I've got a parcel in the Tacoma/Olympia area and I'm wanting to get started establishing an orchard as soon as possible (if possible). I've been doing some research, but I'm still new at everything and want to make sure I get off to a good start -- and since there's quite a bit of prep to be done on any prospective plot before trees can go into the ground, I'd like to get someone who knows what they're doing to take a look at spots and make sure it's a viable venture before I begin. Is anyone aware of anyone in the area that fits the bill and is open for hire for such consulting?
Secondly (and less urgently) I'm hoping to establish a bit of a hedge for ongoing privacy. I'd like to use beneficial/food-bearing native plants if at all possible. I understand this would be far more involved and space-intensive than most regular hedges/privacy options, but given that I intend to leave a lot of the area pretty untouched and that it would ideally provide both food for myself and habitat for wildlife, that seems like a very worthwhile tradeoff. Are there any specific plant groupings that work well in the area for that purpose? Offhand, evergreen huckleberry seems to be a good start, but I'm wondering about variety and more in-depth options.
For privacy, you're going to want a little height, yes? Hazelnut, black hawthorn (make sure to get a proper local variety). In my, very limited, experience, huckleberry, all the cane berries, etc, aren't going to be tall enough to provide privacy. Maybe some willows are appropriate, too?
In my, very limited, experience, huckleberry, all the cane berries, etc, aren't going to be tall enough to provide privacy.
Evergreen huckleberries (Vaccinium ovatum) can get pretty decently high. There are a ton of them around here already in the 8' or so range. A bit of reading on them made me think they'd be pretty swell for the outside of any food hedge, since they'll be shaded half the day (at least) on the E/W sides, probably all day on the N, and the south has a bit of a ridge they'd be on anyway so they don't need to be as tall. The real problems are a steep dip into boggy bits in a couple spots, and I've not quite figured out something tall enough and evergreen that'd also be useful. I'm a little hesitant to consider Hawthorne in any number due to susceptibility to diseases that could impact other fruit trees I intend to plant.