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Where to grow fruit trees

            


Joined: Feb 15, 2011
Posts: 34
I want to plant some fruit trees this spring, but I am unsure as to where they should be located. The problem is my home is situated in wetlands. The house is set into the side of a hill with no back yard to speak of, only woods. (to see a picture go to this thread: http://www.permies.com/permaculture-forums/6641_0/permaculture/living-in-a-flood-zone) The front yard is generally damp.

At the height of summer the front yard will be firm, but the grass will still be growing like mad - even when everyone else's has burned up. The soil is mostly clay and if we get a heavy rain, water will stand in some spots for two to three days. There are two locations that I could plant - on the hillside at the end of our driveway or up by the house.

I would prefer to plant them by the house for screening purposes in the summer. The front of the house is raised about 30" above the rest of the lawn and drains well.  Does this sound like a mistake?

If I plant on the hillside, I will need to make swales to keep the water from running straight off, as the hill is pretty steep.

Any ideas?
Brian Bales


Joined: Jan 13, 2011
Posts: 90
First off that is a beautiful piece of property. Second the yard looks like a nice place for fruit trees. You could plant them in hills to keep the roots from being water logged. You could also plant pawpaws in the shadier parts of the property.
            


Joined: Feb 15, 2011
Posts: 34
PapaBear wrote:
First off that is a beautiful piece of property. Second the yard looks like a nice place for fruit trees. You could plant them in hills to keep the roots from being water logged. You could also plant pawpaws in the shadier parts of the property.


Thanks. Pawpaws, I had never heard of them before - still learning.

The house faces south, so all my planting needs to be done in the front. To the right of the house, which you cannot see in the picture, is the septic field; so, not much happening over there. Although, I am curious how close to it I can plant.

On the left side, there are some very large Beech on the edge of the woods and I was planning on clearing some of the underbrush and planting a couple peach trees.

Thanks for the input.
Al Loria


Joined: Apr 21, 2010
Posts: 395
Location: New York
Tom,  Paw Paws are a good idea next to the septic as they have a deep taproot.  We planted ours on a southeast facing hill last year and they are doing well.  Just make sure they are shaded by taller trees as they do not do well exposed in direct sun.  They are an understory tree and will eventually seek the amount of sunlight they need as they mature.  Last year we planted two, one in shade and one in direct sunlight.  The one in direct light we had to move early in the summer as it could not handle it.  It perked right up and we hope it survived the winter.

We also planted Apple trees on the steep hill.  We made small terraces for each tree by driving sticks lower down the hill and then back filling the area to level.  Worked out pretty well.  Outside of the deer eating the smaller branches this winter they are surviving by the looks of the green deer-exposed bark.

Good luck with the plantings this spring.
            


Joined: Feb 15, 2011
Posts: 34
I could plant Pawpaws at the end of the septic. The yard comes to a point at that end. The apples I want to plant where the two pines are. One of the pine's tops snapped under the snow this winter and they block too much sun in the winter, as well.



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Al Loria


Joined: Apr 21, 2010
Posts: 395
Location: New York
Sounds like you have a good plan in place.  Go for it.
Brenda Groth
volunteer

Joined: Feb 01, 2009
Posts: 4433
Location: North Central Michigan
    
    8
our area has a water table that is basically right at the surface most of the time..however..I have planted fruit trees..I have a raised area around my house (4' and have dwarf fruit trees growing around the house, out front I have 4 peach, a fruit cocktail tree, a Halls Hardy Almond and a crab apple near the south side of the house, 3 dwarf pears on the west and 2 cherries and 4 dwarf apples on the north..

we also have a garden area where the beds are built up and dwarf trees planted in those, 3 apples, 2 cherries, 3 pears, and others..see my blog below for some photos and plant lists as well as diagrams


Brenda

Bloom where you are planted.
http://restfultrailsfoodforestgarden.blogspot.com/
Al Loria


Joined: Apr 21, 2010
Posts: 395
Location: New York
Tom,  glad Brenda reminded me.  Our apple trees are semi-dwarfs.
            


