Minimum Spacing for Standard/Dwarf Trees

Hello everyone,

I know that it’s a bad idea to plant a standard in the same hole as a dwarf, but what about the minimum 18 inch spacing? I’m assuming 18 inches will work.

I’d see 18 inches as basically being in the same hole. You might put two dwarfs 18 inches apart but not two standard or one of each. Well you could but at the very least I’d want the dwarf south of the standard.

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Oh crap. I can’t put two standards in the same hole?

I was gonna put 4 apple dwarfs in the same hole, 2 apple standards in the same hole & 2 plum standards in the same hole in the same row with 3.5 feet spacing between each hole. I also have some extra room at the end of the row, which is why I’m asking if it’s ok for a dwarf and a standard in the same hole. Is my spacing OK, @fruitnut?

Two standard apples per hole with 3.5ft between holes, wow that’s close. The area sounds about right for the 4 dwarf apples spaced at 3.5ft. I’d be afraid the standard apples will swallow up everything else.

Where do you live and how vigorous are your other trees?

I am not Fruitnut but I wonder if it is hot and humid where you are.

If so, putting two trees in a hole would require serious pruning for light and air circulation esp trees on a standard rootstock.

I live just outside of Philly. Vigor seems normal. The trees I mentioned above I just purchased or grafted, so I don’t know how vigorous these will be.

It’s hot & humid. I made sure every variety I purchased was known for good resistance to most problems. I’ll definitely be spraying, and I’m not afraid or lazy with proper pruning.

Plant the dwarf with the union below ground level and it will hopefully root on its own roots. If its not on its own roots it will be completely dominated in a few years. You can plant them as close as you want, even touching. Just make sure to prune so no scaffolds are crossing. In other words view it as a single tree with two sides.

The only potential problem is I have heard trees do not always root when planted below the union.

The way I’m reading this is 4 holes spaced 3.5ft for a total of 14ft of row. That’s enough room for 4 dwarf trees or 1-2 standard. I think those standard apples will swallow, ie shade out, everything else. Can one really get standard apples to bear at that spacing and still have an open enough canopy to allow disease management and quality fruit? I could do the four dwarf apples in that space pretty easy. Dido for the two plums. Maybe two standard apples. But all 10 trees sounds like a mess. That’s one big clump spaced on average 1.4ft apart. I’m doing that in my greenhouse with stone fruit but have good control of vigor.

I’d rather multi graft two dwarf apples and the two plums in that space.

Oops I didn’t read the followups, I agree that is too much for the small area.

Here is the tightest planting I have found to work: put holes 3’ apart, put two trees right next to each other in each hole (i.e. almost touching), and prune these pairs like one tree - no crossing limbs at all. And, don’t mix dwarf with non-dwarf in the row. What your planting will evolve to is a bunch of Y’s in the row, each Y has a different variety on each of the two scaffolds which head out of each side of the row. The key reason why this can work is each variety has one space it can freely grow its (one) scaffold in to over time. Any closer and there is no free spot for a scaffold, and you are just pruning out wood year after year and no fruit is showing up. You also probably will need to do limb bending if using full-sized apple roots.

I have done many tighter plantings than this (100+ trees) and have regretted all of them.

Scott, this spacing will work for standards as well? Assuming it’s a standard only row.

So I guess I confused the hell out of everyone, but my original thought was to create a hedge of closely related fruit trees along the south side of the house. I have 16 ft to work with. Maybe it will just be easier if you tell me what will work.

These are the trees I have left that need a home. I want to try and fit as many as I can in the space mentioned above & pictured below:

4 dwarf apples
2 standard apples
2 standard plums
1 standard pluot
1 standard apricot
1 standard peach
1 dwarf peach

Is it the area where those sticks are? How much sun will the trees get?

I just did a 20ft row of 2 trees in one hole using pluot seedlings… i tried to space them evenly…we’ll see what happens… they are disposable so if it turns bad, they get the ax.

It matters how far from the wall you can plant. If you can do 6-8’ from the wall you can have scaffolds heading both toward and away from wall. If you are closer you can’t run scaffolds toward the wall so you will not be able to do 2 per hole.

Assuming you have the above clearance from the wall, I would suggest making 4 spots and putting all but the 4 dwarf apples there, two in each position so one to grow a scaffold toward the wall and another away from the wall in each hole. Then find another spot suitable for one standalone tree and plop all four dwarf apples in that one hole.

If you can’t get 6-8’ from the wall, just plant 5 or so in a row with tighter spacing and find other spots for the 4 dwarf apples and 3 other leftovers.

Thanks for the info, Scott.

One last question… if I plant 5 closer to the wall, they’ll have one scaffold?

Right, heading straight out from the wall to yard. Or train as a spindle straight up with only small side branches mostly going out. I tend to bend the scaffold out, it leads to early fruiting and gives the tree a bit more room.

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I have 20 acres of standards 40 feet apart, and can barely drive a tractor between the rows. They need a lot of spacing. Even m7s will grow to 16 feet wide in 10 years

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Pink pearl on g30, has some great branches it throws out after i helped scar it last spring.

I have 18 inches between scaffold layers, thoughts,

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