Designing a Planting

While growing fruit at home can be rewarding, it will cost time and money. To reduce these costs, carefully consider the design of your planting, including arrangement, spacing, cultivar selection, number of plants, and aesthetics.

One common mistake is to put the plants too close together. Allow ample room for growth so you can prune and perform other tasks.

Another common error is to put in more plants than you need. A small planting that receives proper care will yield more good-quality fruit than a larger planting that is neglected. Use Table 2 to help draw up a planting design that will meet family and space requirements.

Many fruit plants are aesthetically pleasing and are good for "edible landscaping." But if production and ease of management are your primary goals, maintaining a home fruit planting will be easiest if you devote separate

Table 2: Planting and harvesting guidelines for various fruit crops

Spacing (ft.)

Bearing

Potential Yield

Between

Between

Age

at Maturity

Fruit and Rootstock

Plants

Rows

(years)

(lb./plant)

Harvest Period

Cultural Demands

Tree fruits

Apple, M.9

7

!3

3-5

60

late July through Oct.

High

Apple, M.26

10

15

3-5

100

late July through Oct.

High

Apple, M.7, M.9/MM.106

12

18

4-5

250

late July through Oct.

High

Apple, MM.106, MM.111

18

24

5

300

late July through Oct.

High

Apricot

15

20

4

100

mid-July to early Aug.

High

Cherry, sweet

24

30

7

300

early to mid-July

High

Cherry, tart

18

24

4

100

mid- to late July

Low

Nectarine

15

20

5

100

early Aug. to early Sept.

High

Peach

15

20

4

100

late July to mid-Sept.

High

Pear, Old Home/quince

15

15

4

100

mid-Aug. to Oct.

Moderate

Pear, standard

20

20

5

100

mid-Aug. to Oct.

Moderate

Plum

10

15

5

75

late July to mid-Sept.

Moderate

Grapes

American type

8

9

3

20

early Sept. to Oct.

Moderate

Vinifera type

8

9

3

10

early Sept. to Oct.

High

Small fruits

Blackberry

2

10

2

2-3

late July to Aug.

Moderate

Blueberry

4-5

10

3-6

3-10

late July to Sept.

Low

Currant

4

8

2-4

6-8

July

Low

Elderberry

6

10

2-4

4-8

Aug. to Sept.

Low

Gooseberry

4

10

2-4

2-4

July to Aug.

Moderate

Raspberry

2

8

2

1-2

July or Sept.

Moderate

Strawberry (June-bearing)

2

4

2

I-3

June to early July

Moderate

Strawberry (Day-neutral)

0-5

3-5

1

1

June through Oct.

High

areas to fruit trees, small fruits, and vegetables. Some people find a natural setting with plants placed throughout the landscape most aesthetically pleasing. But this makes maintenance more challenging.

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