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Restoring an old overgrown orchard?

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Hi there - we are restoring an old orchard, left to brambles for 11 years ! We now have 11 years of oak and ash trees growing right next to the fruit trees.. any idea what to do with them ? Chop them ? Move them ? coppice them ? - Are they too near, some are under 1metre away ?? what is max distance not for shading ( thats obvious) but more if i coppice them will the roots compete with the fruit trees ?
sorry to be such a begginer in this !
yours JJ
Posts: 856
Location: South Puget Sound, Salish Sea, Cascadia, North America
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Climate? Will roots compete... my first question is compete for what? Is water deficit a limiting factor to fruit yield... wildlings of oak and ash sounds like NE US, so wetter summer than I am used to. I suspect that coppice would result in huge sloughing of roots from the ash and oak, enriching the soil. 8 yr old oak sounds perfect for mushroom production. A good coppice of ash would be dreamy for tool handles and fuel. Are the fruit trees worth saving. Is the fruit for you, or livestock or cider? Are they full size fruit trees? Do you think that based on its position in the landscape, that the site better for wood production than fruit production? Do you like all the fruit varieties? Add some pictures. I don't think there is a right answer.

I wouldn't bother moving 8 year old trees... It sounds like seedlings are easy enough to come by and always transplant much better.
Posts: 3999
Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
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Welcome to permies, John
Knowing someone's climate and geography makes a huge difference to what advice/ideas/experiences is useful.
Of course your exact location is your secret, but some general info is really helpful.
Go into 'my profile', page top, right, expand 'general info about yourself' and enter useful stuff.
As for your actual questions, I'd most probably take out the randomly growing stuf if space is tight: it will probably be a total pain for harvesting and pruning, as well as water, light and nutrient competition.
If the orchard's been abandoned for 11 years, do you have an idea of the tree's actual age? What species are they? Some trees like apples can be productive for a long time, whereas some stonefruit like apricots, not so much.
As Paul says, pictures would be great!
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Location: North Central Michigan
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are they big enough yet for firewood, if so cut at least the ash down..might want to let the oaks grow..or a few.

ash are very very highly suceptible to the "emerald ash borer" and we have a huge crop of white ash trees here, and now a huge crop of woodpeckers as some of our trees have already become infected by the emerald ash borer.

it is going to cost us hundreds of dollars to remove one huge ash tree alone that is succumbing, it is right by the house and garage and fence and other trees and is "full grown" or in otherwords HUGE..we have to hire a bucket truck to come in and take it down.

now we won't allow any ash trees to get large enough to where we cannot cut them down without a bucket truck again..just too expensive and dangerous with the emerald ash borer to allow them to grow here.

we are allowing them to get to about a foot at the bottom, small enough to where we can cut them safely with a chainsaw for our own firewood (we heat with wood)..and then they come down ..the large one is going to be such a huge expense..

so I recommend taking down the ash, or at least any big enough to use as firewood..right now oaks are ok at least around here.
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