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growing fruit trees on a slope  RSS feed

 
Slava On
Posts: 28
Location: Virginia, 7b zone
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Hi.

I am looking for an advice on which fruit trees is better to plant higher on the slope and which ones lower?
My lot is sloping down to the East (on Appalachian ridge in Northern Virginia). I would like to plant a variety of fruit trees: apples, plums, cherries, peaches and more...
Which trees would be better to plant higher on a slope and which ones - lower?

Thank you.
 
Blake Wheeler
Posts: 166
Location: Kentucky 6b
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Truth be told I can't see it making a difference. Maybe plant the peaches a bit higher than the rest to avoid in cold air pockets that may damage their blossoms in spring? That's a total guess by the way.

Is their a particular reason you're worried about the slope? Poor sun exposure? Bad soil? How much of a slope are we talking? Slight, or hard to walk up?
 
Slava On
Posts: 28
Location: Virginia, 7b zone
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The slope is about 16 degrees with the house sitting on top. The area that I will use for a fruit orchard is about 1/5th of an acre. The whole area is surrounded by tall trees. Since the slope is facing East - there is a plenty of sun exposure...

- I was thinking that the height of the trees would be a factor - to plant the taller trees closer to the bottom of that hill.
- The other factor is water - my guess is that there will be more of it on the lower part of a slope. So, the water-loving trees should also be planted there.
- from a permaculture prospective, there could be other factors to consider...
 
Blake Wheeler
Posts: 166
Location: Kentucky 6b
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Well, most improved varieties of fruit trees have almost the same requirements. Most prefer better drained soil, most will grow the same height, most have the same sun requirements. It really all depends on the rootstock the tree is on and the size (if you buy all dwarf, semi-dwarf, standard, or a mix).

For example, I bought all semi dwarf, and I've got quite a mix (Apple, pear, cherry, plum, pawpaw, peach). Issues of size were non-existent all they all grow to around 18 foot tall. Only consideration I had was planting the pawpaws near larger trees on the property line (not my trees) as the pawpaws would benefit from the shade provided more than some of the others.

I could be overlooking something, but I can't see it making much of a difference. Of course if you choose mixed sizes place the larger trees towards the bottom to avoid shading the others. The main consideration would be personal. Which trees do you want to walk the shortest distance to get to? I'd almost place the cherries on top as you'll probably want to net them to keep the birds from stealing all the fruit. Easier to net at the top as you'll have the slope working to your advantage to a small degree. Or maybe certain trees face larger pest pressure in your area (ask around) then I'd want those closer as it makes it easier to keep an eye on them
 
John Wolfram
Posts: 652
Location: Lafayette, Indiana
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Fruit trees can grow pretty well on a hill. For mine, I put little retaining walls around them to help slow down the rain water and let it soak in.
 
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