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26 Nursery Road
P.O. Box 108
Mon - Fri : 7:00am to 5:00pm
(March & April)
Sat : 7:00am - 12:00pm
Frequently Asked Questions
Below are answers to many frequently asked questions regarding different aspects of planting, growing fruit trees and our ordering process. If you do not find the answers to your questions in any of the categories below please feel free to contact us anytime!
Ordering from ACN
What do I need to know when ordering trees?
You may order trees online or by calling one of our sales associates during normal business hours. Due to the nature of our business, some items may not be available for delivery at the desired time. We make every effort to substitute similar varieties when requested. We assure you that your order will receive our careful attention.
How old/mature are your trees?
Our fruit trees are all 2-year old, bare root trees. Average size of our trees at shipment is 4-5' in height, 1/2-5/8" in caliper/diameter.
Do I need to consider cross pollination before ordering fruit trees?
Most fruit trees do require cross pollination to yield fruit. Apple trees should be cross-pollinated, but bloom time is not as critical, as many apple varieties have overlapping bloom times. In situations where only a few apple varieties are planted, check the apple pollination chart to make sure bloom times coincide. Peach, nectarine and tart cherry trees are self-fruitful and do not require cross-pollination. Most plum, apricot, pear and sweet cherry varieties do require cross pollination. A minimum of two different varieties is required for proper pollination. Also keep in mind that apricot, plum, cherry and peach bloom ahead of apple and in turn are more subject to crop damage or loss due to spring frost damage.
Why do I need to give a daytime phone number?
Our office hours are 7am - 5pm Monday through Friday. At times, generally during shipping season, we may need to contact customers. We have had to contact customers in the past due to incorrect shipping addresses, bad credit card information, tree shortages, variety substitutions etc. Most importantly, if problems arise during plant transit, a daytime phone number can save valuable delivery time.
Preparation for Planting
How do I choose a good site for my trees?
Fruit trees prefer well-drained soils. Avoid low areas subject to frost. Elevated sites that are sloped are ideal. If possible arrange rows to run North to South. Northern aspects are generally more frost tolerant. Fruit trees should be planted in full sun.
How big of a hole should I dig?
A minimum 18" x 18" hole is recommended.
What do I need to know about soil type?
Fruit trees do not require fertile soils. Soils that are well-drained with some gravel or shale are ideal. Fruit trees struggle in heavy clay and poorly-drained soils. In situations where only these types of soils exist, ridging the planting to elevate the tree above the existing soil plane helps to rectify this problem. Your pH should be somewhere near 6.2 - 6.5 (neutral). Mend with lime if necessary.
Planting & Caring for Trees
How far apart should fruit trees be planted?
Dwarf apple trees should be planted in the row 5-7 feet apart. Semi-dwarf apple trees should be planted at 12-14 feet and large semi-dwarf apple trees should be planted 16-18 feet apart. Open-center trained peach, nectarine, apricot and plum trees should be spaced in the row 12-18 feet apart. Domestic pear should be spaced 12-14 feet and Asian pear trees should be spaced at 10-12 feet. Cherry trees should be planted 15-18 feet apart on seedling (mazzard) root and 10-12 feet apart on semi-dwarf root.
Do I need to cut back my trees when I plant them?
We strongly recommend cutting back fruit trees after they are planted. When the trees are harvested from the field there is some root loss due to mechanical harvesting, and therefore the trees may be too big for the root systems to support. Cutting back the trees will help rebalance and invigorate them. Trees planted in the fall should be cut back in the spring.
Do I need to stake (provide support for) my trees?
Dwarf apple trees require support. Dwarf rootstocks include Bud 9, M-9, G-11, G-16, EMLA 26 and M-9/EMLA 111. EMLA 7 is considered a freestanding rootstock however a short rigid stake is advised to avoid leaning. The larger EMLA 111 and EMLA 106 rootstocks are freestanding. Peach, nectarine, plum, pear, and apricot do not require staking. Cherry trees are freestanding although staking is advised on dwarf cherry (Gisela® roots). When using wood to support trees, a minimum 2.5" diameter pressure-treated pole is suggested.
Should I put fertilizer in the hole when I plant the tree?
We do not encourage putting fertilizer in the hole at planting. More young trees die from over-fertilizing than anything else. We recommend fertilizer application 4-5 weeks after planting. No more than 4 ounces of 10-10-10 fertilizer should be applied around the drip line of each tree. Do not apply directly against the base of the tree. Allow the roots to grow to the fertilizer.
How much water do trees require?
A common sense approach should be taken to watering fruit trees. In times of drought, trees should receive a minimum of five gallons of water every ten days. Dwarf apple trees are less tolerant to drought conditions. Under drought stress, they require a minimum of five gallons per week. One method of watering trees is to drill a pinhole in a five-gallon bucket and allow the water to drip into the root system. Peach trees require more water two weeks prior to expected harvest date of fruit and final fruit swell. Be careful not to over-water fruit trees.
I am concerned about winter injury. What can I do to help avoid this?
To help prevent winter injury we recommend that you paint the base of the tree up to the first set of scaffold branches. Use a basic white, latex paint for this.
How do I prevent deer damage?
For situations where deer pressure is light to moderate we sell a product called Rechargeable Soap Bags. The soap mimics the scent of a human and in turn acts as a deterrent. These are available for purchase on our tree care page. Unfortunately in many cases deer pressure is too heavy, and a scent deterrent may prove ineffective. In this case fencing is the ideal solution. You may fence the entire area, or for a small lot of trees you may choose to individually cage the trees. For this process the ideal post to use is a 6' T post, available at farm supply stores. Use a minimum of 3 posts per tree, located 4' out from the tree. Posts should be hammered one foot into the ground. The cage should stand at least 5-6' high. Use 3-4" square woven wire, turkey wire, snow fence or plastic mesh (used for erosion control) for the fencing material. We recommend putting down crushed stone inside the cage to enhance weed control (preferably limestone or pea stone). The stone provides excellent vole control as well. Bark mulch is not recommended for fruit trees because it can create a habitat for voles and mice.
Can ACN give me spraying recommendations?
ACN is not authorized to give spray recommendations. Growers may obtain spray information on the web at http://ssfruit.cas.psu.edu/. A hard copy of the Fruit Production Guide is also available at our online bookstore for $15.00.
How do I prevent damage from ground-dwelling pests (i.e. rabbits and mice)?
We recommend using a tree guard (minimum height 18") to prevent above-ground girdling inflicted by rabbits and mice. We sell a white, plastic tree guard for this purpose. Please see our tree care page to purchase tree guards.
Fruit Tree Pruning
Is there a guide for pruning?
Pruning recommendations are given in the PSU Fruit Production Guide for Home Gardener.
When should I do my annual pruning?
Young apple, pear and cherry trees should be pruned a minimum of one month before bud break in late February or March. Peach, plum, apricot and nectarine trees can be pruned one month prior to bud swell and up through bloom. You may also summer prune peach and nectarine trees.