Joined: Feb 15, 2011
Posts: 34
Al Loria wrote:
Tom,  glad Brenda reminded me.  Our apple trees are semi-dwarfs.


I was just logging in to ask what the general consensus was in regards to tree size. I was leaning toward semi-dwarf. Standard would be way too much. Although, I wish I could personally see a semi-dwarf and a dwarf side by side.
Al Loria


Joined: Apr 21, 2010
Posts: 395
Location: New York
Our semi-dwarf are to wind up being 12-15 feet tall.  We chose that size as they are planted about 6-8 feet down the hill.  They will grow high enough to look nice without obscuring the mountain view beyond.  Also, the fruit is the same size as a full size tree so no loss of fruit quality.
                    


Joined: Jan 20, 2011
Posts: 9
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Typically full dwarf trees require permanent support because they aren't strong enough to hold their own fruits. They are commonly used for large scale systems to make harvesting faster. Semi-dwarf is generally recommended for backyard applications and are usually 15-20 ft tall.

Have you thought about creating "raised beds" to handle the moisture? They would have to be large, but could be a really neat feature in your design.

-Troy
http://pittsburghpermculture.org
            


Joined: Feb 15, 2011
Posts: 34
I had planned on raised beds, but not for the trees.

How quickly does a semi-dwarf grow and how soon can one expect it to fruit from say a 3' sapling?
Al Loria


Joined: Apr 21, 2010
Posts: 395
Location: New York
Our trees are 2" diameter and had fruit on them that matured last year when we planted them.

Let me tell yo that if you do get a 3" it most likely will have blossoms and will fruit, but it is best to take the fruit off the first year so the roots can grow.  We had only a few apples on ours and left them on to see the tree was liking its new home and remained healthy.  One tree was stressed and dropped its one apple halfway through the summer.  The other two had 3 each on them.

One note;  The deer ate the small lower branches this winter as there was not much else for them to browse.  So, you may have to wrap it if we get more severe winters in the next few years.

As far as growth, ours were about 7 foot tall at the end of the summer.  The trees were native varieties of red delicious and macintosh which came from American Beauties.  They came pruned from the nursery for optimum production and health.

Almost all of the trees and plants we used came from American Beauties.  Have not lost one as these are very hardy.  We will see how the fruit shrubs and bushes did over the winter, but we were big on using natives for the reasons of noninvasive nature and hardiness.
                          


Joined: Feb 03, 2011
Posts: 32
Is the big mound to the right in your house pic the septic?
            


Joined: Feb 15, 2011
Posts: 34
fireweed farm wrote:
Is the big mound to the right in your house pic the septic?


Yes, it is. The seasonal high water table is 7". It is a very large mound, but fortunately, because the way the house is built into the hillside, we didn't need a pump - it is all gravity fed. We do have, however, a small pump under the kitchen to pump the kitchen waste water up to the main line.

I was considering building raised beds on the top of the mound. Any suggestions for what can be done with a septic mound? Otherwise, it is quite a bit of wasted space.
Paula Edwards


Joined: Oct 06, 2010
Posts: 411
Usually deciduous trees are planted in late winter, not in spring.
I would look what size trees you neighbours have. Because if there's forest around it might be the case that the birds and not you will be eating the fruits so you might have to net them or you won't get a single fruit.
I would look into something huegelculture to plant the trees. I would plant some berry bushes like josta or gooseberries too.
Think were you want to place your vegetable garden that you don't put your trees there.
            


Joined: Feb 15, 2011
Posts: 34
We have alot of birds. From the typical robin, chickadee, blue jay, cardinal, wren and finch to the nuthatch, downy woodpecker and such. In the spring, when the suckers run up the stream, we get alot of herring. We also have alot of hawks and a flock of about 20 wild turkey that come through here.

