Apple Orchard Spacing

Here is a pic to show planned placement of our apple trees. We actually have 26 apple trees, so we will need to add two more spots.

The pool is to store water and catch rain, to water the trees. We get water delivered and did not want to haul it back there from our front tank.

The pool holds a lot more than our 5000 gallon tank. The price of our tank is $5000 to buy another, so that is why we went with the 18’ pool.

The spacing is 15’ apart and all trees are on M-111.

Anyone see problems with our spacing or arrangement?

Pool is on a platform that is higher than the trees and there is a gentle slope, for gravity to assist in watering.


I’m in quite a different climate. So find it hard to comment on spacing. But it seems fine to me.

You seem to be planting in squares. Not in rows. Do you want to be able to walk all around the trees? Or do you want to have rows?
If you plan to grow in rows, you could space them a little closer together in row. and move the rows a little further apart. So there is a wider pathway.

The trees around your spot also seem quite high. It might be worth it to put late ripening cultivars on the north side of the blok. Since they will be shaded least in the fall when they still have ripening fruits.

I think planting on harvest date is good advice either way. (will make things a lot easier later on)

Although planting on flowering time might be easier if you need to apply anything around petal fall. (i don’t, so have no experience with that.)

a black tarp ontop of the water in the pool might help lower evaporation/algae growth.


15’ In row spacing is not a bad rule of thumb for m111. It’s a little tight for high vigor varieties. You would have much room to get spraying equipment in unless the rows are 20’ + apart. I guess the question is to you plan to spray? If so, allowing more room and planting based on bloom or harvest will help down the road


What are the high vigor varieties (semi dwarf) to your knowledge? I’ve been wondering about this. The two that I am familiar with are Gravenstein and Stayman. These two are in my small orchard and I would say that they are both much too large to be next to each other with 15’ spacing.

Scott has a good post on apple vigor listing 100s of varieties. In general, tip bearers are high vigor. Wolf River is a monster. 20ft tall on m111 after 10 year and I bet it would go 30’

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Here is what I had compiled, I was thinking they should be near a good pollination partner rather than by harvest?

Apple pollination groups


McIntosh partially self fertile


Belle de Boskoop Triploid

Fireside Diploid

Honeycrisp Diploid

King David Diploid

Newtown Pippin partially self fertile

Rubinette Diploid

Stayman Triploid

Wickson Diploid

English Golden Russet Diploid


API Etoile

Arkansas Black Triploid

Ashmeads Kernal Triploid

Calville Blanc d’Hiver Diploid

Claygate Pearmain Triploid

Fuji partially self fertile

Golden delicious self fertile

Grimes Golden self fertile/great pollenizer

Kidd’s Orange Red partially self fertile

Westfield Seek-no-Further Diploid


Spigold Triploid

Goldrush Diploid


Suntan Triploid


Myers’ Royal Limbertwig Triploid

Cinnamon Spice

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Wow! I don’t have Wolf River but might have other high vigor varieties.

I better figure this out, I wanted to plant this weekend……

I don’t have Gravenstein, but I do have a Stayman.

What do you do? Prune heavily?

I was going to plant based on bloom I didn’t even consider harvest day. I am brand new to orchards.

We’ve had some apples in pots the last two years, not many - most of them just arrived recently.

I think we’ve had the Fuji, the Honeycrisp and the Arkansas black a little over two years and we’ve had golden delicious and Macintosh one year. What I noticed was apples seem to do really well and don’t even seem to have bugs eating leaves or any problem at all.

I’m not saying we will never have problems. I’m just saying it seems like we have a lot of problems with the other fruit trees, with bugs eating leaves, and peach leaf curl, etc.

If we did spray the apples, I would want to use organic spray. We have surround and Monterey fruit tree spray. Or maybe I could net them for bugs I don’t know, but they seem to do much better here than any of the other fruit trees as far as not having problems.

If we did spray, it would be a rolling battery operated hand sprayer and I’m sure we could fit that in there.

Or are there people that will come spray for you? I don’t think we have enough trees for expensive spray equipment.

