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  1. #1
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    Default New orchard advice needed

    for years I have been pondering putting in a small orchard of about a dozen dwarf fruit trees behind our church/Meeting,
    and fairly close to the nursery school we have on premises. Grew up with an orchard and a grape arbor on our farm, so I'm familiar
    with orchards, a little, and have pruned a lot of fruit trees. So far, considering the normal types local to here, apple, pear, peach, cherry

    A few questions please:
    • pros and cons of dwarf fruit trees; e.g. is it better to just prune a full size tree more severely?
    • cross pollination vs direction of prevailing wind: an issue or just rely on the bees?
    • suggestions for ways to reduce small child bee stings
    • how long until the tree gets too old and production drops?


    I am going to make a proposal to the Meeting to install and maintain this orchard, now that I have a phd/tree auger to make this possible. Assume trees in the six to eight foot range. Appreciate all suggestions on starting a fruit tree orchard. Thanks. Drew
    2012 Kubota L5740HSTC3 with FEL and Long grapple, 1986 Case IH 255, Land Pride PD10 PHD, Land Pride RCR60 & RCF2084 mowers, Land Pride 4' box blade and rear rake, Fred Cain subsoiler, County Line potato plow, County Line 1 bottom plow, 1986 Gravely 8199G with tow behind DR rototiller, 50" deck+40" Gravely wing mower, Gravely snowblower, Swisher 44 rough cut mower,Ariens snowblower, Echo 450-18 & 600-24, Echo PPT280, 2006 JD LX280, , 1968 Cub Cadet 125, Husky-Speeco 35 ton splitter

  2. #2
    Silver Member paulemar's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by daugen View Post
    for years I have been pondering putting in a small orchard of about a dozen dwarf fruit trees behind our church/Meeting,
    and fairly close to the nursery school we have on premises. Grew up with an orchard and a grape arbor on our farm, so I'm familiar
    with orchards, a little, and have pruned a lot of fruit trees. So far, considering the normal types local to here, apple, pear, peach, cherry

    A few questions please:
    [*]pros and cons of dwarf fruit trees; e.g. is it better to just prune a full size tree more severely?[*]cross pollination vs direction of prevailing wind: an issue or just rely on the bees?[*]suggestions for ways to reduce small child bee stings[*]how long until the tree gets too old and production drops?[*]


    I am going to make a proposal to the Meeting to install and maintain this orchard, now that I have a phd/tree auger to make this possible. Assume trees in the six to eight foot range. Appreciate all suggestions on starting a fruit tree orchard. Thanks. Drew
    1 Dwarf trees--- you can't keep a full sized tree productive and small by pruning. They also are harder to spray and take longer to produce fruit. Some fruit trees are naturally smaller, standard peach trees, for instance, are normally much smaller than a standard apple tree which can be 30 + ft. There will also be variation in size between different types of dwarf trees, so don't expect all to be the the same height and width. Stick with dwarf trees, protect them from animals after planting.

    2 Fruit trees are either self-pollinating or cross pollinated by insects. I would think wind would be a very small factor for cross pollination. Apple pollination is a little different as there are several different types of pollen, some of which are not effective as a source pollen for a particular tree.

    3 Keep children away from blooming trees if you are concerned, but it is probably a non issue.

    4 They should produce for 50 years or more if maintained properly. If they are neglected, they could die quickly due to weather, insects, disease or mower damage. Choose what you plant wisely, do your research. Spraying is expensive! Choose disease resistant varieties or trees that don't have severe pest problems or your efforts may be fruitless, so to speak.

    I have 14 assorted dwarf and semi-dwarf fruit trees and if I don't spray as I should, I get virtually no apples, stinkbug damaged peaches, some pears, stinkbug damaged asian pears, pretty good tart cherries, and no plums. So, either I spray or get mostly nothing.
    BX25, "60" MMM, 3 point hitch, Brinly 12" cat 0 1 bottom plow, TSC Countyline carry all, Kubota ballast box, 4X4 Loyal drag harrow, BXpanded Piranha tooth bar, Bro-Tek rear skid plate, Bro-Tek wheel spacers, Bro-Tek backhoe ripper tooth. Kubota BX2763A front plow, Phoenix T4 48" rototiller, Harbor Freight Quick Hitch, BXpanded Quick-on Work light Kit.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: New orchard advice needed

    Paul, thank you. We sprayed like crazy when I was a kid, and had lots of fruit.
    Later on, sprayed much less, apples were a mess and we often got some kind of leaf disease on the
    others, including apples. But the fruit seemed ok, and yes, if you can beat the bees to them, the cherries are always fine.
    Now I worry about all that spray that used to drench me when the wind shifted and I'd come in soaked in oil spray, or whatever
    was being used. And I always remember the two pound box of DDT that sat on the steps going down to my grandfather's cellar.
    After he passed on, we were happy to get rid of it, though it wasn't easy to find a place to take it.

    If I get cancer someday, I'll be thinking of all that Malathion and whatever else got over me in the fifties.

    this proposed orchard, btw, has to be fully organic. Sigh. Not easy to do. I've been reading a lot of labels and
    just about everything has something that worries me. Any Rodale gurus out there that can recommend something that can
    be purchased to spray on fruit trees? No home concoctions; we need something vetted that says organic on it.
    And then one label said it used natural pyrethins. Well crude oil is natural and I sure wouldn't want to swallow it or have it around me,
    so all natural seems to be meaningless. When one searches organic fruit spray a whole lot of nonorganic stuff comes up.
    Just like in the supermarket, really have to read the label.

