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 Looking for Orchard Consultant 
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Joined: Mon Aug 06, 2012 1:18 pm
Posts: 5
Post Looking for Orchard Consultant
Has anyone out there every hired or know about where I might find an orchard consultant? I have recently aquired a 2 1/2 acre orchard and am looking to have someone onsite to walk through and give me direct answers to many many many questions.


Thu Dec 06, 2012 4:10 pm
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Joined: Tue Jan 26, 2010 1:42 pm
Posts: 186
Post Re: Looking for Orchard Consultant
a good question.....it may depend on where you live....I assume you are near Portland.....as a matter of fact, I was just there in Portland this past weekend not far from the HOS arboretum.

1. If you lived in Utah or in Eastern Washington, I could maybe put you in touch with some fruit growers for whom I have picked fruit.....and they have been doing this for decades as part of their family business and are quite knowledgeable. Some would be too busy, some would chat on the phone for a half hour, and most would require to be paid a fair amount if they made a personal visit.

2. If you were in Seattle, I would tell you everything I know (in two seconds) myself and probably do it for free..... you are right....there is nothing quite like actually being at the place yourself with someone in person.....when I have the time and the place is close to me, I enjoy doing this.

3. If you are near Portland, I know very little about this, but apparently there is a get-together of professionals in late January.....see if you can get this website link below.

http://www.oregonhorticulturalsociety.org/

I have found that when I go to a Hort Society meeting I don't even have to pay to go into the classes but can just hang out near the trade show, ask around to all the people hanging out there, and find a lot of willing professionals who are quite eager to talk to me....if they can't help they can help me to "corner" someone who can.

4. Another possibility is to see if an Extension agent near you will make "house calls"......some indeed will if the place is 2 and 1/2 acres and do it as part of their government service for free. You have to call around and find the extension agent near you.

http://extension.oregonstate.edu/

5. There are people who read this board who could do it and I am sure could let you know in advance what their standard fee is.....and I am sure that some on this board can respond and maybe even more could respond if you went to an HOS meeting.......


Of course, it helps to know who really knows what and how much they know......but you can get a sense of that.......and don't necessarily have to listen to just one person........I would try to find out what their biases are (organic or not, say) and what their experience is......and then realize that with some things like pruning there are some things that are universally true and some things that are simply different styles depending on different pruners.


Thu Dec 06, 2012 4:54 pm
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Joined: Mon Aug 06, 2012 1:18 pm
Posts: 5
Post Re: Looking for Orchard Consultant
Thank you for that. I am located in Gresham OR. I advertised for the same on Craigslist and got a lot of people out of work telling me they were hard workers and loved working outside. All good for sure, and would love to help them, but Im in the market for expert advice. :-)

I have 410 what I would call dwarf or maybe mid-dwarf trees all unpruned for the past 5 years. Its a mess.


Thu Dec 06, 2012 5:09 pm
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Joined: Tue Jan 26, 2010 1:42 pm
Posts: 186
Post Re: Looking for Orchard Consultant
Well, then, you may want to prune them yourself (the best choice and the one I hope you can take)....but if not, another possibility is to take a little drive over to the Hood River area where there are a lot of commercial growers who have contacts with migrants and others who are just itching for some pruning work to do at this time of the year (especially when the snow flies) and would love to make a day of it and come over and prune your place.....

That is probably NOT your best first choice, though.....but just one more idea to think about......the first thing for you to do is to get a consultant in there, like you said.......and he would know by looking at your orchard answers to questions I would have then such as, "just how much restorative pruning will I do on my first year? I may not want to do it all at once."

These are only ideas to think about.....I have labored for many orchardists and you can email me for second (free) opinions at
DonRicks@hotmail.com

but, not seeing your orchard in person, my ideas may not be too useful......and, like you said, "willing laborers" on CraigsList may not be too useful, either......at least until you get someone in there with some expertise.


Thu Dec 06, 2012 6:38 pm
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Joined: Sun May 15, 2005 10:57 am
Posts: 1334
Location: Portland, OR
Post Re: Looking for Orchard Consultant
Do you know how to prune? If you know how to do it, I would just prune it.

A consultant could be a very worthwhile arrangement, but you don't want to pay consultant rates for someone to prune.

Do you mostly have apples or pears? You don't want to prune stone fruit this time of year until you get dry weather-rare as you know.

How much do you know about orchards? This will be helpful in determining how to use a consultant.

There are very many decades-experienced fruit growers around here who could help you. You might want to get someone out there for a day or a couple of hours just to get a preliminary plan going. Then you could figure out how much time for a pruner, what you want to do and how you could get there.

I could give you the names of some people who could help you with that, if that's what you're interested in.
John S
PDX OR


Fri Dec 07, 2012 11:23 pm
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Joined: Mon Aug 06, 2012 1:18 pm
Posts: 5
Post Re: Looking for Orchard Consultant
I have been growing berries for years. I now have Asian pears and apples of multiple varieties. Seems I have some Persimmons too. All trees I'm certain are dwarf trees. I've watched a lot of youtube stuff which has been helpful, but nothing of the extreme nature that I am dealing with. My trees have been VERY neglected in that they have scaffold branches 4 to 6 inches going straight up through the center of the trees (some 15 to 20 feet tall). So many branches have broken off etc. I'm attacking on all fronts as much as I can, but I'm just not sure what to do with some of the larger scaffold branches. And of course I have a volume issue (410 trees). Wish my day job didn't pay so much or I would be out there all day every day. I love working in the orchard. Each tree is inundated with blackberries, so that is the first thing I do before even thinking about pruning. I clear out the black berries, then prune off most of the little sapplings inside the tree, trim off broken stuff, then onto the next tree. Not doing much serious pruning yet on each tree until I feel more confident about what I'm doing. I get the conical shape goal and general scaffolding concepts. I know on a broad view, I want air circulation through the tree, plus as much sunlight penetration as possible. Plan to enlist my son and daughter once I know what I'm doing.

Thanks for all your posts!


Mon Dec 10, 2012 3:37 pm
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Joined: Mon Oct 25, 2010 9:02 pm
Posts: 2
Post Re: Looking for Orchard Consultant
Where is your orchard?


Sun Dec 30, 2012 10:20 pm
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Joined: Mon Aug 06, 2012 1:18 pm
Posts: 5
Post Re: Looking for Orchard Consultant
Pleasant Valley. Gresham outskirts. Used to be owned by the Pai's several years ago. Invester owner let it go for 6 years.


Mon Dec 31, 2012 11:04 am
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