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fruit tree recommendations

 
                                          
Posts: 95
Location: Ferndale, MI- Zone 5b
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i have room for two to three fruit trees.  they can occupy a space that is 20 x 10 feet.  the area is just lawn now, but poorly growing lawn.  there is a 60 foot tall ash that will block the morning sun until about high noon.  after that it will have about 3-4 hours of good sun. 

the trees will be growing over top of my sewer line, but it is brand new 8" line that was purported to have a projected 50+ years.  truthfully, i don't know how deep the sewer line runs under the place intended for the trees; shallower roots might be best.

what recommendations or resources could you give?  i am a pretty good gardner, but am a novice with trees.
 
tel jetson
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Posts: 3356
Location: woodland, washington
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I've seen folks from Finland to Thailand asking similar questions to yours, so let's hear a little bit more about your site:
 
                                          
Posts: 95
Location: Ferndale, MI- Zone 5b
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Zone 6b.  awesome topsoil that is about 4 feet deep in suburban detroit.  3-4 hours of direct sunlight per day in the early to late afternoon.  it wouldn't be hard to mound up dirt and compost to have the trees growing in an elevated mound

I'd like trees that are about 10-15 feet high.  they can spread no more than 10 feet.  this will require pruning i'm sure.

the trees will run in a line going north-south.  with the way trees in neighboring trees are growing, i likely would have great sun in the early to late afternoon.

i'd likely fill in with shorter blueberry cultivars and maybe a hazelnut shrub.  cold hardy kiwis might be another option to vine up the fruit trees or the big ash tree.

raised beds will be further south of the trees, so they won't shade out my annual veggies and greens.

i'm quite ambitiously pursuing a goal of producing as much calories as possible for my family.  you can check out my progress and musings at http://ourcalories.blogspot.com .

any suggestions on particular cultivars would be much appreciated.  i really like honeycrisp and northern spy apples.  i'd like fruit that is good fresh and canned and cold stored.  clearly maximum yield is important.  we have good pollinators with our beehive in the yard.
 
Leila Rich
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Posts: 3999
Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
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"3-4 hours of good sun" is not much. I presume this is the maximum summer sun? Fruit trees won't fruit much with less than minimum 6 hours full sun.
Having said that, most soft fruits can handle less.
I know nothing about roots and sewers, so I'll leave that one alone!
Is the ash a must-keep? You might have to get rather pragmatic if you want to grow a major part of your diet...
 
                                          
Posts: 95
Location: Ferndale, MI- Zone 5b
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pippimac wrote:
"3-4 hours of good sun" is not much. I presume this is the maximum summer sun? Fruit trees won't fruit much with less than minimum 6 hours full sun.
Having said that, most soft fruits can handle less.
I know nothing about roots and sewers, so I'll leave that one alone!
Is the ash a must-keep? You might have to get rather pragmatic if you want to grow a major part of your diet...


What would you recommend for the area, then?
 
Brenda Groth
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Posts: 4434
Location: North Central Michigan
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over your septic use dwarf trees, and best to put them off to the side rather than directly over the line in case it has to be redug..maybe stagger them on either side..

choose the fruit that is best suited to your zone (check catalogs) and that is best suited to your diet..something you love to eat.
 
tel jetson
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Posts: 3356
Location: woodland, washington
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paw paws (Asimina triloba) do better than most fruit with less than full sun.  they've got deep taproots, though, which could be an issue for this spot.

does it have to be fruit trees?  leafy tree crops, like Tilia species or maybe fragrant spring tree (Toona sinensis), should do fine.  then you could plant some of the shade tolerant fruit that pippimac hinted at around those.
 
                                          
Posts: 95
Location: Ferndale, MI- Zone 5b
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Brenda Groth wrote:
over your septic use dwarf trees, and best to put them off to the side rather than directly over the line in case it has to be redug..maybe stagger them on either side..

choose the fruit that is best suited to your zone (check catalogs) and that is best suited to your diet..something you love to eat.


i really love cherries and peaches.  honey crisp apples.  pears.  i love so many fruits, but i want good storing fruit.

i'm partial to apples because it'll be a good companion with morel mushrooms.  I think a few dwarf root stocks may be the way to go.

i'm waiting on a return call from the plumber on how deep the sewer line runs.
 
                              
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I make a trip into your area every week for business, I would be happy to stop by your home and help you with the layout and selection of the fruit trees.  I think you have more options than you realize with high density planting and native fruit trees, that is why I would like to give you more options.  If this is of any interest to you, PM me and I will give you the details of my travel times.

Vince
PDC Graduate
 
Ran Prieur
Posts: 66
Location: Spokane and near Diamond Lake, WA
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A tree that doesn't need full sun, and that will fit in that space without pruning, is sour cherry (prunus cerasus). You might also try Ivan's Beauty, which is basically a mountain ash (sorbus aucuparia) hybridized to give it better fruit.