I was hoping that if I keep a well stocked bird feeder at the opposite end of the yard, that it may keep the birds from eating too much.
Brenda Groth
volunteer

Joined: Feb 01, 2009
Posts: 4433
Location: North Central Michigan
    
    8
check out my blog and you can see what we did with our septic mound.
it is off of our kitchen to the north..we have a circular garden over the mound itself and the area that is backfilled from the 4' high raised mound to the lower level ground level has perennials, dwarf fruit trees, shrubs and vines and ground covers growing on it..

there are photos and diagrams on the blog

see my signature and go to the pages on the blog to see photos and diagrams
            


Joined: Feb 15, 2011
Posts: 34
Brenda Groth wrote:
check out my blog and you can see what we did with our septic mound.
it is off of our kitchen to the north..we have a circular garden over the mound itself and the area that is backfilled from the 4' high raised mound to the lower level ground level has perennials, dwarf fruit trees, shrubs and vines and ground covers growing on it..

there are photos and diagrams on the blog

see my signature and go to the pages on the blog to see photos and diagrams


Thank you.
            


Joined: Feb 15, 2011
Posts: 34
Brenda Groth wrote:
check out my blog and you can see what we did with our septic mound.
it is off of our kitchen to the north..we have a circular garden over the mound itself and the area that is backfilled from the 4' high raised mound to the lower level ground level has perennials, dwarf fruit trees, shrubs and vines and ground covers growing on it..


Brenda, so you have trees right on top and on the slope of the mound? Is the dwarf on top in a raised bed? Is there a risk of the plants tapping into raw sewage?

                                  


Joined: Feb 27, 2011
Posts: 1
why not plant them in an alternating patters on the hillside.? So that as they grow and produce leaf litter at their root bases , they  will  create their own type of swale
Brenda Groth
volunteer

Joined: Feb 01, 2009
Posts: 4433
Location: North Central Michigan
    
    8
i have put a special entry on my blog with some more information about the drainfield mound garden for you, here is a link to the page..

http://restfultrailsfoodforestgarden.blogspot.com/2011/02/drainfield-mound-garden-for-those-of.html
            


Joined: Feb 15, 2011
Posts: 34
Brenda Groth wrote:
i have put a special entry on my blog with some more information about the drainfield mound garden for you, here is a link to the page..

http://restfultrailsfoodforestgarden.blogspot.com/2011/02/drainfield-mound-garden-for-those-of.html


Thank you. That has given me alot of ideas. It is a beautiful garden.
Brenda Groth
volunteer

Joined: Feb 01, 2009
Posts: 4433
Location: North Central Michigan
    
    8
thank you..you should be able to do something similar on the sides of yours, but I would leave a path around between there and the woods for some access..I left a lawn area around the mound at ground level as a trail or a path..and have 3 paths up to the mound "lawn" and then the deck/steps down the north end..it makes for easy access and there for USE of the lawn area..

also the perennials and shrubs and dwarf trees grow up and provide a nice private little  space to sit in the summer..and it is chock full of wildlife..we have bird baths, feeders and houses in this area so the wildlife just is crammed in there ..i no longer have the table and chairs there as wind broke my table and umbrella..but I have smaller set now that I can haul off the porch out there if I want to sit there..it is a good place to play with children.

i actually LOVE my drainfield mound garden as most of our property was nearly flat and this gave some various types of growing areas that I didn't have on the slopes..some are shady, some are sunny and very warm, there are heights and levels..it adds great interest to the back of our property..also being up high it gives me a great vista and a nice view of the pond here and at our neighbors
John Seaver


Joined: Dec 01, 2011
Posts: 18
Really happy to see this topic...I am concerned about how far to plant a semi dwarf apple from a driveway. Do you think it will crack the pavement if it is too close? What is too close, I have read 6 feet is enough distance from any pavement. Any help would be greatly appreciated!
Andrew Ash


Joined: Apr 16, 2012
Posts: 24
Location: Chuluota, Florida
If you're interested, some fruiting bushes you could look into are Goumi, Autumnberry (I've heard these guys have high potential for being invasive, as they self-seed readily), and buffaloberry, which I've read do well up there in Michigan.
 
 
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