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So, Spring is nearly here and you’re wanting to order some plants and trees. You also want to be prepared and know how to best go about it, right?  We include with your order detailed planting instructions that will cover most questions.  However, you’ll need to select the best sites for your trees and make some preparations.  

Where’s the best place to plant?  Well, that’s a complex question and every site is a little different.  Sun is the basic prerequisite.  If you don’t have strong intense sunlight you can;t grow good fruit.  You can either plant somewhere else, or consider removing ornamental or other trees to create more direct sun for food plots.  Totally OK thing to do!  Second, you need a well-drained (not mucky or overly wet site).  This kills plant roots.  Plant roots need to breathe oxygen too.  Low lying sites are also not good, because frosty air accumulates in low spots, which can damage flowers in bloom in early spring.  Flat sites or gentle slopes are best.  

Spacing is important.  Apples and pears need about 18-20 feet apart if growing full size.  Peaches and plums about 10-15 feet.  Pawpaws about 10 ft.  Mulberries about 15-20 ft.  Make sure to give trees adequate space and not cram them too close together.  You can also keep trees pruned small, but you have to keep up on it.  Summer pruning keeps trees small.  

Go ahead and plan the spots where trees will be going before they arrive.  You can use contractor flags to mark spots.  Make a map on paper or on a computer.  Play with the design and think it over.  How could it be improved?  Are the pears going to grow too tall and shade the berries?  Change positions as necessary (BEFORE planting!!!) 

Deer protection: necessary wherever deer live.  See our deer protection article.  Plan for that. 

Also, think about watering, mulch and fertilizer.  What mulch material are you using?  Cardboard (plain and flattened out), or organic mulch material (straw, leaves, woodchips?) Or are you using woven black plastic ground cloth?  You’ve got to use something to eliminate and suppress grass and weeds.  How are you going to water the trees?  What organic fertilizer will you be using and where is it coming from?  

That’s a short list of most of the basics you’ll need to plan for when getting an orchard or planting setup! 

Best wishes, Blake C.