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 Questions about planting new home orchard 
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Joined: Sun Nov 06, 2005 2:47 pm
Posts: 1
Location: Arkansas
Post Questions about planting new home orchard
I'm new here! I have been trying to find out more about planting a new small, home orchard. Right now the location is on a southeast slope, but is in the woods in rocky northwest Arkansas. We have a bulldozer for another couple of days, so I can clear out trees and such but I don't know how much distance I need from those really big oaks and my apple, pear, plum, and cherry trees. Also, what should be planted between, if anything, to keep weeds at bay? I am looking at planting semi-dwarf trees, not standard.

Any and all ideas will be greatly appreciated!!


Sun Nov 06, 2005 3:09 pm
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Joined: Tue Apr 27, 2004 1:58 pm
Posts: 228
Location: Oregon
To keep the weeds down around trees, try mulching around the bases.

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Tue Nov 08, 2005 12:10 pm
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Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2005 11:27 pm
Posts: 1188
Location: Yamhill County, Oregon
Hi Jackie, I live on a south facing clay-clogged hill in Oregon and have no knowledge of Arkansas conditions... But a suggestion I have for people who also have poor soil is to go with a more vigorous rootstock. I'm not a rootstock expert, but such info is very easy to find online. But you will have to find a 'mail order' or good local nursery to get trees grafted on known, and slightly more vigorous rootstock. Most 'bagged type' trees list only that they're "Semi-dwarf." If you plant too dwarfing a tree on poor soil, as I did - you'll end up with very small trees...

As far as distance from "really big oaks," I know oak leaves have a 'tannin' in their leaves that is considered poisonous to many plants. I just removed a 30+ year 'old' apple tree that mysteriously died, from the roots up, that was competing with one of our native oaks... And, all the fruit trees you mention need full sunshine to prosper; make sure they're not shaded by those oaks.

My method of weed control is "Roundup," sprayed about every-third-year out to the dripline of each tree. My studies of that product, and that rare a usage, allow me to comfortably use the fruit with no concern of herbicide up-take. But that's the only herbicide I use around my fruit trees; it's more expensive than others, but supposedly goes inert much quicker.

Research the bloom-times on each variety to choose a dependable pollinator - especially the plum (Japanese?) and cherry trees. I'll end up grafting a good pollinator onto a 2-3 year old limb on most of my trees. It's actually quite easy, and interesting. Plan to water for the first few years, unless it rains weekly during your summers..? If you have deer, four 7 foot steel posts pounded in about 4 feet from the trunk, then wrapped from bottom to just above the top with 2 inch 'chicken wire' should get them out of their reach within 3 to 5 years. Do what you can to control gophers; moles eat meat - but gophers eat roots!

Finally: "Dig a $50 hole for a $20 Tree!" {inflation folks} - and keep us posted :)

Temperate Orchard Convservancy:

Wed Nov 09, 2005 12:12 am

Joined: Thu Apr 20, 2006 7:44 am
Posts: 3
Location: Kansas
Cummins Nursery(NY) and Boyer Nursery(PA) offers mm111 for harsher growing conditions. They are about 18 to 20' tall though. Trees should be about 25 feet apart. I've read that the closer a fruit tree to a rootzone of another tree the longer to fruiting.

Thu Apr 20, 2006 8:13 am

Joined: Thu Apr 20, 2006 8:57 pm
Posts: 1
Post Planting New Orchard
I too have purchased some land and want to put in an orchard. I am interested in finding out how many trees I will want for a family of 4 for both eating and canning. Also would like a recommendation for a organic tree source either in Eastern Washington or a good mail order. I called the local coop extension service, but haven't heard back from them. They are probably the best ones to tell me specifically what species grows best in my area. Any tips would be appreciated. :)

Thu Apr 20, 2006 9:03 pm

Joined: Fri Jul 16, 2004 11:08 am
Posts: 59
Post Re: Questions about planting new home orchard
Plant a nice ground cover in between rows such as sheep fescue and mulch around the trees with any kind of organic matter.

Keep fruit trees away from large trees such as oaks and walnuts and make sure that large trees are in the north part of your orchard. Make sure your fruit trees are not under other large trees and are not under the shade.

Marc nursery
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Our motto: "Preservation by dissemination"

Tue Sep 26, 2006 9:43 pm
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Joined: Thu Jun 17, 2004 10:23 pm
Posts: 95
Cangratualtions on having the land to start a home orchard. It so happens that iam givng a talk on this subject and here is a copy of the handout for this talk.

You have some of the same pests that we have in the PNW plus others.

Some futher suggestions:
• get rid of perennial weeds before planting orchard
• do your home work on rootstocks – don't believe dwarf, semi-dwarf labels, ask by name and number (MM.111)
• always select disease reistant vaireties when possible
• know the tree form (shape) that you want before you plant so that you can train the tree accoridngly
• know which pests and diseases that will attack your plants, you can then be prepaired in advance for the attacks with few suprises
• if you compost, palce the pile up slope so that the CO2 produced will fow over your plants (helps with photosynthesis [food making])


How to Start a Home Orchard Organically

The typical Home Orchard consists of apples, pears, plums, peaches, persimmons, figs and cherries.

