Below are answers to a variety of questions regarding different aspects of planting, growing fruit trees and our ordering process. If you do not find the answers you need please feel free to contact us anytime!
Ordering from ACN
You may order trees online or by calling our sales team during normal business hours: M-F, 7am-5pm. Due to the nature of our business, some items may not be available for delivery at the desired time. We make every effort to substitute similar varieties when requested. We assure you that your order will receive our careful attention.
Our fruit trees are all 2-year old, bare root trees. Average size of our trees at shipment is 4-5′ in height, 1/2-5/8″ in caliper/diameter.
Most fruit trees do require cross pollination to yield fruit. Apple trees should be cross-pollinated, but bloom time is not as critical, as many apple varieties have overlapping bloom times. In situations where only a few apple varieties are planted, check the apple pollination chart to make sure bloom times coincide. Peach and nectarine trees are self-fertile and do not require cross pollination. Most plum, apricot and pear varieties require cross pollination. A minimum of two different varieties is required for proper pollination. Trees you would like to cross pollinate should be planted within 50 feet of each other. Also keep in mind that apricot, plum, and peach bloom ahead of apple and in turn are more subject to spring frost damage.
Issues can arise during shipping season where we need to reach our customers. We have had to contact customers in the past due to incorrect shipping addresses, bad credit card information, tree shortages, variety substitutions etc. Most importantly, if problems arise during plant transit, a daytime phone number can save valuable time.
Preparation for Planting
Fruit trees prefer well-drained soils. Avoid low areas subject to frost. Elevated sites that are sloped are ideal. If possible arrange rows to run North to South. Northern aspects are generally more frost tolerant. Fruit trees should be planted in full sun.
A minimum 18″ x 18″ hole is recommended. If using an auger to dig the holes, a 24″ auger is appropriate.
Fruit trees do not require overly fertile soils. Soils that are well-drained with some gravel or shale are ideal. Fruit trees struggle in heavy clay and poorly-drained soils. In situations where only these types of soils exist, ridging the planting to elevate the tree above the existing soil plane helps to rectify this problem. Your pH should be somewhere near 6.2 – 6.5 (neutral). Mend with lime if necessary.
Planting & Caring for Trees
Dwarf apple trees can be planted (as close as) 5-6 feet apart. Semi-dwarf apple trees should be planted 12-15 feet apart. Peach, nectarine, apricot and plum trained to the traditional open-center method should be spaced 12-14 feet apart. Pear can be planted 12-14 feet in-row.
We strongly recommend cutting back fruit trees after they are planted. When the trees are harvested there is some root loss due to mechanical harvesting, and therefore cutting back the trees will help rebalance and invigorate them.
Dwarf apple trees require support for the life of the tree. We recommend staking semi-dwarf apple trees for a few years until they are established, especially if planted in light ground. Peach, nectarine, plum, pear, and apricot do not require staking. If using wood to support trees, a minimum 2.5″ diameter pressure-treated pole is recommended.
We do not encourage putting fertilizer in the hole at planting, as it is very easy to over-fertilize young trees. We recommend a fertilizer application 4-5 weeks after planting. Approximately 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.
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. Peach trees require more water two weeks prior to expected harvest and final fruit swell. Use caution to avoid over-watering your trees.
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.
For situations where deer pressure is light to moderate odor deterrents like soap bags, dryer sheets, garlic clips etc. can be effective. Unfortunately in many cases deer pressure is too heavy, and an odor deterrent might not keep them off the trees. In this case fencing or individually caging the trees is the ideal solution.
We recommend using a tree guard (18″ minimum height) to prevent above-ground girdling inflicted by rabbits and mice. The vegetative growth at the base of the trees (grass and weeds) should be managed via cultivation or herbicide to avoid creating a rodent habitat and also to reduce water and nutrient competition.
Young apple and pear trees should be pruned a minimum of one month before bud break in late February or March. Peach, plum, apricot and nectarine trees can be pruned one month prior to bud swell and up through bloom. You may also summer prune peach and nectarine trees.
We suggest you reach out to your regional agricultural extension. Penn State, Cornell, Michigan State (among many others) have very good extension programs to help provide recommendations for spraying and best pruning practices.