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FAQ’s

It is important to us that you understand why our trees are priced the way they are and also the importance of proper planting and care when investing in a tree.

When you visit our farm, we like to discuss all the ways to be successful when planting trees with our customers, and also all the many possible causes why trees might fail. We want you to be successful in tree planting and protect your investment. Trees fail for a variety of reasons. Often times it is operator error caused by improper planting and stewardship.  Regular water cycles, mulching to improve soil fertility, biology and moisture all work to improve the efficiency of the tree’s environment. Almost everybody we work with needs to protect their trees from a variety of predators- insects, pocket gophers, mice, rats, squirrels, rabbits, pets, deer, elk, bear…..Its a jungle out there. All of these things can impact the survivability and the vigor of your trees. There are cases when a tree fails to thrive right from the start and its important that people let us know right away so we can try to help. Sometimes they fail even if you do a good job and then we do replace them. We can generally tell the cause of failure or death with a tree and work with the customer to do things differently to avoid repeat losses. We’re not in the business of replacing trees. We are in the business of helping people become better growers and caretakers.

Our prices reflect some of the costs of growing trees. From the bags we grow in, to paying our employees a living wage. We can’t compare our prices with the big box stores which sell factory grown trees, grown in sterilized soil-less medium. They use time released fertilizers, systemic fungicides and bactricides and many labor and water issues are impacted by their methods. They produce plants for pennies a pot and can afford to have “no questions asked” replacement policies. What you pay for a plant from a factory nursery has nothing to do with the economics of what it really costs to grow a tree.

We grow in fabric containers that prevent circling roots, we use native soil and organic fertilizers. We don’t use systemic insecticides or fungicides. We use cover crops to increase our beneficial insect population and improve the biology of our soil and the immune system of our plants. This is expensive and time consuming but results in healthy vigorous trees.

Can I order trees online?

No, not at this time. We find that every tree is a custom order, and we like to get to know you and learn about your site and what you want. Besides the fun part is coming to the farm and selecting the tree yourself. We welcome your questions by email and are happy to tag trees for you for pickup at a later date.

What are bareroot trees?

Bareroot trees are trees sold without any soil on the roots. They are small trees and less expensive than trees in rootmaker bags. We sell them in the early spring while they are still dormant. They need to be planted as soon as possible when you bring them home. Email us for our list of bareroot trees for next year. We usually have the list ready by September and even though you don’t pick the trees up until Spring, it is best to order early to get the best availability.

Why do you have so many apples- how do I choose?

Apples are the most diverse fruit we can grow in this climate. There is more variation in color, flavor, ripening dates and use than any other fruit.  Some are sweet and some tart. Some are best for baking, some for hard cider, some for fresh eating. Some store well and some don’t. Many are good for all uses. Some ripen early in the season(sometimes even in July) and others have ripening dates throughout the fall. Apple trees tend to be hardier and longer lived than other fruit trees too.

We’ve added an ‘apple chart’ to get you started. Let us know if it is helpful to you.

What is a good location for fruit trees?

The coolest location you have, that has good air flow. This will help to prevent trees from flowering too early and fruit set being destroyed by frost. You don’t want them in an area where the cold air pools and doesn’t move. Avoid south and west facing locations. Don’t plant too close to buildings, walls or rocky outcroppings that radiate heat if at all possible.

How far apart should I plant trees in an orchard?

In general fruit trees should be 15- 20 feet apart. Tart cherries are natural dwarves and can be planted on 10 foot centers. As a general rule pears and sweet cherries will be the tallest, followed by apples, then apricots, plums, peaches and tart cherries. Plant the tallest trees to the north so they don’t shade the shorter trees.

How many years until they produce fruit?

Most of our trees are already of fruit producing age. Apples and pears can flower and fruit on 3 to 5 year old wood. Peaches, plums, apricots and tart cherries will fruit on 2 year old wood. Some trees are biennial and produce more heavily every other year.

When is the best time to plant trees?

The best time to plant trees is usually in the spring or fall; whenever you have time to take care of them. They need to be planted correctly and carefully monitored to ensure they get the proper amount of water and feeding. If you are getting ready to leave for an extended vacation or business trip, its probably best to wait until you get back.

How much water do they need?

The best guide is your finger. Dig down into the soil a couple of inches. If its moist, you can probably wait a day or two to water again. A general rule is 10 gallons per week per caliper inch of trunk but that is totally dependent on the aspect of the site, soil conditions and weather conditions. Using mulch appropriately helps the soil to retain water too. And yes, it is possible to over water trees here in the arid Southwest.

Why are the leaves turning yellow – wilting – rolled up – brown – skeletonized?

Be a good steward of your trees and don’t wait until all the leaves are damaged before investigating the cause. Soil fertility, water quality and quantity, bacteria, viruses, insects, rodents and other animals can all impact the health of your trees. Learn to recognize the symptoms of insect damage and deficiencies.

Should I use fertilizer? What kind?

Use a fertilizer with a low nitrogen content, for example, 3-3-3 or 5-5-5. Fertilize once a month or so from April through July, and then once in mid-September.

Do I need two of the same tree for cross pollination?

Actually, you need two different varieties of apples – or apricots or cherries etc. for cross pollination. Honey bees travel several miles from their hives collecting nectar and pollen so if there are other fruit trees and honey bees  in a several mile radius of your trees, cross pollination should be taken care of. Native pollinators and wind are more effective if the trees are planted in close proximity to each other. Plant 2 or more different varieties for the best results. Some varieties are self fruitful, for example, tart cherries.

How do I plant a tree?

See our planting and tree care page or the ISA(International Society of Arboriculture) website.