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I want to start a home orchard, I have lot of room for it and am just seeking some general adivce suggestions etc.

These are the tree's I'd like to plant:

Peach
Plum
Apple (Red Delicious, Granny Smith)
Cherry
Pear

I have no idea what breeds I should be looking for, nor if any of the tree's need pairs to produce fruit to cross polinate, when I should plant them etc. I live in Southwest Virginia for a climate reference.

Once again, just idea gathering, getting suggestions, lessons learned etc.

Thanks
Josh
 

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Hi JC,

Kudos on getting an orchard started. I don't have that much space but I have planted 3 apple trees and am planning on some pears.

I don't have enough knowledge to offer specific suggestions, but following are some points for thought.

One thing you will want to ask yourself is what you are going to use the fruit for. Fresh eating, canning, storage, pies, etc. Some species are better suited to certain uses than others.

Fruiting times. To extend the time when you can have fresh fruit and to lessen the amount of work required all at once, consider using species that don't all fruit at the same time. For example, the apples I have range from early to mid to late season fruiting. (Not that I can recall the names of the species off-hand, but it was a factor in selecting them.)

Consider getting species rated for climate zones slightly harsher than your own. This will increase survivability of the trees should there be a particularly harsh winter.

Hope these few points from a fellow novice are useful.

Cheers,
-Per.
 

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Make sure that if the fruit tree varieties you are going to get aren't self pollinating, that there are compatible varieties growing nearby or plant them yourself. If you buy from a decent nursery they should keep a list of which trees are compatible.
 

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hey josh good luck with new orchard.i am new to orchards myself.but i do know this you have ot have a yellow delicious to pollinate a red del.i learned this from a grafting class a few years ago from the local master gardeners in our area....southwest va.i got some nice trees from over in floyd county.
 

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the size of tree depends on your wants and needs.standard will be large trees and it will take a vewry long time to get fruit.the dwarf and semi dewarf will fruit much sooner and fruit will be easier to harvest.i have semi dewarf...but i have to keep electric around them because of bears.you should see what a bear can do to a 5 year old peach tree.this year as peaches ripped the electric kept them away from my fruit.the trees i ahve planted for wildlife trees are standard so as in the futiure be able to hold up under being climbed by bear.they still be damaged but not as bad .hope this helps.
 

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I've planted a few apple trees and my first suggestion is to flip through a nursery catalog and see what's available. I wouldn't plant red delicious or granny smith in a million years. those are varieties that were bred to look pretty on supermarket shelves and survive mechanical sorting. I look for varieties that taste good, last long in cold storage, and grow on hardy, healthy trees.
I went for non-dwarfing rootstock because I live in a cold, dry climate and I wanted the healthiest trees I could get. dwarfing rootstocks work by constricting the flow of water and nutrients to the tree. my trees will face enough challenges as it is. And I don't mind waiting a couple of extra years, or having to use a tool with a long handle to harvest the apples.
 

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Contact your local county extension office. Ours in the area works with the research farm in Mt. Vernon, WA to find varieties that work well in our damp Western WA climate, and they put out lists of varieties that do. Local nurseries are also good IF and I mean IF they are honest about what grows and aren't trying to sell you something that won't, like Delicious apples for W. Washington; that's a dry climate apple, and...um...well...t'ain't dry here west of the Cascades.
 

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When planing fruit trees you have to consider how fast would you like for them to start produceing. That mainly depends on the rootstock used. For apples you have the following options:
M9 rootstock begins bearing fruit on second year
M7 rootstock on third year
MM106 and MM111 on fifth year and
apple tree from seed needs from 6 to 10 years
 

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Early strains. Most important if your in a coll climate.

Pies,
Fresh eating,
canning,

How long they take to get to maturity. Then plant a few every year if you have the room to get a perpetchy going.
 

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I agree with NW. I am picking apricots out of our orchard at the moment.MMM, fresh off the tree is better than the supermarket variety, and cheaper too.We have around 25 fruit trees all up ,but every year, now, we will plant five trees.
Netting them is expensive,so we dont buy a net for each tree, just place a net over the trees ready to pick in a few weeks.
Dried apricots are beautiful, and good for you.
 

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here's what i grow in alaska: jostaberry, black currant, red currant, gooseberry, saskatoon berry, lingonberry, nanking cherry, carmine jewel cherry, evans cherrys ptitsin plums, wanita plums, manchurian plums, noret apples, norland apples, 6 varieties blueberry, golden raspberrys, highbush cranberrys, 12 grape vines, strawberries.

needless to say i'l be drinking wine and eating crepes when the sh-- hits the fan
 

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I want to start a home orchard, I have lot of room for it and am just seeking some general adivce suggestions etc.

