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Author Topic: Planting a new Orchard  (Read 15963 times)


  • Joined Aug 2012
Re: Planting a new Orchard
« Reply #15 on: December 31, 2012, 11:49:30 am »
have a look and see if you can find any old text or maps showing the location of any old orchards in the area

the local knowledge concerning which varieties of apple and pears grow well in your area may now be lost but some of the old trees may have survived at the side of the road, edge of fields etc.

it is unlikely that people 100-200 years ago would have grafted just any old scion material, they would have selected scions from trees for the following criteria, abundance, consistency and most important of all, the time of year the fruit would be ready.

crawford pears are the earliest in scotland, citron des carmes  pears did not ripen quickly enough in northern climes and wouldnt stay on the branches long enough to ripen. Black auchen pears were the latest pear to be ready, mid dec,

the above are eating pears, for perry pears, speak with the gloucester orchard group for advice. indeed, speaking with other local orchard groups, commercial growers or even local enthusiasts would be worth the effort

consider planting the edge of your orchard with as many of these old varieties as possible, and use them as a testing ground to find out which types grow best in your area and ground.

for shallow soil, consider placing a slab in the bottom of the planting hole to help turn the roots sideways. old grave stones were popular in times gone by. 
Voss Electric Fence


  • Joined Jul 2009
Re: Planting a new Orchard
« Reply #16 on: March 31, 2013, 09:27:58 pm »
Don't bank on the Shropshires not eating your apple trees. You'll still need to protect your trees.

I've planted around 200 cider trees since 2008 in three lots.

My first two plantings were maidens on 106 and 111 and were obtained from Frank Mathews's of Tenbury. They were really good well grown trees and cost me £4.95p each. To get that price I needed to buy the seperate varieties in lots of 25.

This year I planted another 56 trees but this time I had them from Adams Apples and paid £7.00 each for them. With this producer I had a much wider choice and was able to mix and match. If I'm honest these trees were no where near as forward as the previous trees that I'd planted but great oakd from acorns grow and we'll have to wait and see how they go. I'm sure that they'll be OK.

With the root stock that I've planted you can grow in excess of 200 trees to the acres.

If you need any help or advice with cider making, I'd be happy to help you if I can. This will be my second year of making cider commercially.


  • Joined Aug 2012
Re: Planting a new Orchard
« Reply #17 on: April 03, 2013, 01:11:41 pm »
for shallow top soil, consider laying a slab in the ground underneath the rootstock, it will turn the roots sideways.

pigs will tear up the ground, so unless you plan to re-level the terrain, think twice, flatter ground will help with maintainance and any potential drainage you need.

consider a chicken coop on wheels, periodically move it along a line of trees. thety will eat insects, mice, voles and also clear the grass from around the tree. this can act as a barrier to water.

10000 trees is a commercial orchard, 100 is more of a hobby, it may be more work collecting from full standards but doable. also, full standards can be grown for timber and fire wood.

small farmers grew fruit in the past, but due to the unreliable nature of the crop, (re-last year and probably this year) they planted below the trees another crop.

if you look towards the end of this article
you can see roys map of the carse of gowrie 1748-54), which shows the fields edged with trees, not just fruit trees but nut trees and other timber trees, The point here is a consideration about just how commercial you want your orchard tobe? how big?. It has been pointed out that very large orchards are a considerable amount of work and due to the size of the trees, even half standards, growing in poly tunnels is not really an option and modern agriculture relies on such items to protect and ensure crops. After saying this, some of the new apple trees from brogdale, very resistent  to desease, small, almost nothing more than a stick in the ground, very fruitful, even after only 3-4 years and could possibly be grown in a poly tunnel and therefore protected from nature. Protection from rabbit and voles in the form of fencing is a must and can be expensive and high maintainance, although, pears and plums seem less appealing to rabbits than apples. If you consider your fruit trees as a source of firewood and timber which sometimes do give crops of fruit, then 100 standards around a field will in 10-15 years give enough firewood each year for a 3 bed house. prune them straight and true for the 1st 5 years then they should look after themselves. 100 fruit trees, even on a mediocre year will still give vast quantities of fruit, for a cottage industry such as jam or cidre making. If you only plant around the margins of your land, the land can then be used for some other crop/endevour. Selection of fruit types is important for your location and pollination reasons


  • Joined Aug 2012
Re: Planting a new Orchard
« Reply #18 on: April 03, 2013, 01:15:53 pm »
also, consider learning to graft, this will ensure a very cheap source of replacenent trees


  • Joined Jul 2009
Re: Planting a new Orchard
« Reply #19 on: April 03, 2013, 03:07:04 pm »
Very interesting but one thing occurs to me. If you have shallow soil, wont the roots of your trees go side ways anyway? When you say a slab, what do you mean exactly ? A slab as in a paving type slab?


