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tree spacing dynamics

Posted by Peter Drevniok 
tree spacing dynamics
May 09, 2014 04:16AM
I will be planting about 100 trees next spring. Most are on M111, some on seedling, some on Ratenka, some on Antonovka. I plan to train the trees to a modified central leader shape keeping the trees at about 8 feet or so. I plan to plant the trees 16 feet apart in the rows with 16 feet between the rows. My question: is this sufficient or perhaps even too much space?

Peter Drevniok
Wakefield, Quebec zone 4b

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/09/2014 09:14PM by Michael Phillips.
Re: tree spacing dynamics
May 09, 2014 09:18PM
The cider block we're planting this spring is a 15X22 layout. This may prove a bit tight over the course of time for Bud.118 rootstock, but given slow growing here in the North Country, probably right for my years working these trees. Earlier plantings of Bud.118 and MM.111 were done on a 18x24 grid and a 16x24 grid respectively, which seems too generous in retrospect for the soil and climatic conditions found at our farm. On the other hand, enhanced vigor resulting from highly fertile soils may make the more generous spacing the right choice for these same roots on your ground.

The two basics of orchard layout are the canopy radius allotted each tree and access width between rows once the trees are fully grown. In this case, each tree is being allotted a 7.5 foot radius in all directions (being a 15 foot diameter (which always happens to be the distance between trees within the row)). A drawing would help if you want to sketch canopy circles centered on parallel row lines to scale. Now let's visualize the perpendicular to the rows . Each tree eventually can reach 7.5 feet into the aisle, which corresponding with the tree the next row over, accounts for 15 feet of branch space. This particular grid allows 22 feet between rows, being trunk center to trunk center. Thus the remaining access width will be 7 feet for getting in equipment to spray, mow, harvest. Give or take, this access width needs to be 6 to 8 feet on average. This also facilitates sun penetration to lower branches coming in above the immediate tree row to the south. I'll be letting these trees reach 14-16 feet high on average, knowing that slanting rays of sunshine can still reach down to the ground across a 7 foot aisle.

'Nuff math. I'm heading back out to dig more holes.

Lost Nation Orchard
Zone 4b in New Hampshire
Re: tree spacing dynamics
March 19, 2016 12:09AM
The snow is pretty much gone here now and I am getting ready to start marking where my planting holes will be going. I am using G935 and Vineland 1 rootstock for about 1/2 the orchard and M106 for the other 1/2.

From what I've read Vineland 1 and G935 should produce trees about the same size (50% of standard) and M106 about 70% of standard. I am planning on about 11 feet between the trees on V1 and G935 within the rows and about 14 feet between the rows and with M106 about 14 feet between the trees in the row and about 16 feet between the rows. My soil is on the weak side here, at least initially. Does anyone have an opinion as to whether the spacing is appropriate or too close?

thanks , Pat
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