Tuesday, 15 November 2016

The Citrus Hedge

I thought i'd share with you guys one area of my garden i call "The Citrus Hedge".
I planted most of it about 3 years ago and it seems this year it has really grown to its full potential. It runs along the southern edge of my section and was initially planted to screen off the neighbours for privacy but the main purpose was a space to practice intensive backyard orchard culture for delicious fruit! I first came across the concept of Backyard Orchard Culture online at Dave Wilson Nursery. (See Below). 

Here's what i have planted, just in this hedge area:

Feijoa Apollo
Eureka Lemon
Tarrocco Blood Orange
Tahitian Lime
Scarlett Burgess Mandarin
Variegated Calamondin
Tahitian Lime
Australian Finger Lime
Buddha's Hand
Cara Cara Orange
Invictus Gooseberry
Moro Blood Orange
Grapes : Albany Black & Niagra

Also planted down the side of house i have:

Peach Golden Queen
Apple Pacific Rose
Peach Pixzee

They all seem to be growing well together the only thing is that some of the trees are more vigorous than others, so need pruning to control them so they don't invade the other tree's space. I have to be careful in the timing of this however as in NZ we have a nasty bug called Lemon Tree Borer that, if its around, will smell the freshly cut wounds and lay its eggs which in turn will bore destructively through the tree's branches. I also prune to keep the trees from taking over the whole space down the side of the house and to allow for walking down the area.

What is Backyard Orchard Culture? Here's the low down in a nutshell......

The objective of Backyard Orchard Culture is a prolonged harvest of tree-ripe fruit from a small space in the yard. This is accomplished by planting an assortment of fruit trees close together and keeping them small by summer pruning.
Backyard Orchard Culture Is Not Commercial Orchard Culture.
For years, most of the information about growing fruit came from commercial orchard culture: methods that promoted maximum size for maximum yield but required 12-foot ladders for pruning, thinning and picking, and 400 to 600 square feet of land per tree. Tree spacing had to allow for tractors. Most people today do not need nor expect commercial results from their backyard fruit trees. A commercial grower would never consider using his methods on a 90 ft. x 100 ft. parcel, so why should a homeowner?
Backyard Orchard Culture Is High Density Planting And Successive Ripening.
The length of the fruit season is maximized by planting several (or many) fruit varieties with different ripening times. Because of the limited space available to most homeowners, this means using one or more of the techniques for close-planting and training fruit trees; two, three or four trees in one hole, espalier, and hedgerow are the most common of these techniques. Four trees instead of one means ten to twelve weeks of fruit instead of only two or three. Close-planting offers the additional advantage of restricting a tree's vigor. A tree won't grow as large when there are competing trees close by. Close-planting works best when rootstocks of similar vigor are planted together. In many climates, planting more varieties can also mean better cross-pollination of pears, apples, plums and cherries, which means more consistent production.
Backyard Orchard Culture Means Accepting The Responsibility For Tree Size.
Small trees yield crops of manageable size and are much easier to spray, thin, prune, net and harvest than large trees. If trees are kept small, it is possible to plant a greater number of trees in a given space, affording the opportunity for more kinds of fruit and a longer fruit season. Pruning is the only way to keep most fruit trees under twelve feet tall. The most practical method of pruning for size control is Summer Pruning. There are several reasons why summer pruning is the easiest way to keep fruit trees small. Reducing the canopy by pruning in summer reduces photosynthesis (food manufacture), thereby reducing the capacity for new growth. Summer pruning also reduces the total amount of food materials and energy available to be stored in the root system in late summer and fall. This controls vigor the following spring, since spring growth is supported primarily by stored foods and energy. And, for many people, pruning is more enjoyable in nice weather than in winter, hence more likely to get done.



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