Help with an apple orchard

tennappleMarch 10, 2013

I have recently purchased a 17 acre Apple Orchard. Originally I bought the property to use for my existing business as an Arborist. Since purchasing the property, I have become very interested getting the orchard back into shape and I am seeking some advice; possibly even paying for some "hands on" advice from someone who is in my general area but far enough away to not see me as competition (if that mentality exists).
Here are some facts:

There are appr. 1500 trees of varying varieties. All are in rows and marked/ separated by variety.

The orchard was ran as a pick your own orchard for appr 10 yrs but has been left, nearly unattended for 5-7 yrs.

There are two barns on property, one with a temp controlled storage room (appr 1500 sqft) and a row of refrigerators.

Every tree that i have checked is alive but there is a lot of undergrowth to manage which is my first priority.

I am a practicing Arborist so I have a working knowledge of tree biology and pruning but I also know that fruit tree pruning is VERY specific, even to species, so I am not pruning until I learn more.

Thanks in advance for sharing your knowledge and experience with me.

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alan haigh

Pruning is not only specific to species in fruitland but, for apples, it varies from variety to variety. However, by observing how trees flower and fruit you will be able to sort things out, as much from experience as from research.

Right now you can follow your training in eliminating touching wood and uprights. Where you go also depends on original shape of trees, but a neglected apple tree previously cropped invariably sends up water sprouts that become umbrellas over what had been the productive wood. The umbrellas must be removed.

Determine your permanent scaffolds and determine their territory- that is how you decide which secondary and tertiery branches to remove to prevent crowding.

Fruit trees are kept "unnaturally" open so tree gets adequate sun throughout the tree to produce good fruit.

A good part of my living is returning old neglected apple trees into production and beautiful shape. E-mail me and I can send you a couple of articles I've written that may help you sort things out.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2013 at 6:39AM
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