If you want apples for storage, honeycrisps are not good keepers. They get moldy in weeks. Many of the best keepers are russets -- they have rough skin, dense flesh, and excellent flavor.
 
tel jetson
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Posts: 3356
Location: woodland, washington
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I'll second the mountain ash hybrids.  Ivan's Belle isn't the only one.  they'll end up about the size you're after.  very productive and attractive.
 
                                          
Posts: 95
Location: Ferndale, MI- Zone 5b
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has anyone had any luck with 3-in-1 trees?
 
Leila Rich
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Posts: 3999
Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
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There I go, hinting again ; ). By soft fruit, I mean raspberries, currants and gooseberries, among others.
Be aware that I'm not taking your climate into account...
I think sun , or lack of, is a real issue if you want apples or other 'conventional' fruit, and you might need to consider unusual fruit or options for improving your sun.
 
                                          
Posts: 95
Location: Ferndale, MI- Zone 5b
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pippimac wrote:
There I go, hinting again ; ). By soft fruit, I mean raspberries, currants and gooseberries, among others.
Be aware that I'm not taking your climate into account...
I think sun , or lack of, is a real issue if you want apples or other 'conventional' fruit, and you might need to consider unusual fruit or options for improving your sun.


i guess i missed the hint. 

soft fruits are a good idea, too.  i had plans for that as well.

 
Al Loria
Posts: 395
Location: New York
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I agree with the dwarf or semi-dwarf varieties of apple trees and sour cherry, but expect less fruit with the limited sun.

We planted three apple trees, one Macintosh and two red delicious, and a montmorency sour cherry.  All semi-dwarf (12-15 ft.), and although they do not get a full day of sun they have all done well.  The apple trees are planted on a slope where the sewer line runs down and only one tree is close to it.  We don't anticipate any problems being it is a semi-dwarf.   All of the trees and bushes we've planted this year, which is well over 20, have been native varieties we had gotten from American Beauties, as they are all northeast varieties.  The apple trees and cherry are still holding their leaves and have not turned color yet here in zone 6.  Very hardy I would think.

Good luck with the planting.
 
                                            
Posts: 4
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Sea Buckthorn Berries. Hippophae rhamnoides (cultivars of)
Zone 3-9
Handle variety of soils and air qualities including salty sea air.

The fruit is among the most enriched plant sources of vitamin C...
@ 10 years it's height will be aprox 10 m.

http://www.raintreenursery.com/catalog/productdetails.cfm?productid=D738
 
Lisa Paulson
Posts: 258
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You say you have a sewer line underfoot and I take that to mean it is your septic field which partially depends on evaporation I believe and it will NOT be a 50 year field if you get roots growing into it and roots tend to seek out damp nutrient rich areas in summer and it can be an expensive fix if the bylaw enforcement get involved and you are forced to redo it to code .  Since septic fields are  usually only about 3 feet down ,  I will tell you I have a similar area under septic and I am only willing to plant strawberries for a perenial fruit there.  You have two issues safe food and protecting the utility of your septic field, if you overide those concerns with what you want, well, you may well pay a high price. 

I planted sea buckthorn along a perimeter fenceline and my horses sought it out and repeatedly tore the seedlings out of the ground, secondly voles seemed problematic knawing down to the roots of new plantings  so I will definitely be replanting with a roped off perimeter to allow everything planted to establish.  And I might try sprinkling used kitty litter lightly on the surface to help ward off critters.
 
Leila Rich
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Posts: 3999
Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
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hobbssamuelj: my 'hint' comment was in response to tel jetson's post, in case you thought I was being smart!
 
                            
Posts: 37
Location: australia
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hobbssamuelj wrote:
has anyone had any luck with 3-in-1 trees?

we have a similar space now filled with apples and soft fruits
to exaggerate the sunshine we spread a frame across east west and planted granny smith apples two feet apart...of these seed-grown trees one fruited and we grafted the others with apples of our desire
amongst the apples, which are trained along the frame, we have planted red and black currants and grapes
nearby (but within the limits of your space) boysenberries and youngberries and loganberries
for a bit of colour before the apple blossoms we put in some tree dahlias and some other wild reedy thing with orange colour exists happily too
sounds awfully crowded doesn't it! well it is, but like you, we are blessed with deep topsoil

could take a pic if you think it useful
cheers
 
                                          
Posts: 95
Location: Ferndale, MI- Zone 5b
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pippimac wrote:
hobbssamuelj: my 'hint' comment was in response to tel jetson's post, in case you thought I was being smart!


No problem.  I prefer smart tips.  They're my favorite kind!
 
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