Another question-new member starting home orchard

Hi, everyone in the forum has been very helpful in providing advice and guidance on my other posting about starting a home orchard. I try to read the posting daily. I have been working on the land cutting and clearing trees and have planted some fruit trees based upon the advice that has been provided. I really appreciate the help. I have a area that dips down 4 feet I was wondering if I could plant blueberries or raspberries. The area would have fruit trees on the left and right. Or should I just leave the area alone and plant them in another area. The trees would be

13ft apart if I include the area with the dip. I have attached a picture I hope it helps. Thanks for your advice.

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Welcome to the forum- I’m also new here.
I had raspberries planted on a slope. Actually plant them on the slope is what I’d recommend and create a berm.

I have several 2ft wide trenches that scatter across my orchard area, what I’m doing is filling them with rotted logs, then piling dirt ontop, then covering everything with woodchips.

Planting I would just pull back the woodchips, plant as best I can into the dirt and compact what I can, add a bit of top dressing rotted compost then chips back over the whole thing.

I’m not an expert, so take my advice with a grain of salt, but what you should be the most careful of is creating too wet of an area by allowing water to stagnate. In your case, I don’t see that being an issue even if you planted directly in that trench as water and cold air should flow down the hill.

I’m putting in a new orchard too. I am doing something similar to what @droshi is doing with my low spots.
One of the low spots (naturally!) ended up right in the place where one of my equally spaced plantings would be. So, I took the grassy tops of the other holes that we are digging - and turned them grass side down - in a pile. I add manure, other soil and old potting soil from pots that I am emptying to reuse. I smash it all down as much as possible . . . and will wait for it to compost. By the time it turns to decent planting material . . . it just may grow better results than the other holes!
I’m putting in over 20 trees, of all sorts, so I have lots of ‘top grass’ to add to the piles. Usually I would throw this in the bottom of the hole, itself . . . but decided to use some of it this way, instead.


Yah, it will!



I have decent top soil here, but my sub-soil is all heavy clay, I have to be careful to not amend at all the holes when digging or they can turn into a clay pot. Top layering is all I do for planting with deep mulch. Different places are probably different.

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Welcome to this great site. There are a lot of great people here with a lot of helpful experience with growing projects.

Help is on the way! My new plants number over 20 . . . and my ‘hole-digger’ (husband) is M.I.A.
We finished preparing about 8 of them already . . . but slow going.
I just can’t dig all those holes by myself . . . so a local landscaper agreed to bring an auger over to bail me out! I’m thrilled! And today’s the day! YAY!
I bought enough mulch for each tree - and some sand for drainage - and some organic matter, too. They can ‘auger all that stuff in together’ and break up some of the clay I’ve found in parts of my orchard site. Will save a lot of shovel time for me! And I should be able to put my poor apple trees (which are heeled in) and some of the hardier poms - in the ground.
So far . . . only one lonesome ‘Agat’ pom stands alone, in the field. :relieved:

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I am in the process of planting about 25 trees of various sizes. Some I have had in pots. I found this onsale It is good that the landscaper will dig the holes for you. This is a exciting time isn’t it.

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Thanks…I have been given some great advice

I have heavy clay soil also…thanks for the comments.

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I will consider that.Thanks.

Again I highly suggest if you have clay to not amend it at all. You want to plant directly in the clay and fill native soil back in. If you don’t you’ll be making a clay pot that fills with water when it rains, unless you make a French drain system, there’s nowhere for the water to go.

The only improvement to that you can do is build up, either a raised bed, or plant ontop of the clay totally and pile plenty of soil around the rootball, then mulch, you would probably have to keep adding material as it settles and breaks down.

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As it turned out . . . the soil in that field was as different as night and day - from one end to the other. The first few holes we dug - were tough going. Compacted. But, 20 feet down the line, it was completely different. Some holes appeared to have quite a good amount of loamy ‘topsoil’. And others were more of a sandy-content. It was quite interesting to see what the auger would uncover as we moved from spot to spot. Our lot lay fallow for about 40 years. Before that it was a truck farmer’s melon field. And 200 years ago, the field had a house on it. We find bits of brick and pottery.
I was hoping for an arrowhead or two! Over the years we have unearthed many, that prehistoric hunters left, eons ago. But, all we got this time around was some pretty nice dirt!

I wish I’d taken a picture of the guys at work - putting in the holes. But, I was too busy pulling up flags and moving all my markers - trying to stay one step ahead of them, and out of their way!
Like I said in another post . . . the only drawback to using the auger was that I couldn’t get the basin shape that I would have preferred. I chose not to add any amendments to the apple, pear and stone fruits’ planting spots. All that soil looked wonderful.
Good Luck with yours, Dave!

@droshi - Andre, thanks for the ‘pot hole’ warnings. I did build up, so that I could plant high - for the sake of drainage. Especially for the poms. And I did a lot of ‘side chopping’ to break up any slick sides. I’m hoping they will do well. _I’m more concerned with how they will bear the cold, actually._Next winter will be the test. You can bet, I’ll keep everyone posted. - Karen


Sounds great! Glad to hear all went well! Prepping is the hardest work for me for planting. The planting itself I think isn’t as big a deal as some make it to be, really if you just shove a bare root tree in a hole, for me it almost always works out. It’s just the care afterwards that is sometimes tricky, especially if you are planting many different trees at once!

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Hi. I saw the pictures on this sites you posted last year. I see you cleared trees to start your orchard, which is what I am getting ready to do. Did you leave your stumps in and plant around them or did you end up pulling them and grading soil? Any advice is highly appreciated.

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Hi I did a combination of things. I was able to grind some of them down and I did plant around some. I am drilling holes in some of them and putting Epsom salt in the holes. I was told that will break down the stumps over time. I have another area that I am working on I may not be able to get it completed until this winter. I hope this helps.


Yes, thanks. I should be able to plant around most and use them for mushroom logs.

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