Magazine article Sunset

Three-in-One Orchard Is a Space-Saver

Magazine article Sunset

Three-in-One Orchard Is a Space-Saver

Article excerpt

If you have room for just one stone fruit tree, you can squeeze in three. With space for two, you can shoehorn in six. How? Plant three trees in a triangular space not much bigger than you'd use for one.

This age-old technique triples your options. You can stretch the harvest of one fruit crop by planting early-, mid-, and lateseason varieties-`Snow Queen', `Heavenly White', and Arctic Queen' nectarines, for instance. Or plant two or three different fruit trees-a peach, a nectarine, and a self-fruiting plum.

Most stone fruit trees can be planted three-to-one. Just make sure the trees have comparable rootstocks-a tree with a standard rootstock will rapidly outgrow companions grafted onto dwarf or semidwarf stock. Find out whether the trees you want are self-fruiting or need second pollinators. And determine whether the area where you live can provide the necessary chill hours for the trees you want to grow.

Once you've decided on your triplets, here's how to plant: Select a sunny, well-draining site where you can plant three trees in a triangle with the trunks spaced 18 to 24 inches apart. …

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