Well we are finally finishing up planting apple trees for this spring! It has been a real challenge getting them planted in between the rainy days. It seems just when the ground dried up enough to plant, we would get another inch of rain and have to wait again!
The recipe for an apple orchard has changed a lot over the years. Back in the 1930’s and 1940’s, it was common to plant trees 35 feet apart or more with 40-48 trees per acre. Those were the big old spreading apple trees that you climbed as a kid. They were huge, often 24 feet wide and just as tall. And planting was simple. Just plant them and in 5-8 years you would start getting some apples! When the trees got older, it could take a man all day to pick two trees!
Today things have changed greatly. The recipe for one acre of orchard now looks like this:
- 1,200 apple trees
- 102 treated 12 foot posts
- 7,250 feet of high tensile wire
- 1,200 ten foot x ½ inch steel Conduits (pipes)
- 2,400 wire clips
- 4,800-6,000 feet of plastic tying tube.
- 3,600 feet of drip irrigation line
- Various other hardware.
This is obviously a simplified description of the planting process. Hundreds of hours of work go into each acre in the first year alone! If everything goes perfectly, we should begin to pick some fruit off the new orchard when it is three years old. Oh, I forgot. Just add sunshine and water! (and a few other things!)
Hope you have a fruitful week!