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Starting berry and apple orchard

 
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Location: Fairburn, United States
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I am trying to start a blueberry and apple orchard in a hardwood forest in north Ga.I would like input into the equipment I need to be acquiring to transform the rocky hill tops without damage to my surrounding woods .thanks for any advice,
 
pollinator
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Location: Virginia USDA 7a/b
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Walter a little more information would be helpful. Type of soil, depth of soil, facing direction, altitude, zone, rainfall etc. There really is no cookie cutter.

One thing is that apples are a relatively dry soil plant. Blueberries are swamp plants. You may want to build your plan around the prevailing humidity in the soil.
 
walter adams
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Location: Fairburn, United States
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the soil is red clay and slate with a high PH at and elevation of 1360.the land was originally a gold lot and not considered air-able land therefore it has never been farmed with no topsoil because of logging in the past.It is the top of Hightower mountain and I can plant on any side of three peeks on 75 acres.it does not perk well due to the heavy clay content but there is plenty of water that could be pumped up to the top.The zone is 7a-7b on the line near the Alabama border in Polk county Ga.I am trying to preserve the native long needle pine and some old growth white and red oak.I have a back disability and I need some type of track steer but I am not sure where to start.thank so much for your prompt response
 
Tj Jefferson
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Walter, I assume you mean low pH. It would be unusual to have depleted clay soils in the south supporting pine that are not acidic. The good news is blueberry likes acidity, but needs lots of organic matter to do well. Do that's on the to do list- figure out how to incorporate organic matter.

Apples are tougher. There are some rootstocks that do ok in clay, mine are semi dwarf. If you are at the top of a mountain you may not have an issue with cedar rust which is awesome. Often orchards in the south are on mountains for that and extra chill hours. The important thing is to prevent the roots from being too wet.

I have apples above swales, at least 2' vertically above. The swales feed into a hugelmound that is planted in blueberry. The apples get  a limited amendment in their holes to increase infiltration. I try to transfer the water from the apples to the blueberry. It takes a ton of organic matter to make the hugelmound. I use a skid steer. Get one with tracks if you get one. I get free wood and chips by the hundreds of yards. You might find another carbon source. But blueberry really needs help in clay.
 
walter adams
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Location: Fairburn, United States
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thanks so much
 
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Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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walter adams wrote:the soil is red clay and slate with a high PH at and elevation of 1360.the land was originally a gold lot and not considered air-able land therefore it has never been farmed with no topsoil because of logging in the past.It is the top of Hightower mountain and I can plant on any side of three peeks on 75 acres.it does not perk well due to the heavy clay content but there is plenty of water that could be pumped up to the top.The zone is 7a-7b on the line near the Alabama border in Polk county Ga.I am trying to preserve the native long needle pine and some old growth white and red oak.I have a back disability and I need some type of track steer but I am not sure where to start.thank so much for your prompt response



What is the pH? clays usually are more alkaline than acidic and blue berries want a pH of at the most 5.8  The area you describe is listed as being an alkaline area, if you were on the atlantic side of Appalachia then I would expect more acidic soil than the western side.
Do watch out for cedar rust if there are eastern red cedars in the area (within 500 yards or even further).
Apples will do best in a "normal" pH which is considered 6.2 to 6.8 but blue berries won't like that and they will even die because it isn't acidic enough for them.

Since you do have  long leaf pines, try to check the pH where these are, you might find a pH in the range that blueberries can tolerate better, and thus not need to make sulfur or sulfate amendments.

Other than what I've mentioned, Tj has covered already.
 
walter adams
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Location: Fairburn, United States
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yeah your right it is acidic like your place,it is south of you near Rockmart,I was backards
 
walter adams
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Location: Fairburn, United States
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whole ridge tops is huckleberries already,I thought you were in Buzzards roost Ga.by mistake,that"s where they let the Yankees through
 
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