a few of them touch each other during the growing season but not many.
Once I place the trees in the ground (for better or worse) I'm stuck with the spacing and there's no changing it.