Orchard design for dummies

The 6 foot spacing you’re using is from the paper you referenced. My value of 4 foot is a calculated value from a combination of the chart and the calculator I linked in my post. It’s for climate conditions in Michigan rather than those of New York state which your paper is based on. There are two other differences. First, I am using sprinkler irrigation “as needed” instead of carefully monitored drip line irrigation. Second, Fuji is a much higher vigor scion than GoldRush. If I redo the calculation for a Fuji scion with drip irrigation I get a 6 foot spacing too.

In the paper you referenced, the trees are trained to the vertical axis system which is similar to the tall spindle system. These trees are supported by a trellis. In these systems you crop earlier and don’t build a lot of wood that can be used to produce a self supporting tree. The training methods and the early crop “runts the tree out” to a certain degree. This allows the tree to be kept in a small space with minimal pruning.

For a self supporting tree you build a lot of wood and produce a self-supporting tree with a strong framework using a central leader training system which means the tree fruits later in life. The central leader produces a big tree that doesn’t need a stake but it’s going to require wider spacing unless your willing to do a bunch of heavy pruning.

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Hello. I have a small orchard of about 85 trees on one acre of land. on the mid-coast of Maine. Most of my trees are semi-dwarf with a couple of standards.

I have been using a “Spot Shot Battery Operated Sprayer” (4 gal.) and find it to be perfect for my place _ which is on several sloping hills. The sprayer is quite easy to use and with a 50’ hose makes it easy to have good coverage. Best. Waite Maclin, Pastor Chuck Orchards, Cushing, Maine

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I have a little sprayer that I could drag behind a lawnmower or 4wheeler. I inherited it somehow through my wife’s family- Gramps was a cherry farmer. I need to get it going and probably should put some good detergent through it…

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After the orchard design for dummies thread was revived with the calculator link, I was keenly interested in what layout you decided upon. There were so many ideas floated, it would be interesting to know what you picked and how it is working for you.

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Sorry to keep everyone in suspense. No real definitive plan picked yet. Nursery trees are getting way too big and crowded…

I was up cleaning the chimney for Santa so I grabbed a picture. I put a magic wand on my list, so I can get the fence and irrigation well house done!

I guess to continue the ‘for dummies’ saga I’m having challenges with the orchard. I may need to just sell a bunch of trees and regroup after finishing other infrastructure projects. Due to flood plain rules and topography challenges we’re really considering digging in back there for a garage. Getting that all squared away has stunted progress. I have wanted to deer fence the yard and orchard together. Building deer fence on a slope is a pain enough to contemplate - but figuring out a garage and a turnaround even more. Good winter project.


I didn’t get a magic wand. It took me all last spring, summer … and fall… and winter. Just to get a fence built. The orchard got chopped in half; the cows really liked hanging out up there and other issues. I will update with a more recent picture and plan soon

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The fence is built… a view from the West across the windswept area where I hope to establish… something.


I like a diagonal plan myself.

Biggest equipment you may buy down the road.

I’m not sure i have room for a diagonal plan. What would that look like?

Here’s a general sketch, the ‘W’ is a well. The ‘P’s will be pears. The rest of the space is still open for layout adjustments.

Discussion of the well could go deep in weeds, but basically I think it would be best to allow for future vehicle access to it. I think I should start a separate post regarding wellhead development. I don’t know what there will end up being; pumphouse/pit or pitless adapter, maybe solar panels etc.

The fence design and orchard compromise and compression was not just for cow happiness- the power lines played a factor - I haven’t consulted the power company I’m only naïvely hoping that if and when the fateful day comes that I’ve given them enough space for line and pole repair??

At this point I’m thinking snow fence on the deer fence and probably some small thorny deer/cow resistant things on the outside of the west edge.

Ultimately, basically a single row of trees around the perimeter and a double row on the interior. Full size vehicle or tractor access to everything. Maybe not the best for upwind spraying access to all trees but I could drench from across the fence…?

The way I did it was plant one row 45 feet apart. Go half of 45 to start the next row. 22.5’. Then every 45. Our trees will be large. Everything is 45’ in each direction. Gives you plenty of room for equipment, irrigation, etc.

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The green are in the ground… any tips before I launch into something I’ll regret in this life (or my kids)? Pretty much full size roots M111 and Bacatta (Siberian Crabapple)

I have Arkansas Black on M.111 and it’s quite vigorous, so it may not be appropriate in the closer spacing you show for 3-4-5. Perhaps exchange its placement with Clarks Crab as it is a naturally dwarfing tree.

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Thanks. Moving the Arkansas Black would probably be a good idea. It is at the moment way too close to the Trailman which is on B118. The Arkansas Black is on “supreme dwarf” Stark rootstock. - it died back so bad I’ve kind of given it up as a loss since I doubt I’ll ever get a ripe crop off it in my climate. I didn’t do enough research… just wanted to use up some store credit. I’ll put it with All my other dwarf-ish stuff in the garden, where I hope they will be a bit more sheltered from the wind and maybe serve as a windbreak for the garden.

those Varieties Includes: Blue Pearmain, Yellow Transparent, Dolgo, Norland, Honey Crisp, Kidds Orange Red, and Sweet Sixteen.

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