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Re: Fruit Tree Questions

  • Subject: [cg] Re: Fruit Tree Questions
  • From: Jeneva Storme <jenevastorme@yahoo.ca>
  • Date: Wed, 5 Jun 2002 11:21:11 -0400 (EDT)


Thanks to everyone for the suggestions.  

Regarding espaliering (is that a word?), one of the
purposes for placing the trees where they are intended
is to provide an attractive screen between the garden
and the house next door.  The fence on that side will
probably be a 4-foot chain link, to match the one that
already exists on the opposite side.  Or maybe it's 6
feet, in which case it won't matter as much -- but my
question is whether espaliered trees can have branches
that exceed the height of the supporting fence?  Would
chain link be sufficient support or is some other kind
of fence or wall needed?  Also, is this something that
can be done by amateurs, or would we need professional
assistance to get it started and maintain it?

The location of the trees will be along the
northernmost edge of the garden, to avoid shading any
of the beds.  Being Winnipeg, the land is perfectly
flat, with no hills or low spots of any kind in this
particular area.  Unfortunately, the lot is way too
small for individual fruit trees in each bed.  It
covers three residential lots that used to have houses
on them, and space is at a premium.  The plots will be
individual raised beds about 3-4ft by 9ft, probably
with wooden borders.  Speaking of which, is it better
for beds to be oriented north-south, or east-west? 
None of the adjacent buildings belong to us, and they
are mostly homes with slanted roofs, so I think the
beehive is out of the question.

The idea of grafting several different kinds of fruit
on one tree is interesting, I'll have to look into
that.  This will be a community-maintained garden, so
we need to do things that will be easy to keep going
without professional assistance if at all possible.  I
don't know if we have any experienced fruit tree
horticulturists in the neighbourhood, but I'll try to
find out.

Regarding the effort required to produce fruit, what
do apple trees need?  I admit I don't have much
experience with fruit trees myself, and as I would be
the one most responsible for maintaining them, I'll
have to take that into consideration.  The wild plums,
I have found, are self-pollinating and grow well in
this climate, which is why I was considering them.  I
don't know how susceptible they are to pests.  They do
tend to spread into thickets if the roots are
disturbed, though, which might make them too large for
this space.

The comment about cross-pollination came from a
landscape architecture professor who was consulted
about the design, but as I have heard since, there are
many self-pollinating species.  We do intend to have a
variety of herbs and native flowers, and we garden
without chemicals, so pollinators shouldn't be a

Berry shrubs are an excellent idea, and I'm leaning in
that direction as well, especially since the native
Saskatoon provides wonderful fruit resembling
huckleberries in flavour.  Everybody seems to love
them.  We have some in a native garden that was
planted in 1999, and they were already producing fruit
last year.

Again, thanks to everybody who responded, your input
is very helpful.  If anybody has comments that haven't
already been made, please do speak up.  I can use all
the information I can get when discussing this with
the others involved.

Shade and Sweet Water,

Greening West Broadway Coordinator
"Neighbourhood Solutions for Community Change"

West Broadway Development Corporation
640 Broadway, Winnipeg, MB  R3C 0X3
phone: 774-3534  fax: 779-2203

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