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Author Topic: Plum orchard, what to do?  (Read 1328 times)

Tyla

  • Joined Nov 2019
Plum orchard, what to do?
« on: November 12, 2019, 04:34:22 pm »
I have got an incredibley over grown orchard, probably about 6 acres in total, mostly plum but also some apples.

It's been horribley neglected and is full of self seeded ash which is mostly dying of ADB. The fruit trees themselves seem to be ok, if a bit tall, and created masses of fruit this year.

The obvious answer is to clear the ash and prune the trees and I have started doing that. It's a long job so I'm going to have to do it a bit at a time.

The plan is to start with about an acre and a half this winter, cut out and burn the ash then run pigs and or hens over it in spring to stop the brambles reclaiming it. Eventually I'd like it to grass over and keep the sheep there.

Does this seem a reasonable plan? Any different ideas or suggestions would be happily considered.

Also, what to do with, what I assume will be, a lot of plums?
Voss Electric Fence

arobwk

  • Joined Nov 2015
  • Kernow - some say it's in England !
Re: Plum orchard, what to do?
« Reply #1 on: November 12, 2019, 04:50:57 pm »
Mmm, that's a big orchard Tyla! 
I'm sure I'll think of something more useful to say in a while  :)

Steph Hen

  • Joined Jul 2013
  • Angus Scotland.
Re: Plum orchard, what to do?
« Reply #2 on: November 12, 2019, 06:37:12 pm »
Think you have to prune plums in late summer rather than winter. Apples best in winter.
What are your plans for your plums and fruit!? Will you use /pick it?  Do you like the varieties, if not you could hack them down and graft on some that you prefer.

How much would pigs do by themselves without clearing much yourself? The ash will presumably die, fall and rot down by itself. How big are the trees - Are they full standard or are they on dwarfing stock and in desperate need of clearing the ground around them?

Tyla

  • Joined Nov 2019
Re: Plum orchard, what to do?
« Reply #3 on: November 12, 2019, 07:55:02 pm »
Hi Steph, no idea what the varieties are. The plums are delicious and the apples are mostly cookers. The pruning is going to be a future project, the ash trees are tightly grown throughout the orchard. Up to now they have kept the undergrowth out by shading but now they are dead the brambles will take over without intervention. I have started clear felling the ash and the aim to use the pigs to grub up the bramble prior to either reseeding or just allowing the grass to come through

Anke

  • Joined Dec 2009
  • St Boswells, Scottish Borders
Re: Plum orchard, what to do?
« Reply #4 on: November 13, 2019, 08:24:16 am »
You will struggle to keep your pigs away from the trees... even if they don't chew them, by rubbing against them they will probably damage them.

TBH, I have no idea what I would do with 6 acres of plum trees...

doganjo

  • Joined Aug 2012
  • Clackmannanshire
  • Qui? Moi?
    • ABERDON GUNDOGS for work and show
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Re: Plum orchard, what to do?
« Reply #5 on: November 13, 2019, 06:56:05 pm »
6 acres of fruit trees is at commercial level.  Why not have a variety - plums, cherries, cooking apples, eating apples, pears, damsons, crab apples, chestnut, hazel, walnut etc?
Always have been, always will be, a WYSIWYG - black is black, white is white - no grey in my life! But I'm mellowing in my old age

pgkevet

  • Joined Jul 2011
Re: Plum orchard, what to do?
« Reply #6 on: November 13, 2019, 08:17:56 pm »
6 acres of any mix of fruit trees is still getting commercial rather than just family and friends.
I certainly support additional varieties if just personal use and Doganjo's etc should include fig, peach, apricot, medlar, mulberry, monkey puzzle - assuming growing conditions have a decent chance of ever getting crops, even if only in good years. Even cold tolerant varieties of Pecan and the rest of the pecan family whose name has just gone out of my head. Look up agroforestry research and work your way through the amazing possibilities...
If it means cutting down some excess apples you might even make a few pennies selling apple wood blanks for wood turners on ebay.
Hickory nuts - brain came back..
« Last Edit: November 13, 2019, 08:22:38 pm by pgkevet »

cloddopper

  • Joined Jun 2013
  • South Wales .Carmarthenshire. SA18
Re: Plum orchard, what to do?
« Reply #7 on: November 15, 2019, 10:48:03 am »
I helped my mate Don reclaim a 2.5 acre  orchard , he purchases a Husqvarna wheeled brush cutter that had a steel whip on it and cut paths through the brambles & nettles  .  I raked the trashed stuff up  carted it off to be burnt when dry,  then helped his wife to spray 50 x 50 mtr squares at a time with Grazon 90 .  They got a sprayer for their mini tractor in the end as back pack spraying was hard work .
After a few weeks they put 15 geese on the grass inside a tripple wire electric fence enclosure ( to try and keep the foxes out ) .
By the time it was all done , treated & growing grass  not only had they geese & chickens on it they also had eight Sohay sheep inside triple electric fencing . They were excellent grass cutters & fitted  in the chest freezer with ease when harvested .

