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How far from swale should the fruit trees be?

 
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Last year I added 4 rows to our orchard. There is one main fruit tree every 15 feet, each tree has a perennial planted about 2 feet away from those trees creating a square guild around. Half way between each main fruit tree is two bushes. The pattern continues throughout the orchard.
The ground there is hard packed. I have added a layer of compost and leaf mulch and it is helping retain water now. When it rains, water does not seem to sink in between the rows, it just rushes. I want to add swales, but do not want to move my plants. Can anyone advice me how far away from the swales the fruit trees must be to avoid root rot?
The swales will have a gradual slope and be wider, as I have many toddlers and elderly parents who could get hurt in more severe swales.
Any advice would be great for me slowly adding swales to my 150x80 foot site.
 
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Lora-Leah Andersen wrote:Last year I added 4 rows to our orchard. There is one main fruit tree every 15 feet, each tree has a perennial planted about 2 feet away from those trees creating a square guild around. Half way between each main fruit tree is two bushes. The pattern continues throughout the orchard.
The ground there is hard packed. I have added a layer of compost and leaf mulch and it is helping retain water now. When it rains, water does not seem to sink in between the rows, it just rushes. I want to add swales, but do not want to move my plants. Can anyone advice me how far away from the swales the fruit trees must be to avoid root rot?
The swales will have a gradual slope and be wider, as I have many toddlers and elderly parents who could get hurt in more severe swales.
Any advice would be great for me slowly adding swales to my 150x80 foot site.



When digging your swales, there isn't a hard and fast rule on how far away from the tree trunk they must be to avoid root rot. It all depends on the existing root structure of your trees. The only way to know this is to start digging and see what roots you find. The bigger the roots are near your swales, the more likely it is your trees are going to get waterlogged and die (or at least not do well).
 
Lora-Leah Andersen
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Thanks for the response.  It will be easy to put that advice into action.
On the topic of swales and berms. I can only work on them here and there. Should I start "playing" at the high points or the low?
 
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a slight ditch at the drip edge of each tree might help for water to soak in when it rains. usually roots expand at same distance and rate as branches. roots will reach toward moisture naturally as long as soil is not rock solid but roots tend to find cracks in rocks to reach moist in natural habitat.

I may be all wrong but this is what I have seen in the past.
 
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