Seeking helpful hints

rina_September 17, 2012

I am new on this forum.

Just acquired a property large enough to plant few fruit trees.

Would anyone be willing to share their experience with starting a mini-orchard?

I know this has to be carefully planned.

From personal experience - what to avoid (beside being very inpatient, lol)?

What would you do differently if starting over?

Thank you ahead,


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I would give a lot of consideration to rootstock selection. What kind of tree do you want 20' or 8'? Do you want to have to provide tree support? Do you want to have to prune a lot? Can you provide water? (depending on your annual rainfall). Vigor,precocity, hardiness, soil type, anchorage, disease resistance should all be taken into consideration. I have found that the perfect rootstock does not exist. There are trade offs in one characteristic or another. This is why I asked that you consider what you want out of your trees.

Enjoy the journey the planning and learning are part of the fun.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2012 at 5:39PM
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Thank you.
I am going to have whole winter to read-read-read and plan. That is a good thing, since I don't have any experience with growing trees.
The property is flat, no trees at all, so there is good opportunity there.
I would like to plant some nut trees too. (I know about black walnut/juglone toxicity.)

Is there any trees that should not grow close in order to avoid spread of some diseases? (I know about cedar-apple rust for example).


    Bookmark   September 17, 2012 at 6:51PM
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Driving around the neighborhood and seeing who has nice fruit and what varieties they've selected, can give you ideas of what has worked well, of things you like.
You may want to start looking at the soil now, so if changes are needed the ground will have the winter to mellow, if you make major ammendment changes.
When you decide on plants, ask the nurseryman(person)about any possible disease problems.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2012 at 7:45PM
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If you're thinking about growing nut trees, check out the level of the squirrel population.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2012 at 8:22PM
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Rina, Aside from cedar apple rust, which if you have them around i understand with in 2 miles it is a problem. Either spray for it or go with resistant varieties. The only things I have read about is some varieties susceptible to a tomatoe virus and one mention of a virus from cane fruits. this is apples. I posed the ? here and got no response so I assume that neither are a big issue.

I am pretty much a beginner, there are truly knowledgable people here who know a lot. I started back through the old posts when I first found this and found it worthwhile

    Bookmark   September 17, 2012 at 8:30PM
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One thing I notice is that a lot of people plant a lot more trees than they need to. In an effort to have lots of varieties and all the correct pollinator combinations, and to have all kinds of fruit in long seasons, they might plant enough trees to provide -quite literally- tons of fruit every year in just a few years.

Even one semi-dwarf apple can give you bushels of fruit. Pears, peaches, apricots, plums, cherries ... they can all come through for you nicely, but they won't help you use it.

Why, in no time at all you'll be packing produce to the food bank and hiring help to put up all the preserves you need to make to use it all.

So maybe start a little small- choose a favorite apple, a favorite apricot or peach and maybe a cherry and/or plum, and get those going. Learn about the pests/diseases in your neighborhood and figure out how you're going to deal with them.

Are you doing berries and such too? That has always tempted me, but I just don't have much space. I would like to talk SO into a grapevine, though.

I don't have room for many trees so I try to get varieties by having multi-grafted trees. That is, my one apple tree has over a dozen varieties, and my pear about ten. But that's a whole 'nother thing, and you don't have to rush into it. A lot of fun, though.

Good luck,


    Bookmark   September 17, 2012 at 9:09PM
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Thanks everyone for suggestions, remarks.
I have way too much to learn.

I do have enough room, but am realistic enough to go slowly at it.
Thinking about starting with apple (just enough trees to get pollinated) and maybe a cherry.
I have some raspberries and also a red currant in present (small) garden, and hope to grow some of these. Blueberries definitely.(Those I have to - my son got bitten by gardening bug & grew few seedlings from seeds - I have no idea if this is the way to grow blueberries, but will plant the survivors and see, lol. They are very small, so probably keep them in pots for now?)

But as couple of you suggested, driving around & observing what others in the area are growing is great idea - also good way to meet new neighbours?!


    Bookmark   September 18, 2012 at 12:26AM
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Do be aware that any appropriate tree within a few blocks will provide pollen for your trees. And ornamental crab apple trees are good pollenators too for your culinary apples. While chatting with your new neighbors you can find out what they have.

There are plums, apples, apricots and cherries all over in my area, an older part of town.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2012 at 6:46AM
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Blueberries from seed is an amazing feat to me. I always wanted to do things like that to see what new genetic mixes came up.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2012 at 7:05AM
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That is a good tip, thank you - will save some space & $$$ & work.


He grew them from a blueberry 'too soft to eat'; so we don't know what it is, not even where the fruit came from (he didn't think of keeping container or record growers name).
He had 10 sprouts, but only 5 look like they will survive.
He kept blueberry in the fridge for few months, then planted all seeds & here they are (grew them in apartment, under a shop light!):


    Bookmark   September 18, 2012 at 11:22AM
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