Planning my orchard

Hey people,
While me and my family have had standard trees for a long time, we’re planting a small orchard with semi-dwarf trees this fall!
I’m so exited! And of course I have maaaaany questions.
We will plant 4 plums on St.Julien, 4 pears on Quince A, and 11 Apple trees on M26.

I have planned to leave 3.5 m between trees and 5 m between rows. I think this should be enough, but if you thought so too and now your trees are crowded, please tell me!

Concerning staking: I hear very conflicting things about all 3 rootstocks: from staking for 5 years to staking for life…If I only have to stake them the first years, I’ll put in a stable post. If they’ll need staking permanently, we’ll have to build a trellis.
For the record: where I live it is very windy. Their place is somewhat sheltered on the west side, but exposed otherwise. The soil where I’ll plant them is quite well drained, but not too light. We have never lost a (young) standard tree to wind, but there were certainly some snapped central leaders.

Another thing: bare rows?
I plan to plow the rows (about 1.5 m), plant the trees and then cover the bare ground with cow manure mixed with straw to prevent soil erosion.

I figured that 3.5 m between the trees is more than enough space for other plants I could plant in spring.
I was thinking one rhubarb or currant or gooseberry between each tree. Maybe some herbs like chives, chamomile…of course not too close to the trees…
When the trees grow I’ll have to take these others out, but for now, I want to use this space. Is this sensible? Any other plants that would fit? Ideally some plants that reseed themselves or are perennial so I’ll have to do a minimum of digging around?

1 Like

Sounds like a plan. The M26 shouldn’t need 3.5 meters between plants, but with growing things between, you are still using the space wisely.
Bean and peas add nitrogen to the soil…so might be considered for interplanting among the trees.


Well, I’ve read 2.5 to 3.5 meter, so I thought I’d stay on the upper range so that the most vigorous varieties will have enough space. And I like the idea with the peas. Fixes nitrogen like clover, but is edible. I like it!

1 Like

Update: as usual almost the whole plan was overturned🙄
My originally planned location wasn’t that well suited after all, but I’m very happy with where they are now. Quite sheltered against wind, gentle south facing slope, accesssible by tractor and directly behind the house.
We had to cut 4 mature landscape trees down because of the shade and tore out a useless 15 year old apple standard, but I feel that it’s more than worth it.
We planted in two rows, 4.5 meter apart, 3 meters between trees.
We didn’t plow, but merely dug a hole, amended with compost. After the planting we gave every young tree a ring of manure.

We gave every tree a sturdy post, but didn’t build a trellis. If this location isn’t sheltered enough against wind, nowhere on our property will be.

The varieties are:

Alexander Lucas, Madame Favre (both french)

Apple: Red Astrachan (Russia), Discovery(GB), James Grieve(GB), Prinz Albrecht von Preussen(Germany), American Mother (US), Alant (Switzerland), Wehntaler Hagapfel (Switzerland), Goro (Switzerland), Adams pearmain (GB), Ananas Reinette (NL) and Geflammter Kardinal (Germany)

Victoria (GB), Belle de Paris (France) and Berudge (Switzerland).
I’m so exited!