  • Joined Aug 2012
Re: Planting a new Orchard
« Reply #20 on: April 05, 2013, 10:59:26 am »
yes, a paving slab will do, in times gone by, they used old grave stones


  • Joined Aug 2012
Re: Planting a new Orchard
« Reply #21 on: April 18, 2013, 09:58:09 pm »
"If you have shallow soil, wont the roots of your trees go side ways anyway"

no, pear tree roots will grow down into the poorer soil, diverting the roots into the better quality top soil will improve the trees but, as always, there is a trade off, the trees are more suseptible to being blown over :)

Scrumble The Goose

  • Joined Oct 2011
  • Berwyn Moutains
Planting a new Orchard
« Reply #22 on: May 15, 2013, 07:56:52 am »
Hi all
I thought I'd post an update and  pass on what I have learned over the last 6 months or so.
I planted a total of 95 Apple & Pear Trees, the majority being Apple (some 80 trees). All full vigourous root stock. The majority of the trees where planted within 3 days of them coming out of the ground, just before Christmas 2012. Each tree was planted using an I cut. I used a 1 meter length of Tubex tree guard and supported this with a wooden stake.
Planting the 80 odd trees took around a day in total.
With the exception of two trees, all of them have budded, most have leaves, some have blossom. I have now changed the Tubex tree guarde for MDPE mesh, again supported by the wooden post. The trees them selves are not supported, so making sure they don't rub around anything sharp (so damaging the stems) is a concern, but so far no problems.
The MDPE mesh I used is 1.2m (4'6" foot or so) wide and comes in a 50m ( 75 foot or so) roll. Cutting it into 75cm lengths works out about right when rolled to form a tube. I stapled the mesh to the wooden posts with my staple gun. Use a staple every 15cm (6 inches). Quick and seems to work OK.
Of the two trees that are showing no signs of life, one suffered a Rabbit attack, the other is just dead.
I haven't cleared the ground around the trees, and there's grass growing. However, we have an old Ash tree which has to come down, and apart from most of the wood being used for the wood burner, the brash is going to be shredded into mulch, and I'll use that around the base of each of the trees. I tried a similar thing last year, as an experiment, by using shredded pallets. There's a firm who advertise on eBay, who sell 1 ton sacks of shredded pallets. I used what was left over from a poly tunnel path jobbie, around the base of an old Apple tree. It works ok-ish, and keeps most of the weeds & grass down. I think it will be OK for a few years, by which time the roots will have established themselves. (In the end we had around 4 Ton's of the stuff from the firm in Ellesmere Port. Makes graet path ways for the poly tunnel and such like).
The remaing trees (Apple, Pears and so on) all had those plastic spiral tree guards wrapped around them, as Rabbit protection. In main this has worked, but it became apparent that a careful check once a week is in order, as the weather can dislodge the guards, and those pesky rabbits are in like a shot.  As part of my on going scheme, I've now replaced the spiral tree guards with the MDPE Mesh, and this seems to be working OK. 
The trees with plastic spiral tree guards suffered significant Rabbit damage during the snow the other month. As the snow was so deep, un guarded parts of the trees where exposed, and Bugsy & his mates just trotted along and help themselves to the bark. I suppose they where hungry.
The spiral tree guards at 300mm (12 inches) just didn't give enough protection. Luckily the trees that did get attacked all seem to have survived, allbeit with bark damage. I've applied that paint / sealent to the damaged areas, and hopefully the trees will be OK. So far so good.
Clearly the rabbits took the opportunity of using the trees as a fast food take away, and as part of my defences, I put Hay & Rabbit food out as a distraction.Well, why not engage the enemy ? I'm not sure this did any good, but it sure made me feel as though I was doing something! 
I have 6 or so spare trees, which I have planted in a holding or nursery patch. Spares, if you will.
All in all things are going OK. The next steps on the scheme involve fence improvements & hedge planting around around the Orchard. I was going to put the hedges in earlier this year, but what with the snow and all that never got around to it. I'll put the second fence in, and plant the hedge in the Autumn / Winter.
I'm investigating Bees, and am trying to contact someone locally who might like to put a Hive in the Orchard, so we'll see how that goes.
The trees I got from Bill & Chava at Welsh Mountain Cider, and I am very pleased. They are highly reccommended.
A aka Scrumble the Goose


