13. Questions & Answers
Are dwarf trees really worthwhile?
Standard trees have some advantages over trees with dwarfing rootstock. In fact, only in apples are the dwarf trees really satisfactory. In peaches, plums, cherries, apricots, etc., many horticulturists believe standard trees are better for home orchards. Rootstocks on standard trees are almost always stronger, more adaptable to a wider range of soils, hardier, and more drought resistant. However, dwarf trees usually bear earlier and require less pruning. Dwarfs are easier to pick and spray, unless the standard tree is kept small in which case the difference is minimal. You can keep a standard tree fairly small with intelligent pruning.
Should the orchard site be tilled before planting?
Not necessarily. Some orchardists recommend
deep tilling, lime, fertilizer, etc., a year ahead of time
before planting an orchard and admittedly this is a good practice on certain types of soils. It cannot be practiced on a hillside or where erosion is a problem. Planting in sod can be successful and eminently more natural to the ecosystem. Trees should be mulched to the dripline and they can be fertilized with a light application of manure and minerals.
I am 70 years old. Is it foolish for me to consider starting an orchard at my age?
No! Some of the best orchardists are elderly folks. They are usually livelier than many young people and have a more positive outlook on life. Not only will you be contributing to your own health and welfare but you will be making a serious contribution to society as well.
Do trees need to be arranged in any particular way in order to be pollinated properly?
No, you do not need to strive for perfect pollination. In an organically-managed orchard, an abundance of bees and other pollinating insects will do a fine job for you as long as the trees are reasonably close to each other.
> Lesson 50 - The Pluses In Orcharding: How To Get Started
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