Ted L. Swensen, Presenter
Home Orchard Society

* Diversity fosters stability
* Nature does not leave soil bare.
* Plants influence one another (alellopathy).
* Some damage from pests and diseases is natural, develop tolerance.
* Innocent-unless-proven-guilty: respect life forms found in your ecosystem.
* Leave a “natural area” no matter how small.

I. Microclimate
- Percentage of light and location of nearby trees and buildings
- Wind exposure

II. Soil Care
- Incorporate a variety of organic matter into soil

III. Variety Selection
- Select disease resistant varieties when possible.
A. Apples
Major Pests Control
1. Apple Scab (fungus) – Sanitation, lime sulfur (spring) + sticker-spreader
2. Mildew (fungus) – Lime sulfur, supreme oil + sticker-spreader
3. Fireblight (bacteria) – Blight Ban (bacterium)
4. Codling Moth (insect, moth) - Bagging, Nylon footies
5. Apple Maggot (insect, fly) - Bagging, Nylon footies
6. San Jose Scale (insect) – Dormant oil, fish oil, M-Pede + sticker-spreader,
7. Leaf Rollers (insect, moth) – Bt (Dipel) + Entrust (feeding stimulant)
8. Spider Mites (not an insect, related to spiders, mite) – M-Pede, stylet oil + sticker-spreader

B. Pears
Major Pests
1. Pear Scab (fungus) – Lime sulfur, winter, + sticker-spreader
2. Mildew (fungus) – same as apples
3. Fireblight (bacteria) - same as apples
3. Codling Moth (insect, moth) - same as apples
4. Pear Psylla (insect, moth) - Dormant, oil, lime sulfur + sticker-spreader
5. Leaf Rollers (insect, moth) - same as apples
7. Spider Mites (not an insect, related to spiders, mite) - same as apples

C. Asian pears
1. Codling Moth (insect, moth) - same as apples
2. Leaf Rollers (insect, moth) - same as apples

D. Cherries
Major Pests
1. Cherry Fruit fly (insect, fly) – 4 inch diameter red ball + sticker
2. Shot Hole Fungus (fungus) -
3. Birds – netting + good luck

E. Peaches/Nectarines
Major Pests
1. Peach leaf curl (fungus) – lime sulfur or 53% copper spray, mid-December, mid-January, end of January
2. Oriental Fruit Moth (insect) – pheromone trap for Oriental fruit moth

F. Cane Fruit
Major Pests
1. Leaf Rollers (insect, moth) – same as apples
2. Spider Mites (not an insect, related to spiders, mite) – same as apples

G. Blueberries
Major Pests
1. Birds - netting + good luck

H. Strawberries
Major Pests
1. Slugs – Nocturnal, place boards, overturned grapefruit peels
2. Birds – netting + good luck

IV. Rootstock
- Know the rootstock name (M.9, OH x F 33) (MINI-DWARF, SEMI-DWARF!)
- Rootstocks control the size of the plant
- Rootstocks determine if you stake and irrigate

V. Fruit Tree Training
- Know in advance what tree form you want when the plant matures
- Train and prune accordingly

VI. Plant Profile
Questions to ask the plant before purchase.

Variety: ‘Hudson’s Golden Gem’

Rootstock: M.9 - must be stake and irrigate

Soil Preference: Loam, clay loam

Light Preference: Minimum of 8 hours

Water Preference: One inch per week in summer, withhold water in fall

Pruning/Training: Slender spindle, prune in winter until tree is formed then most pruning in summer

Bloom Period: B early mid-season

Pollinator Required? Yes

Harvest Date(s): mid-October

Disease Potential: Scab and mildew resistant
Controls: None

Pest Potential: Codling moth, apple maggot
Codling moth: pheromone traps to monitor emergence in early April
Apple maggot: pheromone traps in early-June to October
• Controls: Bag fruit when fruit 1/2 to 3/4 inch in size OR
• Disposable nylon footies slipped over fruit

VI. Suburban Pollinators
A. Mason bees - place in orchard in March
1. Require 5/16ths inch diameter hole, at least 4-6 inches deep for nesting
B. Bumble bees - develop habitat

VII. Plants That Attract Beneficial Insects
- Select species so that some are in bloom at all times

Plan a border of plants or scatter plants within your garden or orchard. Select plants that will have a succession of blooms from spring through fall. This will provide for the requirements of many adult species of beneficial insects. It will also provide beauty to your landscape.
In your landscape design include plants of different heights, low growing for ground beetles to hide and lacewings to lay eggs. Some examples are thyme, rosemary, and mints. Taller plants will provide nectar and pollen for hoverflies and predatory wasps. Let some of the "weeds" bloom, especially in the umbel family, like Queens Ann Lace, sweet fennel, and dill.
Other strategies to attract and hold beneficial insects in your ecosystem are: keep leaves free from dust, dust interferes with beneficial insects; keep a natural area, let an area "go wild"; provide water; keep a shallow dish filled with pebbles and water for beneficials.
Here are a few plants and the beneficial insects that they will attract to your landscape.


