Win a copy of Permaculture Design Companion this week in the Permaculture Design forum!
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education experiences global resources the cider press projects digital market permies.com private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Nicole Alderman
  • r ranson
  • Anne Miller
  • paul wheaton
stewards:
  • Jocelyn Campbell
  • Mike Jay Haasl
  • Burra Maluca
garden masters:
  • James Freyr
  • Joylynn Hardesty
  • Steve Thorn
  • Greg Martin
gardeners:
  • Carla Burke
  • Dave Burton
  • Pearl Sutton

Where to plant fruit trees on a terrace

 
Posts: 39
Location: Central Virginia, USA
2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I live in a small valley on the foothills in central Virginia. My hardiness zone is 7a, humid temperate, and I am on a fairly steep slope ranching from 17% to 22% grade. I have two large terraces which are about 250 feet long on contour. They are both slightly cut back so that during a rain storm the water has a tendency to pool on the innermost corner, where the water coming down the hill first hits the terrace. The top terrace is 19 feet in width along its entire length and the lower terrace is 27 feet in width. The slope between the two terraces is steep. To the eye it appears to be near 100% grade or 45 degree angle. It is probably a bit less, but that is what it looks like.

Where do I plant my fruit trees?
-If I plant them near the edge of the terraces (A), the roots will help stabilize the slope, but they are also susceptible to erosion and falling over. Also I would have a hard time harvesting fruit on the side where the slope is steep. Would this area be too dry?
-if I plant them near the uphill side of the terrace (C), they may have problems with collar rot or wet feet from excess water in that area.
-If they are planted in the middle of the terrace (B), it limits movement on the terrace, removes any chance of a grazing area for animals in the future, but will likely both solve water issues and make it easier to harvest.

I will be planting:
Apple
Cherry
Peach
Pear
Plum
Apricot
Blue berry
Blackberry
Raspberry
Elderberry
Currant
Pecan
Chestnut
Hazelnut
Pawpaw
Persimmon
Mulberry
And many more

Thanks so much for any advice or experience you can offer.
image.jpeg
[Thumbnail for image.jpeg]
 
Posts: 1976
Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
156
kids duck forest garden chicken pig bee greening the desert homestead
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
So can you trench to get the pooled water moving? Or perhaps dig to make a full on irrigation pond?

If you need to stabilize the slope I'd use something other than your food trees. I saw someone use St. Johns wort and it was so beautiful, and you could harvest some for medicinal use if needed. So you can think outside of the tree box when it comes to soil stabilization. Bushes, non-food trees, etc. Go that route.

 
Diego de la Vega
Posts: 39
Location: Central Virginia, USA
2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

elle sagenev wrote:So can you trench to get the pooled water moving? Or perhaps dig to make a full on irrigation pond?

If you need to stabilize the slope I'd use something other than your food trees. I saw someone use St. Johns wort and it was so beautiful, and you could harvest some for medicinal use if needed. So you can think outside of the tree box when it comes to soil stabilization. Bushes, non-food trees, etc. Go that route.



Thanks for the reply! I do not think that the water would really need to be trenches or that it would really benefit. That area will be more wet in general than the rest. Also it only pools during a rainstorm then it quickly soaks in. Is the reason you're ask because you think area C is the best place to plant the trees?

Diego
 
elle sagenev
Posts: 1976
Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
156
kids duck forest garden chicken pig bee greening the desert homestead
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Diego de la Vega wrote:

elle sagenev wrote:So can you trench to get the pooled water moving? Or perhaps dig to make a full on irrigation pond?

If you need to stabilize the slope I'd use something other than your food trees. I saw someone use St. Johns wort and it was so beautiful, and you could harvest some for medicinal use if needed. So you can think outside of the tree box when it comes to soil stabilization. Bushes, non-food trees, etc. Go that route.



Thanks for the reply! I do not think that the water would really need to be trenches or that it would really benefit. That area will be more wet in general than the rest. Also it only pools during a rainstorm then it quickly soaks in. Is the reason you're ask because you think area C is the best place to plant the trees?

Diego



No. I just wanted to see if you could move the water so it wouldn't hinder your ability to plant there if that's what you wanted.
 
pollinator
Posts: 2409
Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even Soil:SandyLoam pH6 Flat
151
forest garden solar
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Where you have C on your diagram, I would go about 2.5 ft up the slope and plant the fruit trees there. And where you have A, I would go about 4 inches from the edge and plant another row of fruit tress. That way on the 19ft wide road you would have about 16ft of open space between the two rows. If the plants are spaced 15ft apart you could plant 16 plants per row or 36 plants per terrace. Chestnut might need 30ft spaccing but elderberry would only need 8ft and blueberry even less.


As for the second terrace that is 27ft wide, I would do the same thing again. with two rows of plants But now you would have even more walking space.

As for the slope, I would actually plant them out too, but not for harvest, more as a chicken/goat run, they can harvest the fruits that fall or the insects. Also if the fruit roll all the way down to the next terrace it could be easily harvested for cider/animal feed.

 
Posts: 529
Location: North-Central Idaho, 4100 ft elev., 24 in precip
42
hugelkultur fungi trees books food preservation
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Most of the trees you listed, and most trees in general can handle short periods of having wet feet. If the water doesn't really sit around for a long time and soaks into the ground quickly like you said I wouldn't worry much about planting trees in area C. I would then look into planting another row somewhere between A & B with another planting of the smaller bush type plants out further towards the edge (something like seaberry might work really good out there... drought tolerant hardy nitrogen fixer, doesn't get too big) just my thoughts on that one. Oh and +1 to planting the slope for animal fodder, great idea!
 
Gravity is a harsh mistress. But this tiny ad is pretty easy to deal with:
A rocket mass heater heats your home with one tenth the wood of a conventional wood stove
http://woodheat.net
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!