Holy cow Maya,
This looks like it's way more than a hobby. Is this what you do for a living?
P.S. educate me here please. How does it work planting the apple trees close together? Do you transplant some or thin them out when they get bigger' Really interesting stuff.
Ya it's more than a hobby Latt. I am a mailman, and will retire in 4 years. This will be my retirement job. Right now I'm working 60-80 hours per week doing both, but this is something I really enjoy, like seng hunting.
This orchard is called a \"tall spindle\" high density orchard. They produce between 1000-1200 bushel per acre as opposed to old fashion orchards with full sized trees which put out around 350 - 500 bushel per acre. Virtually every orchard today is going over to some type of high density planting as they are much more efficient per acre and are far easier to care for once they are established.
High density orchards do have a higher start up cost, but you start getting a return on investment in one year as opposed to 3-10 years with trees grown on semi - dwarf or full sized trees.
Tall spindle is a 3' x 11' planting of dwarf apple trees. I buy them \"feathered\" (trees with small branches). These trees if trained properly produce apples in one year. Branches are manipulated downward below 90 degrees at planting. This keeps branches small and also stimulates them to fruit early. I have around 1300 trees in this orchard on less than an acre and a half.
Here's a pic of branch manipulation on 1st year trees.....