Frequently Asked Questions
Below we have provided answers to many frequently
asked questions regarding all aspects of fruit tree growing and
ordering. If you do not find the answers to your questions in
any of the categories below please contact ACN by e-mail,
by using the contact form on this site or by phone
at the number listed at the left hand column of this page.
Planting & Caring for Trees
How far apart should fruit trees be planted?
Dwarf apple trees should be planted in the row 5-7 feet apart. Semi-dwarf apple trees should be planted at 12-14 feet and large semi-dwarf apple trees should be planted 16-18 feet apart. Open-center trained peach, nectarine, apricot, and plum trees should be spaced in the row 12-18 feet apart. Domestic pear should be spaced 12-14 feet and Asian pear trees should be spaced at 10-12 feet. Cherry trees should be planted 15-18 feet apart on seedling (mazzard) root and 10-12 feet apart on semi-dwarf root.
Do I need to stake (provide support for) my trees?
Dwarf apple trees require support. Dwarf rootstocks include Bud 9, M-9, G-11, G-16, EMLA 26 and M-9/EMLA 111. EMLA 7 is considered a freestanding rootstock however a short rigid stake is advised to avoid leaning. The larger EMLA 111 and EMLA 106 rootstocks are freestanding. Peach, nectarine, plum, pear, and apricot do not require staking. Cherry trees are freestanding although staking is advised on dwarf cherry (Gisela® roots). When using wood to support trees, a minimum 2.5" diameter pressure-treated pole is suggested.
Should I put fertilizer in the hole when I plant the tree?
We do not encourage putting fertilizer in the hole at planting. More young trees die from over-fertilizing than anything else. We recommend fertilizer application 4-5 weeks after planting. No more than 4 ounces of 10-10-10 fertilizer should be applied around the drip line of each tree. Do not apply directly against the base of the tree. Allow the roots to grow to the fertilizer.
How much water do trees require?
A common sense approach should be taken to watering fruit trees. In times of drought, trees should receive a minimum of five gallons of water every ten days. Dwarf apple trees are less tolerant to drought conditions. Under drought stress, they require a minimum of five gallons per week. One method of watering trees is to drill a pinhole in a five-gallon bucket and allow the water to drip into the root system. Peach trees require more water two weeks prior to expected harvest date of fruit and final fruit swell. Be careful not to over-water fruit trees.
I am concerned about winter injury. What can I do to help avoid this?
To help prevent winter injury we recommend that you paint the base of the tree up to the first set of scaffold branches. Use a basic white, latex paint for this.
How do I prevent deer damage?
For situations where deer pressure is light to moderate we sell a product called Rechargeable Soap Bags. The soap mimics the scent of a human and in turn acts as a deterrent. These are available to purchase from the orchard supplies section of our site. Unfortunately in many cases deer pressure is too heavy, and a scent deterrent may prove ineffective. In this case fencing is the ideal solution. You may fence the entire area, or for a small lot of trees you may choose to individually cage the trees. For this process the ideal post to use is a 6' T post, available at farm supply stores. Use a minimum of 3 posts per tree, located 4' out from the tree. Posts should be hammered one foot into the ground. The cage should stand at least 5-6' high. Use 3-4" square woven wire, turkey wire, snow fence or plastic mesh (used for erosion control) for the fencing material. We recommend putting down crushed stone inside the cage to enhance weed control (preferably limestone or pea stone). The stone provides excellent vole control as well. Bark mulch is not recommended for fruit trees due to enhancing the habitat for voles/mice.
Can ACN give me spraying recommendations?
ACN is not authorized to give spray recommendations. Growers may obtain spray information on the web at http://ssfruit.cas.psu.edu/. A hard copy of the Fruit Production Guide is also available at our online bookstore for $15.00.
How much sun do fruit trees need?
For the best results fruit trees should be planted where they will receive full sun.
How do I prevent damage from ground-dwelling pests (i.e. rabbits and mice)?
We recommend using a tree guard (minimum height 18") to prevent above ground girdling inflicted by rabbits and mice. We sell a white, plastic, self-coiling tree guard for this purpose. Please see our orchard supplies page to purchase tree guards.