Space Needed for Backyard Orchard

Q:      How much space do I need for a backyard orchard?

Well, this depends on your purpose.  A single, self-pollinating peach tree may satisfy a peach lover.  Or you may be like Stuart Kennedy of Cincinnati who just planted 10 dwarf apple trees because his wife makes great pies and they want to watch their budget in these tough economic times.  Stuart has also added a 2,200 sq. ft. garden, a grape vine and a pear tree as the family tries to move toward growing its own food.

Take a look at the Arbor Day’s Tree Nursery to see the many fruit varieties that are available in standard or dwarf form.  Most dwarf fruit trees need a space of only 10′ x 10′ and they produce an amazing amount of full-size fruit.  It is best to plant two or more fruit trees to assure pollination, and the Tree Guide will tell you what varieties are compatible for this purpose.



Fall Tree Tip for Care of Backyard Apple Trees

After harvesting your apple trees, clean up around your tree(s) to prevent codling moth caterpillars and other insects that bury themselves in the core of apples to overwinter.  This includes removing any shriveled up apples left hanging on the branches.

Robert Smith

Is a Member Service Specialist and Certified Arborist at the Arbor Day Foundation. In addition to his role at the Foundation he is the President of the Nebraska Arborist Assocation. Learn more about "Tree Care" at


  1. Very good question. Here is a recommendation that I came across from the University of Missouri Extension.

    “In backyard plantings, two semi dwarf apple varieties that bloom at the same time should be planted within 50 feet of each other. Two dwarf apple varieties with similar bloom periods should be spaced less than 20 feet apart to ensure the transfer of pollen between trees.”

    Will bees locate and pollinate apple trees spaced further apart than these recommendations? Absolutely…but perhaps not as effectively if the trees are spaced closer together.

    Here are some additional factors to consider:

    -Avoid frost pockets where cold air settles in low areas.
    -Plant fruit trees in full sun to ensure higher yields.
    -Only want a couple apple trees, but would like to improve pollination? Plant crabapple trees throughout your property.
    -Plant a pollinator garden to attract bees & beneficial insects.

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