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Spacing fruit trees close together requires dedicated pruning

Question: I know that the fruit trees at the orchard are spaced closer together than what is normally recommended. With the way that they are pruned, it works out really well. I was wondering if you remember how far apart they are spaced and how distant the rows are from one another.

The trees at the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension Master Gardener Orchard, 4734 Horse Drive, are spaced at 10-foot intervals in the rows and 10 feet between the rows. They are kept no taller than about 7 feet. If I were to do it again, I would still use 10-foot spacing between trees, but 10 feet between rows is a bit tight if you want to get anything wider than a human torso down the row.

I would probably space the rows 12 feet apart for more convenience. You can actually space fruit trees closer than 10 feet apart in the row, but at distances closer than this, you would probably not be able to walk around each tree individually. Trees growing in the rows would be maintained more like a hedge with no spaces between trees.

Bob Morris is a professor emeritus in horticulture with the University of Nevada and can be reached at extremehort@aol.com. Visit his blog at
xtremehorticulture.blogspot.com. For more gardening advice, check the Home section of Thursday’s Las Vegas Review-Journal.

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