We’ve only been here three years, but the locals all said apples do well here. You would think there would be a better selection at the farmers market, but I aim to fix that. :slight_smile:

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The forest trees are high and we could remove them later if we really had to, but I was trying not to.

When I read spacing for these Apple trees, it said 12 to 16 feet apart and I thought that meant all the way around.

That is a great idea about placement in sun for later ripening varieties, thank you.

The sun goes more left to right in this area I think, but I am sure some spots get more than others.

The pool came with a cover but we have it open as it was raining and we are trying to collect water. I am sure we will have a horrible time keeping it clean.


I planted my 15 tree apple row on M111 at 16 foot spacing. I did cage them with 4 foot diameter field fence, and trunk guards made of hardware cloth. My wife mows it with 72 inch zero turn and doesn’t complain. Make sure your cages are easy to open. And trunk guards are either easy to remove or large enough diameter to easily reach your hand inside from the top to remove suckers. I removed sucker this morning, so this task is fresh in my mind.

We are going with 15 feet apart all the way around from each other. I do want to be able to walk around each tree. We do not need space for a mower, the forest does not need to be mowed, that is a definite plus in my book.

I did some research on here and some people regretted planting them by bloom period. We only have 26 trees and while there are two more varieties that I would like, I am content for now and I am sure we could make room for two more somewhere.

I think what we will do is make sure that the midseason and or long bloom period trees are in the middle. So we are definitely going to put wickson, golden delicious, golden grimes spaced out in the middle.

I am thinking that because none of them are really that far away from each other. We probably will be fine any way we plant.

And now from reading about super vigorous ones they get way bigger than advertised, I guess I’d want those on the edges so they had more room at least one way but I don’t know which ones those are except that someone mentioned Stayman as being super vigorous.

All of the apples are on M-111.

No way I could do that here. Deer would destroy newly planted trees without cages around them. And if the deer didn’t get them, rabbits would eat the bark off them without trunk guards.

Oh no, we have to protect them here too.

I was just talking about placement and spacing.

We have deer, black bears, jack rabbits, some other rabbit, two types of ground squirrels, tree squirrels and all kinds of insects.

Have a picture example?

These two are helpful, for pest deterrent.

Yes, I do prune pretty heavily every year on modified central leader trees. Actually, after the trees have reached maturity, I prune as much to control the height (water sprouts at top) as much or maybe more than I do to control the width. The height (my trees are 10’-12’) to hopefully save myself from not falling from too high and ease to thin, spray, and pick the fruit. The width to prevent the fruit from being on the ground (stiffening the scaffolds as needed) as well as keeping the trees from growing into each other.

Assuming that you are going with modified central leader how high do you want your trees (measured from the ground to the cut on the central leader)? This probably should be decided before you choose your spacing. The lower height that is desired the more tendency for wider trees. The trees energy has to go somewhere.

The picture below shows 3 of my trees. On the far left is a Gravenstein. In the middle is a Honeycrisp. On the far right is a Winesap. The spacing between the Grav’ and the HC is 16’. The spacing between the HC and Winesap is 13’ and the 2 trees are growing into each other and therefore making it much more difficult spraying, etc. I really like having space between trees. Back in 2010 I was just planting trees without thinking about spacing. Call it “Kentucky windage spacing.”

I see what you mean but they do look pretty healthy. So that’s good.

We already started planting them in there 15 feet apart all the way around. I will just have to prune them to keep them from running into each other.

We decided to put the Stayman in a corner, that way there’s more room around it on most sides.

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I think I did my M.111 trees @ 14’ spacing with rows @ 21’. However, I also allowed 6’ for the planting row (the width of my tiller).

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Scott lists Stayman as a moderately aggressive tree. Thats probably true. In my case it had fireblight in its second year so bad that I took out the central leader supposedly causing the scaffolds to spread wide. Regrew the central leader so now the tree looks somewhat normal.

Stayman apples has a balanced taste (not too sweet but not too tart) that I like although they crack horribly. This year I buried crushed eggshells under it in the hope that maybe that would help. I’ve buried crushed eggshells under the Winesap with great success in the past to prevent watercore. So maybe the calcium from the eggshells will help with the cracking. Stayman also makes great applesauce - maybe the best.

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