Need advice on starting hobby orchard, weekender, deer

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Need advice on starting hobby orchard, weekender, deer

Post by jheiser »

We've got 55 acres, mostly trees and water, in Coshocton, Co, Ohio. During the past decade, we've only been able to get there a couple weeks a year, but hope to spend more time there.

I'd really like to eventually have a couple dozen fruit trees and berries. I'm thinking pies, cider, storage apples, and raspberry cobbler. I'll have to plant the trees and leave them for months at a time without attention, which doesn't seem the best way to get started. Maybe I could pay the neighbor's kid to water them and keep on eye on them (he shot his first buck there, but that is a drop in the deer basket).

I'll have to clear trees in order to open up enough space for a small orchard, and I'm struggling to decide where of several locations I put it. In the 70s, the property still had a couple of apple trees left from when it was a hardscrabble farm. All that is left is a 40' telephone pole of an old apple tree that has no neighbors, and never fruits. Located on a steep slope above the swamp, its not convenient nor aesthetically desirable to clear that area.

The place swarms with deer. I really hate the thought of putting up an expensive and tall fence to keep them out. I spent a couple weeks there last month, and tried to find other apple trees in the neighborhood. I found 4 little orchards in the surrounding few miles. None of them have fences. It looks like a well-established apple tree is OK with deer--at least for the hobby orchard. A place about .5 mile from us put in trees during the last 10 years, and there isn't any sort of fence that a deer couldn't easily jump over.

As an experiment, I planted a couple sour cherries in April, and the one that actually looked right when I got it home, was doing well in mid July, and the one that turned out to have some problems wasn't dead (yet).

The goal of the orchard wouldn't be super high yield--it would be low maintenance. The intent is to create a source of food and pleasure on a place where we hope to build a house.

Not being on the property on a daily, or even weekly basis, is hardly ideal, but on the plus side, I've got plenty of room.

Is this a dumb idea?

Is this a good question to ask questions about whether raspberries would catch disease from wild plants? I've never seen as many berries as I did this summer--they are doing great. They still are small and seedy, though, and I'd love to have some different varieties. Berries would be a lot easier to take care of than fruit trees.

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Post by coup »

you have a great sounding you keep lots of it mowed?

you will have to put your trees where you can mow at least once a year to keep the brush and woods away from them..... if you plant late fall,they might make it without can make cages from woven wire to protect them from deer and mowers ,weedeaters..... you will want to tag the trees to remember what kind and when planted.... you could make some money by leasing it to caring bowhunters that will help plant and maintain the trees and may help you with foodplots-.
you might ask one of the local apple growers for the correct side of hill and frost concerns.

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Re: Need advice on starting hobby orchard, weekender, deer

Post by PA_Docent »

I planted currants in and around my apples. I heard currants (especially black) deter deer and so far they had kept their distance! Made jam from the currants yesterday and yum.
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Re: Need advice on starting hobby orchard, weekender, deer

Post by OrangePippin-Richard »

Deer and young orchards do not mix in my experience. The deer will almost certainly go for the bark in the winter when there is not much else around, and probably kill the trees or set back their growth. The only things that will keep deer away are large aggressive dogs, or wolves, or high fencing around the orchard and/or individual trees - or maybe you can arm the neighbor's kid with something more powerful!

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