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Orchard Design Impasse

 
Posts: 15
Location: Southern California Zone 9a, desert transition zone, Live Oaks are life savers
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Hello Permie World.

I'm at an impasse with my orchard design. I currently live on a property with about 20 fruit trees, only 10 of which are in the ground, all of which are 2-3 years old. I live in the desert transition zone of east san diego county at about 3200 feet, zone 9a. The winds up here regularly get up to 20-25mph with gusts up to 40. We have one of the most diverse bird populations in the country, including flocks of starlings. Wind and birds are two major issues for cultivation. I've been in observation for about a year and it seems like the most intelligent thing to do is to build a massive hoop house for the orchard to act as wind break and bird protection.

From a design point of view that is what I least want to do. It seems antithetical aesthetically and make me feel like I'm somehow missing the point. However, I do want to obtain yield from these trees as I am part of the permanent culture.

There are hawks and owls all plentiful on the property, which do nothing to deter the sheer quantity of scrub jays, woodpeckers, thrashers, starlings, crows, etc, so it seems predator attraction is out of the picture. I'm planning to plant a windbreak of pine trees and on the west side of the property for long term windbreak. I suppose the hoop house can be short term (5-10 years) until the trees become fully mature, and then hope the yields are strong enough to give to both our community and the animal community.

I'm definitely looking for other perspective, questions I'm not asking or overlooking, or experiential feedback.
 
pollinator
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Hmmm, well a hoop house that can clear trees AND withstand regular intense winds is not going to be cheap, and I'm not certain it would even be that effective against birds. I'd think that bird netting could be a cheaper and simpler option.
The other thing that my mind jumped to was understory shrubs that produce berries that birds might like more than the fruit on the trees. Not sure that's a thing but it might be an option.
For the wind break you.might consider making a mound to plant on to raise up the young trees and provide a minor wind break immediately a few feet above ground level. You might also consider adding several wind breaks instead of a single one so that they are more effective even when they are small
 
pollinator
Posts: 3113
Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even Soil:SandyLoam pH6 Flat
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9A is super warm, so alot of 'regular" fruit trees will not produce. (apple, pear, quince, medlar, juneberry, plum, apricot, peach, cherry, hazelnut, walnut/pecan/etc,)
It isn't zone 10, so not tropical enough. But you can still get quite a few plants to still produce.

Tropical pawpaw ( soursop/sweetsap/etc),
passionfruit, fuzzy kiwi, quite a few grapes, but not alot
Asian persimmon, jujube, figs, citrus, guava, avocado, loquat, lychee, pomegranate
Jaboticaba, Wampi, Wax Jambu (Jamaican apple), etc

I think alot of the fruit trees that aren't 'regular" fruit trees. Have develop some mechanism that makes them more resistant to avg birds and wind.

But if you are trying to grow apples and such, you are very much going to have to greenhouse baby them.
 
Jackie Dragon
Posts: 15
Location: Southern California Zone 9a, desert transition zone, Live Oaks are life savers
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S Bengi wrote:9A is super warm, so alot of 'regular" fruit trees will not produce. (apple, pear, quince, medlar, juneberry, plum, apricot, peach, cherry, hazelnut, walnut/pecan/etc,)
It isn't zone 10, so not tropical enough. But you can still get quite a few plants to still produce.



I have two apples, two plums, three cherries and a quince that are all producing right now. At 3200 feet out here we get an estimated 500 chill hours. Thank the stars! But I am planning to expand to less common fruits, 9a does freeze, so we are limited. So far stone fruits are doing great.
 
Jackie Dragon
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Location: Southern California Zone 9a, desert transition zone, Live Oaks are life savers
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s. lowe wrote:Hmmm, well a hoop house that can clear trees AND withstand regular intense winds is not going to be cheap, and I'm not certain it would even be that effective against birds. I'd think that bird netting could be a cheaper and simpler option.
The other thing that my mind jumped to was understory shrubs that produce berries that birds might like more than the fruit on the trees. Not sure that's a thing but it might be an option.
For the wind break you.might consider making a mound to plant on to raise up the young trees and provide a minor wind break immediately a few feet above ground level. You might also consider adding several wind breaks instead of a single one so that they are more effective even when they are small



Can you plant Hardwoods on a Hugel? Any Longterm potential problems? Red Herring blackberries... that could be a thing.
 
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Location: Fairplay, Northern California
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Elsewhere on this site I have read, several times, that birds often prefer mulberry fruit to others. Perhaps a full size mulberry reserved for the birds might help. Also, birds, I am told, prefer to feed in taller trees since being closer to the ground is more dangerous to them.
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