    And does the organic stuff work without being a slave to your orchard?
    thanks

  4. #4
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    Default Re: New orchard advice needed

    should there always be two or three of each variety, for pollination purposes?
    For a dozen trees, i'm thinking four of each type; i.e. apple, cherry, etc

    Was also wondering if small orchard production was more difficult now due
    to a significant reduction in our bee population.

  5. #5
    Silver Member paulemar's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by daugen View Post
    should there always be two or three of each variety, for pollination purposes?
    For a dozen trees, i'm thinking four of each type; i.e. apple, cherry, etc

    Was also wondering if small orchard production was more difficult now due
    to a significant reduction in our bee population.
    Well, most apples need a different pollinator. Golden delicious is self pollinating and is a good pollinator for many other apple trees. Sweet cherries need a different sweet cherry except for Lapins types which are self pollinating. (Starkrimson or Stella) Tart cherries are self pollinating, pears need a different pollinator, Japanese plums (red plums) mostly need a different pollinator. Prune plums (Stanley, Damson) self pollinate. Peaches self pollinate except for one that I can't recall the name of. (Hale?)
    Below is a web site of one of the premier fruit tree growers in the country. They suggest pollinators for any variety needing one in it's description and mention if the tree is self pollinating. Many of my local nurseries carry these trees in pots, but I've almost always ordered directly because of wanting specific varieties. Mail order trees are smaller than the ones in the nurseries, but seem to catch up in a couple or 3 years.

    http://www.starkbros.com/

    I've noticed the decline in bees, but not in pollination success. There are lots of small native bees around here that are taking up the slack if the weather is decent.
    BX25, "60" MMM, 3 point hitch, Brinly 12" cat 0 1 bottom plow, TSC Countyline carry all, Kubota ballast box, 4X4 Loyal drag harrow, BXpanded Piranha tooth bar, Bro-Tek rear skid plate, Bro-Tek wheel spacers, Bro-Tek backhoe ripper tooth. Kubota BX2763A front plow, Phoenix T4 48" rototiller, Harbor Freight Quick Hitch, BXpanded Quick-on Work light Kit.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: New orchard advice needed

    The Stark Bros catalog does make great reading, and I've bookmarked it.
    Haven't seen it in years and frankly forgot about it, focused on other plants.

    May 1 is plant date for our area ,and lots of varieties are sold out already.
    I'll keep that in mind for next year.

  7. #7
    DFB
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    Default Re: New orchard advice needed

    Quote Originally Posted by daugen View Post
    this proposed orchard, btw, has to be fully organic. Sigh. Not easy to do. I've been reading a lot of labels and
    just about everything has something that worries me. Any Rodale gurus out there that can recommend something that can
    be purchased to spray on fruit trees? No home concoctions; we need something vetted that says organic on it.
    And then one label said it used natural pyrethins. Well crude oil is natural and I sure wouldn't want to swallow it or have it around me,
    so all natural seems to be meaningless. When one searches organic fruit spray a whole lot of nonorganic stuff comes up.
    Just like in the supermarket, really have to read the label.

    And does the organic stuff work without being a slave to your orchard?
    thanks
    First off orchards are time consuming to an extent. Its a full season deal from winter dormacy pruning, spring bud break, summer growth, and fall harvesting. To be successful against disease and pest pressures just like in farming you need to be on the lookut for potential problems and utilize the proper techniques and apply with correct timing to beat the odds all this takes your time.

    Organic apple growing is a still a minority concept within most commercial orchards. Options are limited by NOP guidelines and only OMRI approved products. Its pretty much lime sulfers, copper sprays, soap, oils, and naturally derived products. Kaolin clays, pyrethrins (Pyganic) are used as insecticides along with microbial bacterias such as BT and spinosad products like (Entrust) for pest control. There are other there natural and eco friendly techniques that can also be used but true organics should be viewed more as you would be, more like having a holistic approach to your own well being. Healthy inputs, nutritional mangement etc.

    Some types of apples have less mangement problems than others. Were I work northern spy, mutsu, cortland, empire, and jona golds seem to perform best most all the time. Many issues that surround growing apples pertain to weather, rain and high humidity cause most bacterial problems, late and early frost can cause extreme crop damages

    Natural Pyrethrins are derived from Chrysanthemum_cinerariifolium or Chrysanthemum plants they are probably one of the safest insectide available. I use it. You'll need to experiment how well they work in your situation. I do know the spinosins which I have also used, work extremely well in their applications.

    This is an excerpt from the University of Mass New England Tree Fruit Management Guide on organic growing


    http://extension.umass.edu/fruitadvi.../2-organic.pdf

  8. #8
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    Default Re: New orchard advice needed

    DFB, thank you. So I need some bad mites to eat the good mites...Ok. we'll be interviewing the bad mites shortly.

    what strikes me after reading this info is a reminder that a fruit orchard is high maintenance, and seem to require at least two to four sprays
    a year to be sure of any decent fruit. What's in the spray is a big issue, but something has to go on those trees or they won't do much except look pretty
    in the Spring when they flower...

  9. #9
    DFB
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    Default Re: New orchard advice needed

    At least 4! The recomended application rate on the organic lime sulfer alone is a min of every 21 days and should be reapplied after heavy rains.

    There is pretty much a standard annual spray and fertilization pattern that's adhered too every season like clockwork at the orchard I work for. Unusually wet summers can add to that. For small operations the material is still expensive even if the labor is free... I've always thought Millers Nurseries offers a good selection of fruit trees choices also. I'm also going to post links for entire New England Fruit Tree Mangement Guide under the Northeast section along with the Small Fruit Management Guide.

  10. #10
    Super Member farmgirl19's Avatar
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    Default Re: New orchard advice needed

    Sprays with the active ingredient Spinosad work well, and are considered Organic, I believe. Can be used on the garden as well.
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