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Treacodactyl

Apple tree spacing

I've got some apple trees on MM106 rootstocks and I'm wondering how close I can get away with spacing them. It would seem 4m apart is recommended but I doubt they will get that big as the site is a bit wind swept and the soil isn't overly rich or deep.

Even 3m apart would leave more room for.... more trees.
dpack

4 m seems about right if you are going to let them grow as standards

4 m along the line seems about right for training as espaliers but the rows can be a bit closer

in our new orchard we are working on 5 m centres for standards and 3 m centers for bushy ones (rows seems a bit industrial for a community orchard)

if it is a bit of a bleak site it might need 4 m roots to support a 2 by 2 m tree

if it is a matter of say 4 trees or 6 ( edit, per group or row) i would go for 4 in the hope that 4 with plenty of room would give a better crop than 6 squashed in ones and be less prone to pests and diseases.
yummersetter

Do you remember my new orchard,Treac? Most of the 5 year old 106s that I planted seven years ago ten ft apart in pretty good soil are now about six to eight ft diameter and eight to twelve ft high. There is a mix of stem heights in the various zones, which helps. I think when they've reached their maximum size they'll just be touching outermost twigs in the rows and I'm happy with that, though twelve ft would have been ideal. We've had good cropping and healthy trees excepting weather and animal damage. The different varieties each have their own sizes and shapes though, Ribston is low and wide, Princesse is like a pear tree, fifteen ft high and five ft diameter.
Mistress Rose

I wouldn't try to squeeze in more trees. We planted some apple trees about 30 years ago. No idea what root stock they were on, but they generally seem to behave at a moderate height, although will try to get higher. Where the less vigorous ones don't have enough room they are not doing that well, so more room is happier trees.
Treacodactyl

Do you remember my new orchard,Treac? Most of the 5 year old 106s that I planted seven years ago ten ft apart in pretty good soil are now about six to eight ft diameter and eight to twelve ft high. There is a mix of stem heights in the various zones, which helps. I think when they've reached their maximum size they'll just be touching outermost twigs in the rows and I'm happy with that, though twelve ft would have been ideal. We've had good cropping and healthy trees excepting weather and animal damage. The different varieties each have their own sizes and shapes though, Ribston is low and wide, Princesse is like a pear tree, fifteen ft high and five ft diameter.


Yes, we remember it well. I've also planted up another area with several MM106s and found a similar mix of sizes and shapes. Out of 10 or so trees one has shot away, one has hardly grown in 5 years and two have succumbed to canker.

I'm expecting similar here, so 10' / 3m spacing sounds reasonable if the odd tree struggles or we lose the odd one or two from 20.
yummersetter

Out of those 125 apple trees, one didn't grow, one annoyed me, one died peacefully over its first winter and one had canker just above the graft. Another has canker at the top of the trunk below where it branches out and I keep dithering whether to chop it below . . but it keeps on producing really good apples so I give it the benefit of the doubt.

I thought we could just dig out anything overcrowded but its not so easy. I had a strong lad in to get a two-year planted Asian pear out as the wood was too brittle to bear fruit without breaking and the enormous roots went on for yards/metres in every direction, took him half a day even with the aid of an axe.
Treacodactyl

Being wetter down and the soil more acidic we get a lot of canker. I've lost 3 out of 25 trees and a couple more are struggling.

I would aim to prune any over exuberant trees into shape if required, so not letting any spread too much. I did find someone suggesting you could even prune them to a single stem which I expect would need far less than 4m spacing but I've not found any recommendations of spacing vs pruning methods.
Treacodactyl

I think I've decided on 3.5m spacing, gives them some room but allows another row for 8 trees in the space I have.
gregotyn

40 years ago I had an orchard, planted by the previous owner, we had 6 rows of 15 trees row spacing 10ft, and tree spacing 10ft., all planted on 'short' root stocks, and in my short space of time, 4.5 years there, none grew any more that a couple of feet most not going upwards. they were however keen to grow sideways! then I got a professional to come and show me how to prune, and then I divorced, but nothing to do with the trees!
tahir

We have rows 4.25 mtrs apart with trees spaced @ 3.5 mtrs within the rows. The rows would be closed up now if we didn't prune.

We planted in 2006
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