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PostPosted: Sun Feb 07, 2016 5:34 pm 
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Showy Hen
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We were very fortunate to inherit a small mixed orchard on our property.
At present it has apples, plums, apricots, cherries, cherry plums, some peaches and something that hasn't fruited in the time we've been here.

We're planning on expanding it, increasing the variety of fruit and the picking season.
We also plan on fencing it and using it as a chicken run. We think that will mean "boxing it in". I'm open to any suggestions regarding how to go about that fencing job!

I'd also love to hear about any good varieties of fruit tree that people can recommend. We're cool climate and do get frosts and snow in winter.

Specifically I want to plant more cherries and peaches and some nectarines.

Thanks!


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 07, 2016 10:52 pm 
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Golden Swan
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It is great to house chooks in an orchard. They love it and eat fallen fruit (and jump to get to fruit on lower branches - so beware!)

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 07, 2016 11:13 pm 
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Old Mother Goose
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Will be following this with interest our orchard and climate are similar - 60 trees - the wild birds get most of the fruit unless we net which is a pain.
The current plan is to fence with 1.8 m dog fence with light chicken wire over this to keep the birds out and cover the top with bird netting. It will be a big job to do the post and wire framework and make it fox proof. I have started to prune the existing trees to reduce their height and am weighting the branches to encourage them to droop. Anything that I replace will be on dwarfing root stock - the problem here is my preference for heirloom varieties (less easy to find on suitable root stock) and organic management. This will house our ducks and geese (maybe some guineas).

The orchard will really have to generate some income to justify the time and cost -considering 'pick your own'


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2016 9:49 am 
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Showy Hen
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Sue I think we're really on the same wavelength. We're also looking at more heirloom varieties and trying to tackle the height of some of the existing trees. It's a challenge.

The parrots get almost everything here too but we did get quite a lot of the white cherries this time.

I'm also planning a berry garden but the chooks won't be allowed in there.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2016 10:04 am 
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Old Mother Goose
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Location (Rough area is fine) as it will impact what you might be able to grow, or not.




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PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2016 11:25 am 
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Proud Rooster
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Here are 2 photos of a tree cover I made several years ago which the tree grew through very quickly because the netting actually traps enough moisture & humidity in there to boost the tree's ability to grow faster. So be warned that you will have to remove the net & prune more regularly, probably ever 2 yrs.

It's 4m tall at the top & about 5m square because that's how wide the mesh will stretch too. It has a ridge pole of 2-3inch bamboo with holes drilled in it & the poly to tie off with tie wire. That pole was actually broken in the cyclone we had here 3yrs ago probably because once the tree grew to tall, the bamboo was always covered by the leaves so it never dried out.

Those are 8ft steep posts (star pickets) driven only a little way into the ground at an angle with 2.5inch ag poly pipe threaded over the top & holes drilled to push a piece of fencing wire through to hold the poly pipe at the right height on the steel posts. The second year I moved the poly pipe up to the highest hole on the posts to accommodate the tree's growth. But as you can see it grew through that too. There are 3 posts down each side. If I made it any longer it would have needed 4 posts down each long side. I bought the widest mesh which stretched from end to end & I think 10m long to go right over the top from almost ground level on each side. I joined in another 2m piece at each end using baling twine to drape down & ran another baling twine through it to gather it at the center as you can see. The mesh came almost to the ground all around leaving just enough height to mow under it or in my case for the horses to eat around under it's edges.

Last year I took the netting off & pruned the tree back by half. Well I had to do a lot of pruning just to get to the netting as the tree had grown right through it. But I did it too late in the season so no lychees for xmas but I will prune the tree again & replace the netting in time for next season fruit. In the meantime I used just the netting over a huge tomato trellis I built out of bamboo again to stop the darned parrots & crows.

I used good quality bird netting material because it needs to be UV stabilized. That piece has been in the sun a total of 6yrs & is still in good condition. El cheapo netting only lasts 2yrs max. A very stable tall ladder is a must for this job.

I am replanting & renovating my whole orchard this year, planting new trees interrow & I will be covering as much of it as possible with one massive net just like the commercial orchardists do because otherwise it is a complete waste of resources, my time & money not to net, as the crows, bats & parrots destroy all my good work. Then I'll just have the fruit fly to worry about.


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Last edited by ClissaTSoyFreeChooks on Mon Feb 08, 2016 11:32 am, edited 2 times in total.
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2016 11:27 am 
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Fiesty Fowl
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Location: West of Bendigo
upbeatgirl wrote:
We were very fortunate to inherit a small mixed orchard on our property. .... plan on fencing it and using it as a chicken run. We think that will mean "boxing it in". ....


Same situation except we started ours from scratch (twice) in the last four years.

sue55 wrote:
.... - 60 trees - .... plan is to fence with 1.8 m dog fence with light chicken wire over this to keep the birds out and cover the top with bird netting. It will be a big job .... weighting the branches ... generate some income to justify the time and cost -considering 'pick your own'


Sue55 can we have work-in-progress photos as this eventuates, it sounds very like the idea we are working on.

