Planting a front yard orchard

A friend suggested I plant a home orchard so that we could grow our own fruit. Though I wanted very much to have fresh fruit right out our door, our best property is in the front yard and our town zoning laws prohibit fences in the front yard. I took the preemptive step of visiting the town planner and explaining that I wanted to grow fruit trees and asked for special permission to plant 20 trees surrounded by a “semi-permanent” deer fence. I got the ok!

DSC_0260I immediately planted my first 20 trees; almond, peach, pear, cherry and apple. We built a deer fence around the orchard with 8′ tall flexible deer fencing and 4×4 wooden posts, deer fence, added a gate and we had an orchard. In the beginning I planted semi-dwarfs but have learned that standards are better. If we have a deep, deep freeze and the ground freezes 6′ or more, semi-dwarfs will be killed. Therefore it is much better to plant a standard fruit tree which can be pruned to keep in check and go for the deeper root. I buy my tree stock from St. Lawrence Nursery in Potsdam, NY. Winter is a great time to begin to plan for spring, find a site, talk to your town, order a small group of trees and fencing to protect them. This is the way to take the plunge and begin to grow your own food.

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