Distance between fruit trees

Hi folks,

I just planted an aprium tree. The interesting thing was that I looked online and found that this (any) tree could be planted at varied distances from other fruit trees. No one rule seemed to fit all, although some official websites said something like 20 feet. Fat chance in my small garden. One YouTube video had some trees planted 7 feet apart, although from what I read, this applied primarily to dwarf and required strict pruning. I planted my tree about 12 feet from my 4 way plum. Because of the location near the house, I will have to keep both trees heavily pruned to prevent them from getting too big. My tree is semi-dwarf. Any (future) issues?



Spacing depends on the final dimensions of the tree. It is suggested that you can maintain a tree at 70% size by pruning, but it will try to achieve its finished size. The finished size is determined by the scion and rootstock. If your tree is 20 feet tall and wide at full size, it will be 10 feet tall and wide with a 50% dwarfing rootstock. The distance between is 1/2 the combined width of both trees. A 12 foot wide tree and a 16 foot wide tree would be spaced 14 feet apart, or 10 feet if pruned to 70%.
You can place them even closer with a trellis.

I just planted Flavor Grenade pluot on Citaion & Superior plum on Citation 7 feet apart, but put 9 feet between Superior on Citation and Alderman on Marianna 2624. Citation will average a tree 10 feet wide. 20 foot combined width, divided by 2 is 10 feet. 70% pruned size x 10 feet = 7 feet.
Marianna 2624 will average 15 feet wide. Combined width is 25 feet, divided by 2 is 12.5 feet. 70% of 12.5 is 8.75 feet.

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Summer pruning, after harvest, will help maintain a smaller tree.
You can also plant 3 or 4 trees in one hole, the competition will help keep down vigor.
Stay on top of it. Generally, it’s easier to keep a tree small than to make a large tree small.
Full disclosure, I plant very close because I’m very enthusiastic and optimistic. I’m fairly responsible. What could go wrong? Lol


Is there a correlation between the final height of a tree to the distance that must be maintained between trees to prevent shading ?

I think it’s important to keep in mind…
The recommendations of spacing , from universities , text books, etc. are often for commercial growers that need a quick ,high return on investment. Bushels per acre.
Which can only be achieved with frequent spraying to control pests and diseases. A air blast sprayer pulled with a tractor,
They want a solid tree row, so as to make efficient use of spray materials. They don’t want to spray empty space.

This is a different situation than most backyard orchards.
Where minimal / no / low spraying is done , and spraying is by hand.
At least in the humid areas in the east , farther plant spacing ,with some free air between trees, can help a lot to lessen diseases.
It’s good to use space efficiently, but crowding can be bad.
It’s desirable to have some ( a lot ) of air movement around trees ,
So they dry quicker , lessening diseases.
Also it’s nice to allow room for a tree be able to grow to it’s full potential, without being crowded by neighboring trees
A common mistake I see when new fruit growers plant trees is that they plant them to close together.
New trees look so small and so far apart when first planted as a whip. Lacking expert pruning skills . The trees often quickly fill the space and become too crowded.
Resulting in lower production, more disease problems.
It’s disheartening to find , 10 years into it, that the trees are too close. , And some need removed.
Often with much empty space in the yard where they could have been planted to start with.
I think it’s best if you have room , for a non commercial orchard, to give trees some extra space.
Trees “ can “ be tightly packed in a small yard. With a lot of pruning to keep them in their space. This often requires expert pruning skills.
I think the often recommend spacing for a given rootstock / variety,
Are a bit too close for a home orchard.


I planted mine 8 feet apart. It’s been 8 or 9 years now and I’m happy with the spacing. They are close but that is fine. All have clear southern exposure since they were planted east to west. I don’t really care about the rootstock as even semi dwarf is 17 feet. Way, way too big for me. My trees are all at about 8 feet tall. I need rootstock that is reliable here, but dwarf, semi dwarf or full size I don’t really care. Full size rootstock prune to 8 feet just fine.

I used grafting of each scaffold to increase the amount of cultivars, and also ease of breeding, which is another hobby of mine. This tree has 6 cultivars, peaches, nectarines and pluots. Having 10 to 30 fruit of each type is enough for me. Ripen at different times too. I harvest from this tree from mid-summer to early fall. The tree is Indian Free on Citation, 8 years old, 6 feet tall. I never want to use a ladder. I’m too old for that BS.

I love the cranberry/peach flavor of Indian Free

Makes a great jam too, use a lot of lemon to keep the color good.


@Rahul1 Generally, the height of the trees determines the between row spacing of the trees to prevent shading. The tree to tree spacing is determined by the cultivar, rootstock and training method. Of course this is a simplification- other factors, like soil type, climate, irrigation, and fertilizer play a role. For apples I would look at this tree spacing calculator and play with the variables to get a feel for how all this works.


Thanks for getting back to me. I was interested in knowing if there were any general guidelines as to row to row distance and height of the trees. I had this article recommended before. I have to downloaded for reference

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The calculator seems to calculate row spacing as 130% of tree height.

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Yes for North-South rows it’s 130%. Because of shading East-West rows require greater distance between rows. It’s recommended that 150% be used for the East-West rows. The link at the bottom of the calculator talks about this and it also examines the reasoning behind the calculator.


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