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We live in Herriman and have a 25 x 30 foot plot of land that we would like to turn into an orchard. We would like to plant a variety of apples, pears, plums, and peaches. When should we plant? What kinds should we plant? How many of each should we plant? We are total beginners! Are there books or other resources you would recommend to help us that give answers for our specific area?

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A

With backyard orchard, there is limited space, especially a 25x30 plot as a mature standard apple tree requires spacing of 18 to 25 feet between trees.  So, I recommend looking for dwarf or semidwarf rootstocks which allow for closer spacing.  As for varieties there are many variables, the most important being what you like, if you want eating or canning or baking type of fruits.  Also take into consideration that fruit trees require time and maintenance for healthy trees and fruit production. Pruning, training, weed control, pest management are all part of growing an orchard. I will attach below the Home Orchard Pest Management Guide to also take into consideration of the time involved for managing trees.  It may take a minimum of 3 to 5 years for trees to produce fruits.  You asked this question at the end of June, so it's difficult to find planting stock (and if you did - a bad time for planting trees with the hot temperatures and small rootballs that would not bode well for successful transplanting).  Box Elder County has excellent information that can also apply for Salt Lake County for fruit trees.  I think planning now for next spring would be ideal so you can plan out irrigation, training and integrated pest management.

General Information on Fruit Tree Production
http://extension.usu.edu/boxelder/htm/fruit

Variety Recommendations
http://extension.usu.edu/boxelder/htm/fruit/variety

Home Orchard Pest Management Guide
http://extension.usu.edu/htm/publications/publication=8460


Good Gardening!

Posted on 30 Jul 2008

Maggie Shao
Horticulture Agent, Salt Lake County

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