These are the tree's I'd like to plant:

Peach
Plum
Apple (Red Delicious, Granny Smith)
Cherry
Pear

I have no idea what breeds I should be looking for, nor if any of the tree's need pairs to produce fruit to cross polinate, when I should plant them etc. I live in Southwest Virginia for a climate reference.

Once again, just idea gathering, getting suggestions, lessons learned etc.

Thanks
Josh
I have been doing a lot of research on this and Stark Brothers is a great supplier. The Ballotin cherry is a sweet pie cherry that is self pollinating so you can eat it, bake/can with it and only need to plant one. They have a couple of self pollinating varieties of apple, etc. My neighbor has been using them for 30 years and has had great results with their products. Personally I have planted three varieties of blueberry and this year am planning on a patch of raspberries that do not need support(most do but I found one variety that does not). I think the antioxidants of fresh berries will be important for health in a time of want.

I am also putting in 50 everbearing strawberry plants this year (cause I love them) and looking into a pecan tree.

My end goal is to have pecans or almonds, apples, cherries, blueberries, raspberries and strawberries. I am going to try to convince my mother to plan two seckel pear trees at her place too. And to have a bed of peanuts as well (then my kids can have peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on homemade bread). I want to be sure I have alternate protein and fruit sources as prices rise and animal proteins might be harder to come by. Its not the best way to live, but if you can have fruit and nuts you can live a while until you can cultivate some animal proteins through growing chickens/eggs or hunting. I am and have not other option to be a suburb survivalist so I have to think creatively.
 

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Probably the most important thing to do is to grow fruit trees that are meant for your Climate Zone. Talk to your local Cooperative Extension office and some local tree nurseries to get this information. You will be looking for trees that will be hardy in that zone and probably one zone more in case of a hard frost/freeze. The other thing to look for will be approved grafts. Depending on your county in question, you might require trees to be grafted onto particular rootstocks in order to make them hardier. This is not something advertised on a Wally World ticket. Certified nurseries should be able to tell you this. For example, in my county, we are a large citrus producing area. Because of certain fungal infections which have been noted in about 5 or 6 Texas counties on the coast, we need citrus grafted to a different breed of rootstock which is resistant to the fungus, as well as hardier for the saline soil thanks to the proximity to the Gulf Coast. The same citrus tree would not work well for a region outside of this zone. Instead, they would have different requirements.

As to pollination, this will depend on the breed and fruit type. You will need to take this into consideration to how many trees you will be planting. I would make this a second consideration alongside the variety and its fruiting time of year. Ideally, you want a protracted harvest, instead of a single bumper crop of fruit over 3 weeks! If you can stagger fruit trees to produce over different periods, you will perform better.

Dwarf or full size. Again, this depends on your requirements. For a space constraint, dwarven fruit trees are better choices, because they usually grow 6-8 feet tall max and can be easily harvested. They can also be container grown and moved indoor/outdoor/patio/wherever. Full size fruit trees will vary by fruit type. Know if you will have a typical 25-30 foot fruiter, or a 60 foot mammoth that will block out all the sun in an 80 foot diameter!

Lastly, you need to know the time to maturity. Most fruit trees will take about 4 years to mature and produce fruit. This can be altered if you are willing to purchase an older tree in a larger container at the nursery. This will cost you noticeably MORE money. You can do some things to improve the speed of growth, but ultimately, you need to get anything planted in time for it to develop a root system before inclement weather.

Any tree should be properly planted. This will typically entail removing enough dirt to be twice the width of the dirtball surrounding the rootstock when you buy it. That extra space will be filled in with superlative soil amendments. More money, but a better growth and rooting of the tree. This is important, because if you are spending $30+ on a single plant, you want it to succeed and be healthy! Don't limit the growth of your fruit tree by just digging a hole and dumping the rootball in the ground and watering it. Investigate the proper methods of planting for each variety. Use high quality fertilizer, root stimulant, etc. I recommend red worm castings as the best fertilizer.
 

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Any tree should be properly planted. This will typically entail removing enough dirt to be twice the width of the dirtball surrounding the rootstock when you buy it. That extra space will be filled in with superlative soil amendments. More money, but a better growth and rooting of the tree. This is important, because if you are spending $30+ on a single plant, you want it to succeed and be healthy! Don't limit the growth of your fruit tree by just digging a hole and dumping the rootball in the ground and watering it. Investigate the proper methods of planting for each variety. Use high quality fertilizer, root stimulant, etc. I recommend red worm castings as the best fertilizer.
My favorite gardener said it best - (I paraphrase...) "Better a 10 cent rose in a $3 hole than a $3 rose in a 10 cent hole." - Ruth Stout
 
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