Planting an Orchard

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Joe in MO, Apr 25, 2005.

  1. Joe in MO

    Joe in MO Active Member

    Jan 30, 2003
    I promised my daughter I would plant her an apple tree this Spring. I found out that in our area we can plant not only apples, but pear, peach and plum trees. This really got me excited b/c I really would like to plant an orchard.
    I just found out that it takes two apples trees so they can pollenate. I think it's the same with the pears also.
    Anyway, does any one know if it really matter if a pear tree is planted next to...say a plum tree? I u/s that there must be room for growth, but would it affect the tree from producing.
    Thanks again for all the help.
  2. mtman

    mtman Well-Known Member

    Sep 2, 2004
    if you plant 2 of each i dont see how it would however plant the dwarf trees you will get fruit sooner regular tree can take 5 years to produce


  3. southerngurl

    southerngurl le person Supporter

    May 11, 2003
    No, they would be fine.

    I would recommend Vernon Barnes and Son nursery. They have good plants and great prices. They have no website, but their info is here: .

    I ordered 11 trees (some were for a friend, I planted 7). My grandma ordered 8 trees from them. All have lived except for one that got ran over, and they all are doing great.

    Do lots of reading, and start small. I keep mine well mulched.
  4. southerngurl

    southerngurl le person Supporter

    May 11, 2003
    Yes, the dwarfs produce sooner. They are kind of notorious for getting bigger than they say, they need staking, and you will probably have to prune to keep them the size they are supposed to be.

    You should do lots of internet reading about pruning, so you know what to do when you get your trees.

    Handy chart:

    ~~~~~~Yrs After Plntng To 1st Fruit ~~~~~~~~~~ Spacing

    ~~~~~~~Standard ~~~ Dwarf ~~~~~~~~~ Standard ~~~~ Dwarf

    Apple ~~~~ 6-8 ~~~~~~~ 2-4 ~~~~~~~~~~ 40' x 40'~~~ 8' x 10'
    Pear ~~~~~5-7 ~~~~~~~ 2 ~~~~~~~~~~~ 20' x 20' ~ 10' x 10'
    Sweet Cherry 6-7~~~~~~~ 4-5 ~~~~~~~~~~ 25' x 25' ~ 12' x 12'
    Sour Cherry ~~4 ~~~~~~~ 3 ~~~~~~~~~~~~ 20' x 20' ~ 12' x 12'
    Plum (Japanese) 4-5 ~~~~~~ 3 ~~~~~~~~~~~ 20' x 20' ~ 12' x 12'
    Plum (European) 4-5 ~~~~~~ 4 ~~~~~~~~~~~ 20' x 20' ~ 12' x 12'
    Quince ~~~~5-6 ~~~~~~~ 4 ~~~~~~~~~~~ 15' x 15' ~~ 10' x 10'
    Nectarine ~~ 3 `~~~~~~~ 2 ~~~~~~~~~~~~ 20' x 20' ~~ 12' x 12'
    Apricot ~~~~3 ~~~~~~~~~ 3 ~~~~~~~~~~ 20' x 20' ~~ 12' x 12'
    Peach ~~~~ 3 ~~~~~~~~~ 2 ~~~~~~~~~~~ 20' x 20' ~~ 12' x 12'
  5. Lisa A

    Lisa A Well-Known Member

    Apr 1, 2003
    Most but not all specific apples will pollinate each other; same with pears.
    Some plums require another plum, other varieties don't (plums are the most
    complicated). I've heard that as long as the two trees are within 50 feet of
    each other they will pollinate (as long as you have some kind of bees around
    to do the real work).

    I second the recommendation for dwarf or semi dwarf, much easier to manage,
    and you can have more trees since they can be planted closer...
  6. Little Quacker in OR

    Little Quacker in OR Well-Known Member

    May 9, 2002
    :) Your best bet is to check with your County Extension Service..they will know what varieties will do best in your area and which are less prone to insect and disease damage. Also which do need pollinators.

    There is an art to managing fruit and nut trees. You will need to know when to spray and what with, as well as what for. If you mess up the timing, you not only won't help the trees with the enemies that attack them, you will kill off the very insects needed to accomplish the pollinating.

    Most Extension Services these days have web sites and you can sometimes access their handy pamphlets online.They have dozens of them all geared to not only helping you pick the fruit tree varieties but to help you with pruning and other care also.

    Have fun! LQ
  7. Mike in Ohio

    Mike in Ohio Well-Known Member

    Oct 29, 2002

    Some varieties of fruit trees can be self pollinating. Planting different types of fruit trees next to each other has never caused us any problems. We have about 20 assorted fruit trees and are planting more.

    We plant a mix of dwarf, semi and standard for a couple of reasons:

    1) We have room to plant lots of trees so we buy them on sale from places like Stark Bros.

    2) We have an old abandoned apple orchard next to our place (in the Cleveland Metroparks). The deer don't do any damage to those mature (standard) apple trees. They do try to go after our dwarf and semi dwarf trees.

    3) There are areas where it makes sense to plant dwarfs (close to the house, etc) where they are also ornamental as well as edible.

    4) We want a lot of variety in the varieties so that we can stretch out the season. So we have peaches that ripen in early August as well as ones that ripen in mid to late august. We even have some that are on the trees in early September.

    One last point. If you have rabbits in your area then you want to have trunk guards to protect your trees. I lost 2 dozen young fruit trees to rabbits this winter.