Planting an orchard, Zone 5
Hi all, i dont really post much here (like, almost never) but i've been around reading this group for years. I FINALLY have a pertinent question though. I have a 80-some acre plot of land in Ontario (zone 5) that i want to put an orchard on (somewhere), but i'm having trouble choosing a spot. I'd like to put in apple, pear, sour cherry, and maybe some other stuff like ginko just for fun. I'd also like to make a bit of a nuttery, if thats the term, with walnut and butternut trees. Now, i understand that due to the juglone in the black walnut i want to keep them separate (or at least merely adjacent, rather than interspersed), but the question is Where do i put them, geographically? The land i have to work with involves a rather prominent hill, about 40-50 ft in elevation, gently sloping away to the west, and in the eastern direction sloping gently, then flattening somewhat near the barn, then a sharper bank that has a few wild apple trees on it, then there is a fairly flat field at the bottom. The field is adjacent to a swamp, and while it doesnt actually ever flood per se, it isnt exactly super dry either. Both the field and the top of the hill are well exposed to the sun, though the field gets a bit less of late afternoon sun, and wind is typically coming from the west. The ground itself is good loamy dirt, with tonnes of earthworms, and can grow anything with minimal effort. Does anyone have any bright ideas on where the better spot is for each set of trees? I have heard conflicting reports from family/friends, but i dont really know who to talk to or trust that actually has any experience with this sort of thing. For example, i would think that wet ground = bad for fruit trees, but of course we have had more and more in the way of droughts these past few years, so maybe that is a good thing. Keeping the trees at the bottom of the hill sounds good too, to keep them off the windswept hilltop. I have also heard that having them near the bottom is good for flavour, because of where the wind/cold air/frost tends to accumulate, locking in flavour (or something like that. I'm talking out of my ass on that one, trying to paraphrase something someone told me years ago). However if the potential for wet feet pre-empts everything else, maybe the top of the hill is the better choice? Other options include just filling the fencebottoms with useful trees and not really having an orchard at all, but i like the idea of an orchard, and the fencebottom is what i will likely do with the cherry trees anyway, as is typical. Lining the fences is more of what i was considering for the nut trees, especially since the juglone would hopefully keep the damn buckthorn from growing too prolifically there, as is ever the problem. I suppose i could also plunk the orchard down on the far side of the barn, which is inconveniently further away from the house, but is out of the wet, and on a more steady slope. So, any thoughts? the barn with the bank, for an idea of the slopes and elevations involved (there is another story of barn below the bank) and the field by the swamp is in this pic, beyond the little flower bed.