Alyssum Tachinids, syrphids, chalcids
Angelica (Angelica Archangelica) Lady beetles, predatory wasps, green lacewings
Aster (Callistephus chinensis) Hoverflies
Baby blue eyes (Nomophila menziesii) Parasitic wasps, pirate bugs
Bishop's Weed (Ammi majus) Parasitic wasps, pirate bugs, syrphid flies
Black–eye Susan Various insects, hoverflies
Borage (Borago officinalis) Bees
Buckwheat (Fagopyrum esculentum) Aphelinid bronconid and ichneumon wasps, bees, tachinid fly
Butterfly bush (Buddleia davidii) Butterflies, bees
Candy Tuft (Iberis sp.) Hoverfly (Syrphid fly)
Chervil, Salad (Anthriscus Cerefolium) Hoverflies, tachina flies, minute pirate bugs, bees, brochonid, chalcid, ichneumon, and predatory wasps, lacewings
Clovers, white & yellow sweet (Melilotus alba & M. officinalis) Predatory wasps
Columbine (Aquilegia hybirda) Butterflies, bees
Coreopsis Syrphid flies, lacewings, lady beetles, parasitic wasps
Coriander (Coriandrum sativum) Hoverflies (Syrphid fly), bees
Corn cockle (Agrostemma sp) Lady beetles, parasitic wasps
Cornflowers (Centaurea cyanus) Butterflies
Cosmos (Cosmos bipinnatus) Lacewings, lady beetles
Cowpea (Vigna unguiculata ssp.) Predatory wasps
Crown pink (Lychnis coronaria) Syrphid flies, parasitic wasps
Daisy, chamomile, mints, (spearmint, peppermint) Predatory wasps, hoverflies, robber flies
Dill (Anethum graveolens) Syrphid flies, tachina flies, minute pirate bugs, bees,
brochonid, chalcid, ichneumon, and predatory wasps, lacewings
Evening Primrose (Oenothera biennis) Butterflies, moths, bees, ground beetle
Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) Syrphid flies, tachina flies, bees, braconid, ichneumon, and predatory wasps
Fennel, sweet (Foeniculum vulgare dulce) Braonidae, chalcidoides, ichneumonidae (parasitic wasps)
Feverfew (Chrysanthemum parthenium) Syrphid flies
Flowering tobacco (Nicotiana alata) Moths
Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea) Bees
Globe thistle (Echinops spp.) Butterflies, bees
Goldenrods (Solidago canadensis) Bees, syrphid flies
Hollyhock (Alcea rosea) Bees
Honeysuckle (Lonicera spp.) Moths
Honesty (Lunaria annua) Butterflies
Ice plant (Sedum spectabile) Butterflies, bees, hoverflies
Lamb's quarters (Cenopodium album) Hymenopteran parasitoids
Lovage (Levisticum officinale) Hoverflies, tachina flies, minute pirate bugs, bees,
brochonid, chalcid, ichneumon, and predatory wasps, lacewings
Marjoram (Origanum majorana) Butterflies, bees
Marguerite (Chrysanthemum frutescens) Hoverflies
Marigold, African (Tagetes erecta) Butterflies, bees
Marigold, French (Tagetes patula) Butterflies, bees, hoverflies
Michaelmas (Aster novi–belgii) Butterflies, bees, hoverflies
Nasturtium (Tropaeolum minus) Various insects, hoverflies
Perennial cornflower (Centaurea cyanus) Butterflies
*Poison-hemlock (Conium maculatium) (POISON) Hoverflies, lady beetles, lacewings, predatory wasps
Pot marigold (Calendula spp.) Hoverflies
Red Clover (Trifolium pratense) Aphelinind wasps, bees
Rue (POISON) Parasitoid and predatory wasps
Snapdragon (Antirrihinum Malus) Bees
Strawflowers (Helichrysum bracteatum) Various insects, hoverflies
Sweet Williams (Dianthus burettes) Butterflies, moths, hoverflies
Tansy (Tanacetum vulgare) (Pest plant) Lacewings, lady beetles, pirate bugs
Valerian (Centranthus ruber) Butterflies, moths
White sweet clover Tachina flies, bees, predatory wasps
Vetch, hairy Minute pirate bug, lady beetle
Yarrows, Common (Achilles millifolium) Lady beetles, bees, braconid wasps
Queen Ann Lace, Sweet Cicely Hoverflies, tachina flies, minute pirate bugs, bees, brochonid, chalcid, ichneumon, and predatory wasps, lacewings

* Not the one that killed Socrates. This plant has purple spots on stems and is in the UMBELLIFERAE family, outstanding predator attracting plant in my ecosystem.

Integrated Fertility Management (IFM) 1.800.332.3179. Knowledgeable, helpful, one of best organic supply outlets.


Wed Oct 04, 2006 2:43 pm
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