Semi Dwarf fruit tree spacing

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I have about a dozen "semi-dwarf" fruit trees, each planted 12 feet apart. Does anyone have experience with such trees? Did I plant them too close together?
Also, when initially planting them as bare root trees, how severely should they be pruned? And once they start to bud out, is it too late to prune them?
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On Tue, 28 Mar 2006 08:27:51 -0800, "Zootal" <nousenetspam at dead ice dot us> wrote:

This ought to help out. You may want to do a search on fruit trees in your state. This should be consistent across most of North America:
http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/hort/hil/ag30.html
By this, the trees should be 20 to 25 feet apart. First year is recommended to prune to three sprigs.
Thunder
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An interesting article, but it didn't specifically address semi-dwarf trees (are peach trees assumed to be semi-dwarfs?)
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<nousenetspam at dead ice dot us> says...

http://www.davewilson.com/homegrown/BOC_what-is.html
http://www.davewilson.com/homegrown/hidensity.html
        Bill -- Gmail and Google Groups. This century's answer to AOL and WebTV.
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I think this Dave Wilson Nursury is way out of line with their recommendations. Dwarfing rootstock IS the best way to control tree size. Excessive pruning as he suggests results in a butchered tree with no shape and much retarded fruit production.
Sherwin D.
Bill wrote:

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I'm sure your opinion has him worried to death. Then again, he's running a succesful nursery, and your just running your mouth.
        Bill -- Gmail and Google Groups. This century's answer to AOL and WebTV.
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Just because he's running a nursery, and has a busy webpage, DOES NOT mean he know what is "right". I've read a lot of bad suggestions on DAVE'S page. Sounds like Bill is running his mouth too. (so am I ...) It means he's good at marketing.
Severly pruning a tree, repeatedly, will lower the production, and be LOTS of extra work.
bahB
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com says...

OTOH, if he gave out bad infirmation, he probably not stay in business long.

In your opinion.
Sounds like Bill is running his mouth too.
Not yet.

Yes,

No.

Perhaps you should reread the article again, It's for back yard gardening, not farming.
        Bill -- Gmail and Google Groups. This century's answer to AOL and WebTV.
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Bill wrote:

There are a lot of shady used car salesmen selling junkers out there who are quite successful. Staying in business is not a recommendation.

A full size tree will not fit into most backyard orchards. If it does, there is a lot of work to keep it trimmed down to size. That means jumping up and down a ladder to trim it, spray it, harvest it, etc.

I read the article and this guy is way out of line.

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Really? And your words of wisdom are so much more to be believed than a company who's been in the nursery business since 1938? Why?
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I still think the nursery is giving out poor advice.
Their 'Backyard Orchard Culture' lays out things which do not make sense. If I wanted a small tree, why would I buy a big growth tree and chop the hell out of it? That's why there are rootstocks that produce trees as small as 6 feet high, and even this nursery sells them. Planting more than one tree in a hole is another abomination that results in several trees competing with each other and possibly strangling themselves to death. My knowledge base is not just my own, but is somewhat of a consensus of the opinion of the many members of the fruit growing club of which I am an active member. This nursery may sell good trees and rootstocks, but they are giving the wrong messages on how to plant and maintain them.
Sherwin
Bill wrote:

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Why don't you just not go off defending someone you say doesn't need help?
Read your own drivel. I don't care what your oppion of Dvae's Garden is. There is lots of advice which does not follow proven horticultural practices.
bahB
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com says...

Why not learn how to quote and post properly. Oh ya, gmail and google groups. I'm giving your opinion all the due it deserves.
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Plus it ruins the looks of trees, like apples. Peaches may be an exception to a heavy initial pruning of the leader to get the tree to sprawl more to aid in fruit yield.
Sherwin
" snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com" wrote:

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if that were true, espailering wouldn't work... and espailered fruit trees have been around for centuries because it *does* work. no, you can't go pruning off all the fruiting branches, but severe pruning as on that page will allow production in small areas. yes, it's a lot of work learning the proper techniques, but if tou want an orchard & only *have* a tiny yard, it *will* work. you learn what you need to get the results you want. isn't that how most things in life work? lee
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espalier is not used for commercial production. it is decorative and production IS severely cut down. Ingrid

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After a tree has been trained as a espalier it will not need "excessive" pruning. But such tree forms were one of the reason dwarfing rootstocks were investigated and used.
And yes, I have seen espalied full size apple trees. I didn't come here to argue. My my my...
hapy gardening is happy gardening. It ain't 1984 no more, this is a Brave New World.
baHBBB bbsmcn (I like lopping)
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And I'm sure that I'm entitled to state my opinion. The fact that he is in business is no endorsement that he is giving out good advice. His theories on dwarfing trees is way out of line with common knowledge in universities and research stations. Just check the web on how much research is put into dwarf rootstocks and how many huge numbers of them are being used by fruit growers throughout the world. I have been growing dwarf fruit trees for almost 20 years and have not seen any of the problems he claims are inherent in their nature. It's true a dwarf tree may only live to be twenty years or more, whereas a standard tree can live much longer. What he fails to mention is that standard trees are much more difficult to maintain and harvest, and take longer to yield their first crop. By the way, what is your expertise in these matters or are you just defending the poor guy?
Sherwin
Bill wrote:

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Same as yours. I have grown and am presently growing semidwarf and dwarf fruit trees. I've tried his method; it works. Do the trees compete for resources? Yes. Does pruning them as he suggests keep there production down? Yes. The whole Idea is to keep the trees small and managable with a manageable amount of fruit. If you have a small yard and want a variety of fruit without having to throw or give most of away because you can't use it this is one way to go. If you've got a couple of acres, by all means, spread them out. Just be prepared for all the fruit you're going to get.
The OP was asking if he had enough spacing for his trees. I posted a reference to show that trees can be planted closer than the spacing he had used. Merely that. Last I looked, universities and research stations were much more interested in helping farmers and agribusiness that they were the backyard gardener. You probably don't think much of square foot gardening either, do you?
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Bill wrote:

Not by pruning, but by selecting the proper rootstock.

In this case, the technology helps both for somewhat different purposes. The ease of maintenance helps the commercial people as much as the home gardener. The two groups need not be at cross purposes.

You are trying very hard to stereotype me. I do practice square foot gardening, but I fail to see the connection here. We both agree on the benefits of using dwarfing rootstock, but you were defending this Dave Wilson Nursery who thinks summer pruning is the only way to control tree spacing in the home orchard. A friend of mine has a small city lot and has almost 100 dwarf trees on M27 rootstock in his backyard (they are only about 6 feet tall). Check out his backyard on www.midfex.org. Dave Wilson Nursery even lists the characteristics of M27 rootstock and comes to this strange conclusion anyways. Summer pruning is mainly used to open up a tree and rid it of suckers and crossed branches, not size control. Severly pruning a fruit tree will produce an ugly tree and cut down yield appreciably. Fruit production should be controlled by thinning, not pruning.
Sherwin

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