We planted around 400 olive trees and around 400 fruit and nut trees. Lost the lot: to firstly rabbit mini-plague, then the drought bit hard. Now we have fenced/rabbit-proofed just a half-acre and put in 100 fruit trees fairly close-planted. Have seen the weighted-down result on local ten-year-old apple trees, quite stunning and successful. Our littlies fruited this year and birds took the lot, so by next Spring hope to have some of it "boxed in" and the tie-downs commenced.

If not fully boxed, it is semi-useless for poultry. I have ducks in the orchard, magpies/crows take all the eggs, and can't run ducklings there because of the hawks and eagles and crows and magpies. Will be lovely in the future to raise chickens and duckling in a safe free range situation without them wrecking the attempt at a garden (and inviting themselves into the house if a door is left open). But yes it's a big expense from a small income, and to get a little something back on the investment would be a bonus.

Edit to add: that's a good set-up. you have very civilised horses, Arnold thinks anything bird-netty is a pony play-pen, and he is banned from the orchard and the adjoining field.
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2016 1:32 pm 
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Old Mother Goose
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Hi Possum, will show your post to mrsue55 - hopefully it might motivate him.

I have developed a pruning technique which seems to encourage the branches to droop. I prune off EVERYTHING which appears above the horizontal plane of the main branches. then prune the fruiting shoots on the lower half of the branch as appropriate. The main branches are left long to encourage the weight of the fruit to pull them down. They are shortened when they are laden only if they are too close to the ground or look like they may split from the trunk.
We bought a bulk length of good quality bird netting a few years ago - from an online seller (In QLD from memory) They had a large range of product and width and were a cost effective option.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 09, 2016 8:11 pm 
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Showy Hen
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Clissa when we moved in we found a lot of trees that were growing through /tangled up in netting setups like that, most of the orchard still had the stakes and poly pipe but the netting was gone.

The place had been empty for a few years and was terribly neglected. We get an amazing variety of parrots in remarkably large numbers. I guess our place has been on their food map for a long time. They turn up just in time to clear out a crop just before it's ripe enough to eat.

Sue your fencing idea sounds very much like what we've been discussing. It's going to be very expensive but between actually getting the fruit and having safe free ranging space...
It should be worth it.

Hi Ron. As I said in my original post we are cool climate. We get frosts, we get snow a couple of days a year. Last year we had 2 snow days. One fall was a few inches deep. Even so it was all gone the next day.
We're near Oberon in NSW but a couple hundred metres lower. We're at 800m above sea level. Our weather is not as extreme as Oberon, and we get less snow.

We are definitely in stonefruit and apple country. Grape vines do well. Citrus is not an option.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 09, 2016 9:59 pm 
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Proud Rooster
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We bought some dwarf stock heritage types from Heritage Fruit Trees. Several plums, apples, apricot, nectarines. All heritage types, I just like the flavour of older varieties. Also bought a crab apple, but it is going to be quite big.

Eventually we will build a huge netting enclosure to keep the birds from eating everything.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2016 3:46 pm 
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Showy Hen
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Thanks for that Bungie. I'll look them up.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2016 10:29 pm 
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Old Mother Goose
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Have a look at these sites. The Cidery may be worth a visit for you. They do a range of 1 day workshops. A couple of years ago. I did their Apple Grafting. (took home 3 different cider apple maidens) Some of the grafts available are old varieties that the Sully family has discovered locally, including cider apples and perry pears (not previously recorded in Australia). If you are interested keep an eye on the site for updates or call Gary for information.
I generally take my apples there to be pressed - but not this year the birds have already cleaned me out -didn't net in time.

http://www.farmhousedirect.com.au/sully ... esefactory
http://www.braidwoodmade.com.au/sullys%20cider.html


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2016 10:57 pm 
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Proud Rooster
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just a quick note- If you have healthy trees. Think about cutting the branches and grafting new varieties on to the existing trees. then you retain the massive roots that have acclimatised to your area and you can select from other peoples good trees. There are a few you tube videos which show how to save an old orchard to give you some ideas. A grafting workshop is useful too.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 11, 2016 12:41 am 
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Proud Rooster
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Location: Pomona, Sunshine Coast, Qld
Brunhilda35 wrote:
just a quick note- If you have healthy trees. Think about cutting the branches and grafting new varieties on to the existing trees. then you retain the massive roots that have acclimatised to your area and you can select from other peoples good trees. There are a few you tube videos which show how to save an old orchard to give you some ideas. A grafting workshop is useful too.



Really good idea Brunhilda. One which I have heard of many years ago & totally forgot about.
Where do you think good quality cutting material would be sourced from?
Are you suggesting to use existing material from other trees?

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ClissaT

going through the process of getting organic certification for my property but horse & chook worming throwing a big spanner in the works

Favourite saying: Madness is doing the same thing over & over, but expecting a different result! -Einstein


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 11, 2016 10:47 pm 
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Gallant Game
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Rather than replant can you graft other variety onto the plants you have?

do you like mulberries?
would an avocado and walnut do well were you are?
Feijoa?

Logically there is little point in growing food you don't like to eat.


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