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Home  > Question of the Week

Question of the Week

Permalink What information can you give me on sub-acreage orcharding?

Rhode Island

Answer: I am pleased to provide you with information regarding sub-acreage orcharding.

Information on Sub-acreage orchards and dwarf fruit trees:

Permaculture orchard design might fit into your ideas for a sub-acreage orchard, as the principle is to develop multiple uses and perennial plantings for the orchard area. This information is outlined in great detail in Bill Mollison’s permaculture book, which I have listed below under further resources.

Another great gook which describes varieties and maintenance of dwarf fruit trees is “Planning & planting your dwarf fruit orchard.” In this book, they summarize the advantages of dwarf fruit trees, as well as selection factors, site planning and planting. There are tables describing varieties, ripening times, hardiness, uses and other information for dwarf apples, apricots, cherries, pears and plums. This seems like the quintessential resource for your plans. I have listed this book, as well as how to obtain it below, under further resources.

Finally a book that is frequently recommended for small-scale orcharding is: The Backyard Orchardist: A Complete Guide to Growing Fruit Trees in the Home Garden. This guide includes help on selecting the best fruit trees and information about each stage of growth and development, along with tips on harvest and storage of the fruit.

In general, pest management can be more of a challenge with these highly manipulated fruit trees. Dwarf and semi-dwarf fruit trees tend to have shallow root systems and competition from weeds for moisture and nutrients can restrict growth, so weed management is critical. Please see the ATTRA publication, Organic Tree Fruit Production, which provides a good overview of managing an organic orchard.

Further Resources:
Edited by Louise B. Lloyd. Planning and Planting your Dwarf Fruit Tree Orchard. Pownal, VT : Storey Communications
This booklet is no longer in print, but you can purchase a PDF online for a nominal fee (under $4.00) at the following link:

Mollison, Bill, and Reny Mia Slay. 1997. Permaculture: A Designers Manual. Tagari Publications.
This book is available from numerous sources.

Otto, Stella. 1997. The Backyard Orchardist: A Complete Guide to Growing Fruit Trees in the Home Garden. Ottographics; Rev Sub edition (January 1, 1995)
This book is available from numerous sources.



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