[NAFEX] nafex Digest, Vol 67, Issue 35

Tim Inman Tim at historicinteriors.com
Tue Aug 12 11:12:34 EDT 2008

>      I am part of a group that wants to plant a mixed perennial orchard on 
> one or more parcels of land in our community. A couple of us have gained 
> some skill in grafting scion wood onto root stock and have thereby 
> accumulated twenty or so trees that will be ready to be set out. What I am 
> seeking is some references on how to plan an orchard. Can y'all recommend 
> a few that would be available from the NAFEX library?
>      A couple of us will be attending Tom Burford's "Cider Workshop" in 
> Sept., so will be able to pick his brain some at that event.
>      A question that has come up is:
>  - given that we seem to be in a drought cycle it seems prudent to use 
> Full Size or Semi Dwarf root stock for their deep root system which should 
> have better drought tolerance. However, we would like to have our trees 
> maintained to a reasonable height. The question: Can a tree on Full Size 
> root stock be pruned in such a way so as to keep it to a reasonable size 
> while still taking advantage of a deep root system? Is there a "down side" 
> to this approach?
>  Geoffrey Stone
>  Earthaven Assn.
>  Black Mountain, NC

Yes, a full size (standard) root stock tree can certainly be pruned and 
maintained to keep it at a reasonable size.  You just can't forget to do 
your pruning, or the tree will revert to full size characteristics.

At a recent retreat, a retired University Extension agent and I enjoyed an 
enjoyable 'orchard' conversation one afternoon.  He has been using standard 
seedlings as rootstock for years, and pruning to size.  I've been doing it 
too.  We both live in very harsh climates and really need the deep rooting 
and strong holding power of a standard root stock.  If your experience is 
like ours, I'm confident you'll be happy with standard root stock on your 
trees - just keep your shears and saws handy and don't forget to prune!

Tim Inman
Randolph, Iowa 

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