My new orchard is planted!

jagchaser(5A NE, -15-115f may frost)April 13, 2014

Pretty sore today, but I got it done. Just in time too, as it is raining now with snow/sleet to come later today.
62 apples 9 varieties
126 cherries 5 varieties
8 plums 3 different varieties
20 peach 2 different varieties.
2 apricots

Orders were split between starks and adams county nursery.
Starks were ok, roots were not pruned and had sufficient mass. Prices were $9-13 depending on size and royalties. Shipping was just under $1 per tree.
Adams Co Nursery stock was excellent! I was very impressed. I ordered 3/8 caliper on the 100 Montmorency cherry. The root mass on those was more than any of the stock from starks and they were all 5/8+. Adams even sent a few extra trees! $6.07 per tree for the 3/8.
Shipping was a about $1.25 per tree. I was expecting a lot less tree than I got for that price.

It could have been the type of rootstock that gave them more mass. Its the first time I have seen mahaleb ct500.

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jagchaser(5A NE, -15-115f may frost)

Another picture

    Bookmark   April 13, 2014 at 11:32AM
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jagchaser(5A NE, -15-115f may frost)

Last one

    Bookmark   April 13, 2014 at 11:35AM
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Is the entire orchard fenced?

    Bookmark   April 13, 2014 at 11:46AM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

Thanks for the pictures! Rather stark looking country but I'm sure it's good grass land. Around here it's like that in places but mostly there is scrubby bush.

What is your spacing? How will you irrigate and what is ave annual rainfall? How cold are you expecting this week?

Most places on the high plains could identify with the saying "only thing between here and the north pole is a fence".

    Bookmark   April 13, 2014 at 12:29PM
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Tony(Zone 5. Omaha, Nebraska)


Are you doing a U-pick operation? That is a lot of trees.


    Bookmark   April 13, 2014 at 12:50PM
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jagchaser(5A NE, -15-115f may frost)

3 sides of the orchard are fenced. The 4th side is the west side of the farmyard and deer wont go thru the dogs.

Fruitnut, when it rains it is good grass, mostly buffalo grass that can withstand our extremes. I like it out here where it is flat. I start to feel claustrophobic if I cant see 20 miles in some direction! lol

Ive got 18ft between rows. 12 ft between apples, plums and peaches. Apples are mostly B118 with a handful of m7 and m111. Cherries are on Mahaleb or Mahaleb ct500 and they are 15ft apart. I have no protection against the wind up here on the hill and our wind gets real bad here. I wanted to try tighter spacing and more dwarfing rootstocks, but had to opt for the stronger roots, with more drought resistantance.

I have a drip system trenched in already. Its just deep enough to not mow over it. 3/4 mainline down thru the middle of the orchard with 1/2 tube going down each row. 1 gph woodpeckers on all the trees, and 1/2 gph on the one line of grapes I put in. Our average rainfall is around 25" I think, but last year we were well under 10". At least I shouldn't have to worry about too much cracking or fungal problems! lol

My weather shows us getting down to 25 Tuesday morning. The few fruit trees I have here in the yard really aren't doing much yet. I have a few peach at red calix, but there are so few blooms after our winter that It wont matter much. I had a few apricots bloom on my only tsiran black apricot. They are at first bloom now. A few sweet cherries at tight cluster, and the established tart cherries are just starting bud swell.

Oh ya, snowing big flakes now....

    Bookmark   April 13, 2014 at 1:09PM
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jagchaser(5A NE, -15-115f may frost)


I toyed with the idea, but honestly I don't like people that much! That's not including how little I like the gov, sales tax, permits, who knows what else, ect ect.

I am a long ways from any population. Its 2 hours to Kearney, North Platte, or Hays from here. My plan was to have enough to make a bunch of cherry wine, even if half of the trees don't make it, and even if the birds get half of the cherries.