 Don also used the sweeper on the back of his ride on grass cutter to collect fallen fruit  to feed to the five pigs he had in  adifferent area of the 8 acre small holding .
Strong belief , triggers the mind to find the way ... Dyslexia just makes it that bit more amusing & interesting

arobwk

  • Joined Nov 2015
  • Kernow - some say it's in England !
Re: Plum orchard, what to do?
« Reply #8 on: November 15, 2019, 05:55:40 pm »
...... (to try and keep the foxes out ) .


Did it work ?

doganjo

  • Joined Aug 2012
  • Clackmannanshire
  • Qui? Moi?
    • ABERDON GUNDOGS for work and show
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Re: Plum orchard, what to do?
« Reply #9 on: November 15, 2019, 08:13:33 pm »
Jumping on the back of this - my new house has 2 fifths of an acre approx of grass, on a slope, with a spring which has just been redirected into a council drain - with 5 foot fencing just installed.  It's mainly amenity for me and my dogs, but I'd like to make it work a little.  I'll put the usual rasps, blackcurrants etc round the fenceline, and some honeysuckle, clematis etc; but wondered how many fruit trees and what varieties i could add.  As I'm elderly, and fat, so not very fit, I can't do much of the work myself, so need space to get the grass mowed round trees
Any thoughts?

Photo is an approximation based on the google maps download
« Last Edit: November 15, 2019, 08:19:27 pm by doganjo »
Always have been, always will be, a WYSIWYG - black is black, white is white - no grey in my life! But I'm mellowing in my old age

Steph Hen

  • Joined Jul 2013
  • Angus Scotland.
Re: Plum orchard, what to do?
« Reply #10 on: November 16, 2019, 07:09:09 am »
Tyla, how tall are the trees? If they're little live stock more likely to damag them or be out competed by weeds, if they start bracnching at six foot management is different. Good that the plums are tasty. For future have a look at what you can top work onto the trees you have as it's much faster to get fruit off than replanting. Eg. You can change some of your cookers to eaters each year. Look up Stephen Hayes on YouTube for this.

Consider tree guards if you're putting stock in or if removal of brambles will open the area up to deer.
Brambles and scrub, though unsightly can be protective.

Pkvet, Jugulans? 



pgkevet

  • Joined Jul 2011
Re: Plum orchard, what to do?
« Reply #11 on: November 16, 2019, 07:27:50 am »
Juglans is the overall family name walnuts/pecans etc . It was the hickory nut sub family I did mean (which is the pecan close relative)
DoganJo
As ever it comes down to money. For easy care there is a lot to commend my constantly banging on about espaliers with cordons as an option . You can shove an awful lot of varieties into a smaller area with good levels of harvest but variety/variety especially with apples. Adam is your man for advice re your area for best types. We all tend to forget the amazing option of rootstocks from huge down to M29 step-over apples which can be really cool around a flower bed (but it means bending which i don't do now). or grafting into family apples.
It comes down to what you like to eat as much as room..and what you are prepared to gamble on. Like my apricot which will give ocassional ruits where I am in some lucky years. The same applies to my curl resistant peach - it won't be more than 1 year in 4/5 that i get fruit mid wales.

cloddopper

  • Joined Jun 2013
  • South Wales .Carmarthenshire. SA18
Re: Plum orchard, what to do?
« Reply #12 on: November 21, 2019, 11:28:02 pm »
...... (to try and keep the foxes out ) .


Did it work ?

 :farmer:   My .223 CF & night sight was somewhat more effective 
Strong belief , triggers the mind to find the way ... Dyslexia just makes it that bit more amusing & interesting

Tyla

  • Joined Nov 2019
Re: Plum orchard, what to do?
« Reply #13 on: December 09, 2019, 07:26:31 pm »
Wow, so much information! Thank you. The orchard is part of a bigger plot and I'm trying to do a lot of things at once while keeping job and life going! I've started clearing an acre for this winter and will focus on bringing it back to grass with the help of the tractor flail and chickens. I think pigs may do more harm than good to the tree so will locate them elsewhere

 
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