Establishing my new backyard orchard

I thought I would try to document the start of my new orchard area. I am in the middle of zone 6 in Southwestern Ontario.

I started with 2 apples planted way to close followed by some apricots/peaches/asian pear/apples in a BYOC style multi planting. This past year I managed to convince my wife to let me remove some trees so that we could get some more light into our backyard and plant more trees.

I got some help from those at this forum and this was the initial plan

The tree removal people actually ended up removing an extra tree so I had enough space for 2 more trees so I added an Early Jiro (zone pushing I know) and Prairie Dawn persimmon.

The trees are 8 ft x 10 feet and 5 feet from the fence. The plan is to prune all of them as open center trees as that is aesthetically what my wife prefers.

With the removal of the trees I found about 2 inches of very nice black soil under which there is landscaping fabric. Under this is clay. I don’t think I have to tell you of the time spent pulling up as much of the partially degraded fabric. Although I am on clay my backyard drains fairly well I think due to the fact I am slightly elevated.

I decided to plant my trees and raspberries on a slight mound to help wet roots. For this I purchased triple mix and mushroom compost.

I then laid a layer of cardboard/construction paper, followed by a ~ 1in layer of compost and then 4-5 in of mulch from the trees that were removed. I left about 2-3 ft square with no cardboard/paper where I intended on planting each tree.

I was able to plant the base of my trees resting on the clay level so I think things worked out more or less as I had planned.

This is how it looks today! I am considering mulching around the raspberries.


On apple trees: When they tell you that grafted trees will start producing earlier they forget to finish the sentence with this important bit: “than they should”. The absolutely best thing you could do for them is not to let it set fruit the first two years they try to do so, so they can put all that energy into establishing themselves. Getting a few early apples will never make up for the overall loss in productivity over the years to come.

But we all do it… On my first batch of five apple trees only one got all flowers removed, I let the rest do 8 apples or so. Come next year that apple-less tree came back with a vengeance, all the others were stunted; no flower, very little in the form of leaves, no growth. So I let my one producing tree put out a crop. The year after that? Well the other trees recovered and started putting leaves and flowers, the one that had a crop was now stunted, but did not put out a single flower.

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nice job! That was a lot of work.


good job! id definitely mulch your raspberries. what do you have planted on the outside of the raspberries?

We planted some carrots and beets just for this year. Next on the list is more raised vegetable planters!

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Good advice. I have some 2nd and 3rd leaf apples elsewhere but neither of them flowers this year.

i do the same. :wink:

Looks great!

A Summer update - The persimmons were a flop - the NG was DOA and the other two got knocked over by something. Everything else is growing well. I am especially impressed by the squash growing between the trees. Very little disease pressure due to it being a new site and I can see it stays much more moist with the mulch.


Spring 2022

Planted spring satin plumcot, Saturn donut peach, dewdrop pear. Only the contender peach had flowers but it did have a bunch.

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