Harlan county, just east of here, just planted 600 tart cherries on public land. They did it for the sole purpose of letting anyone and everyone pick all the cherries they want for free. I personally don't see it working too well for them. They don't have any deer protection for their trees and I don't think they have dedicated water for them. They just hired someone to water and take care of them for the summer.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2014 at 1:20PM
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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

Looking good,..have fun!

    Bookmark   April 13, 2014 at 1:44PM
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Jag, a great undertaking. Obviously you have help. I was thinking about when it is time to prune. You will have plenty of fruit, for you and the birds. Wow! Mrs. G PS. haven't seen land that flat in a long time, fantastic.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2014 at 2:16PM
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olpea(zone 6 KS)

What a great layout Jag.

How tall is that deer fence?

I see you are like me with regard to weed/grass control before planting. Too many times I plant trees without getting rid of the grass first. It's good to know I'm not alone :-)

I love that flat land. Hardly anything more beautiful than to look for miles and miles and see nothing but pasture, or farm ground with an occasional farm house here and there.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2014 at 7:04PM
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Wow, you could drive a fleet of tractors through there! And you could start a new marketing campaign, "Wide Open Spaces Orchard Culture". :O

Personally, I wouldn't know what to do If there weren't mountains and/or ocean on the horizon. Got to ask, is wind an issue in such an environment? Be that as it may, you have a lot of fruit in your future. Thanks for sharing!

    Bookmark   April 13, 2014 at 7:20PM
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Suzi AKA DesertDance

What are your plans with all that fruit?


    Bookmark   April 13, 2014 at 8:02PM
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Ive always wondered how well young trees do exposed like that?

    Bookmark   April 13, 2014 at 9:54PM
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Tony(Zone 5. Omaha, Nebraska)


I spent a week in Holdrege, NE last month for a business trip. The lands there were so flat as far as the eye can see. One draw back is that the air was pretty ripe from all the feed lots, but they told me it was the smell of money. LOL.


    Bookmark   April 13, 2014 at 10:15PM
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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

In my orchard I put 2 windbreak in, west and east with spruce, two rows..from seeds!

    Bookmark   April 13, 2014 at 11:43PM
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jagchaser(5A NE, -15-115f may frost)

I am a hour sw of Holdrege. No feedlots near here, but I know what you mean. I would rather have some cherry blooms and call that the smell of money! ;) of course my other real business is rentals and the "smell of money" sometimes in those is just as bad!
Fence is 7ft. 8 wire high tensile electric. Its not actually as high as they recommend, but with the dogs I should be ok.
Out here you just cant till up a field and leave it bare forever, it will all blow away eventually. I decided to just leave the native buffalo grass there so I didn't have to seed all of rest of the space later. I will kill the grass right around the tree until it gets established. The one thing that might have helped would have been ripping it with a subtiller. Didn't do it so I guess I will just see what happens.

Wind is a huge issue out here. That is why they are spaced so far apart. I just couldn't find any dwarfing rootstocks that would be strong enough in this wind. I had to use semi dwarfing rootstocks that need all that extra space. I will stake all the trees with one stake on the south side this first summer. I may do more stakes also, Im not sure yet. I don't want to overdo it with stakes and have the trees weak years down the road. Probably once a month we have a big day of 45-55mph wind. Its not uncommon to see 60+ gusts. If the roots aren't developed enough 10 stakes wont be enough to keep a mature tree from blowing over in this wind.

My extension agent is sure that commercial tart cherry production would work out here. It just wont work with the new high density stuff. We cant put up huge tall trellises or have rows and rows of weak trees. What we do have is plenty of relatively cheap land and water. Tart cherries do fine out here since they bloom so late and we don't get enough rain during harvest to cause problems. In fact its so dry out here we may not have issues with disease to the same extent that other regions might. It is definitely a foreign idea to the farmers out here, but it if does work it could be interesting.

April 14th. 28F this morning. Snow on the ground again. Probably 6 inches yesterday, but most melted as it snowed.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2014 at 9:23AM
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