High Density Fruit Tree Planting

4 May, 2021

High-density fruit tree planting is a technique that enables farmers and residential gardeners to maximize space, minimize labor costs, and grow superior amounts of fruit. 

Whether you’re curious about high-density apple orchard planting or cherries or another fruit, this crash course guide will help you get started exploring the exciting world of high-density planting. 

What is High Density Planting?

High-density apple orchard planting is a way of growing fruit trees that enables you to plant well over 180 trees per acre. Even better, high-density techniques help trees begin bearing just 2-3 years after planting. 

Here are three things that set high-density fruit tree planting apart from traditional orchards: 

  1. Dwarfing rootstocks. The first step towards cultivating a high-density orchard is planting dwarfing rootstocks. Additionally, the rootstocks must be M.9, Bud.9, or M.26 in order to bear fruit as soon as possible after planting. 
  2. Experienced pruning. High-density fruit trees require specialized pruning techniques. Orchards of this kind are unforgiving if pruned incorrectly, so to maximize your return on investment, ensure new orchard managers and workers are fluent in high-density pruning. 
  3. Tree training systems. To help trees yield fruit early and to maximize space within the orchard, training systems must be used. While staking individual trees may work for a traditional orchard, high-density fruit trees require more rigorous training systems. For example, most high-density orchards use deep posts, galvanized steel wire, trellis clips, and metal tree guides to produce high-yield “fruiting walls.” 

Advantages of High Density Fruit Tree Planting

Whether you’re planting high-density cherry orchards or apple trees, here are some of the advantages of keeping your trees small and dense: 

  • Enables you to plant more trees in a limited space
  • Makes it easier to harvest fruit since most branches are within arms’ reach
  • It’s easier to care for trees 
  • High-density tree planting protects trees from strong winds and hail

How Far Apart to Plant Fruit Trees? 

Correctly spacing your trees is crucial to the success of your high-density orchard planting. We’ve heard lots of people ask about the spacing for apple and cherry trees, so let’s address each of those. 

How Far Apart to Plant Apple Trees?

While apple tree spacing varies a bit depending on the end height of the tree and the tree spread you prune for at the base, in general, most high-density apple trees are planted 5’ apart

How Far Apart to Plant Cherry Trees?

Fruit tree spacing is a bit larger for cherry trees. Due to a wider tree spread, experts recommend that high-density cherry trees should be planted 16-19’ apart.

Tips For High Density Orchard Planting

Based on our experience working with industry-leading farmers across the USA and Canada, here are two more tips for high-density fruit tree growing.

1. Use the Universal Trellis Clip to Reduce Labor Costs

The Universal Trellis Clip is an innovative wire trellis clip that offers many advantages for high-density orchard training systems, including: 

  • Takes 1-2 seconds to attach
  • No tools necessary
  • Reusable 
  • Can secure tree leaders, branches, berry canes, irrigation lines, and much more

2. Protect Young Trees & Branches With Tree Guides 

Tree guides should be used to protect young trees, help leaders grow straight, and reduce branch breaks and the need for grafting. 

High-Quality Orchard Products 

Here at Evan Manufacturing, we work closely with farmers to design and manufacture innovative products for high-density orchards. Click here to learn more about our orchard products and how our trellis clips and tree guides reduce costs and improve tree health.