  • Joined Jan 2013
  • Orkney
Re: Planting a new Orchard
« Reply #23 on: May 15, 2013, 08:11:33 am »
thank you for the update, a very interesting thread! I'd be very interested to hear how you go about your hedge.  :tree:


  • Joined Jul 2012
  • Kent
  • HesterF
Re: Planting a new Orchard
« Reply #24 on: May 17, 2013, 12:30:57 am »
Sounds good. I've planted about half as many trees as you (spread over a lot more fruit too - lots of cherries and pears too). I've used wire chicken mesh, stapled as you describe to a wooden stake but I've staked my trees too - why did you decide not to stake them? Is it not windy there? Mine are all doing great - I think (the persimmon is yet to do much but it probably will be later) - but I'm worried about the amount of watering I'll have to do through dry spells.


Scrumble The Goose

  • Joined Oct 2011
  • Berwyn Moutains
Re: Planting a new Orchard
« Reply #25 on: May 19, 2013, 09:17:40 pm »
Well the main orchard's purpose is cider & juice production. That's the 95 or so trees in the main orchard. We have more fruit trees, comprising around 5 Pear trees (for Perry)  2 or 3 eating Pears, 5 or 6 cooking apples, then plums, medlars, mulberry, blue berries and so on. Lots of fruit.
The main orchard is in a field, with a gentle slope running down from West to East. The filed gets sun from dawn, right through the day until about 2 or 3 minutes before sunset. It also gets the sun almost all of the year. The ground is well drained, although shallow (about 18inches of top soil before getting to compacted shale).  The site is exposed, and with the prevailing wind coming from the west. There is an ancient hedge to the west, which acts as a wind break, which is good.
Whilst most people choose to stake the trees, I simply used the Tubex to support the trees. Since moving to the HDPE guards, there is no tree support at they are free to move around, albeit within the guard. I have chosen to go this route as I have been advised by a number of people (quite independently) that this will promote strong root growth. Given the site, and the root stock being full vigour, I thought this a good way to go.
A (aka Scrumble the Goose)


  • Joined Aug 2015
Re: Planting a new Orchard
« Reply #26 on: June 26, 2018, 05:02:25 am »
Is there a good place to order hundreds of fruit trees at a reduced rate?


  • Joined Jul 2011
Re: Planting a new Orchard
« Reply #27 on: June 26, 2018, 06:53:19 am »
I was always advised to tie trees to a stake low down... prevents root rock but leaves the tree needing to support itself against the elements for a strong trunk.I know of no cheap source of bulk trees of a good range of varieties. the only chep fruit trees are the early year offerings from lidl, b&M or the supermarkets although you could likely negotiate with any of the bigger growers when talking hundreds to get a  discount.Real entrepreneurs might even consider growing their own rootstocks and garfting but you add 3yrs+ to any project and have all the learning disasters to cope with.
I bought 30 different varieties from Adam's Apples but I've added 20 or so extras from the cheap sources - cherries, plums and pears mostly since th apple varieties are only ever cox (which is nice but one tree is enough), discovery (not the best apple) and golden delicious (which is anything but)


  • Joined Apr 2016
Re: Planting a new Orchard
« Reply #28 on: June 26, 2018, 08:21:11 am »
Parkers wholesale provide decent trees for not much more than lidl, etc.

Disclaimer: I'm not an expert on trees so its decent from an amateur's point of view.


  • Joined Mar 2009
  • Stirlingshire, Central Scotland
Re: Planting a new Orchard
« Reply #29 on: June 26, 2018, 08:57:07 am »

I did a day course a few months ago, and the new things I picked up were:

* Staking the tree is to keep the roots solid, not the tree itself. So tie it securely and low down.
* New trees have to be watered in their first and second years if the weather is dry.
* Whilst the most common rootstock is MM106, this is actually (in the opinion of the course leader) too big for most orchards. Instead, most of us should be planting smaller rootstocks like M9 and M27, and putting more trees in, closer together. This will give smaller, more manageable trees, and more productivity per unit area.
* Trees grow really well against a wall. (Actually we've seen that ourselves. Our geese munched a load of newly planted apple trees, and I planted a couple of the mauled but not dead ones against our hayshed wall just to see if they would recover. They've now overtaken the ones that are still in the orchard and didn't get munched).
* Branches pointing upwards promote growth. Horizontal branches promote fruit. As a result, we tied lots of branches down to a horizontal angle last winter, using baler twine. I'll let you know in a couple of years whether it worked!
"All fungi are edible. Some fungi are only edible once." -Terry Pratchett


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