Starting an Orchard: Apples, Cherries, Peaches, Plums and Pears

Learn where to plant your fruit trees, how to prune them, harvesting techniques and more.

  • Pear Trees
    Pear trees can be some of the hardest fruit trees to grow. Prune your newly-planted saplings carefully to prevent too-rapid growth.
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    This diagram demonstrates the proper drainage requirements and soil amendments to ensure healthy fruit tree growth.
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    Prune carefully to prevent damage that bugs, fungi and diseases can take advantage of.
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    Proper maintenance of your fruit trees will reduce pests and boost their resistance to diseases.

  • Pear Trees
  • 019-021-01
  • 019-023-01
  • 019-022-01_01

Special Note: All material here reprinted from Grow It! Copyright © 1972 by Richard W. Langer. The title of this excerpted chapter is "Fruit." 

Loveliest of trees, the cherry now
Is hung with bloom along the bough,
And stands about the woodland ride
Wearing white for Eastertide.

—A.E. Housman  

All worms have an apple,
But not all apples have a worm.
—Peter Reeves

There's no place on the farm quite like the orchard. For dew-fresh fruit, but also for picnics in blossom time, watching the bees gather nectar for your honey, and simply enjoying life. Making a detour on your way to feed the chickens in the morning and stopping by the orchard for a night-chilled Transparent apple is a country experience hard to pass up.

The only problem is, unless your land comes with an established orchard, it's going to take a couple of years' wait. That's why starting an orchard should be one of the first things you set out. If, as is likely, you move to the country in spring or summer, planning your grove of fruit trees right away and getting the trees in time for fall planting will give you a year's head start over putting it off till you're settled in. Even if you don't have time to get the trees, you can sow a green manure crop of rye to help prepare the land for early spring planting the next year. Fruit trees can be set in either season as long as they are naturally dormant when transplanted.

To speed up your first yield even further, try a few dwarf trees. You probably won't bother much with these once your big ones start bearing, but they will give you an initial crop to tide you over the second or third year of waiting.

R. Kourik
12/8/2017 10:21:50 AM

Pitch in wounds only increases the chances of rot as moisture ends up between the pitch and wood and doesn't dry out fast. All educated arborists know the use of pitch is a net loss. .

R. Kourik
12/8/2017 10:19:24 AM

Pitch in wounds only increases the chances of rot as moisture ends up between the pitch and wood and doesn't dry out fast. All educated arborists know the use of pitch is a net loss. .

R. Kourik
12/8/2017 10:18:01 AM

The use of pitch in wounds actually speeds up rot as moisture ends up between the pitch and the wood and takes longer to dry out. Any trained arborist knows this.



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