Pruning the orchards

Harvest Time photo Orchard-WA.jpg

I know, I know: I don’t even have all the trees planted yet, so what’s with pruning?

Well, today I was reading a on George Dutka‘s blog about his HO scale apple orchard, and it prompted me to do a bit more research into the commercial growing of apples. And while many photos showed trees growing quite tightly together in their rows, I realized that I had not spaced my rows of trees to allow the farmer to position wagons, ladders and other equipment necessary at harvest time. (It’s this kind of oversight of the obvious that makes me feel like a bit of a Gumby, sometimes…)
My Brain Hurts photo Gumby.jpg

I called my friend Pierre Oliver and while looking at photos of my first attempt at the orchard, he concurred that something was amiss.

I decided a good first step would be to remove every second row of trees from the back orchard:
Pruned back orchard photo BackOrchard-Pruned.jpg

I simply planted the removed trees in the front orchard – again, every second row:
Front orchard started photo FrontOrchard.jpg

(As the overview photos show, I still have some tree-building to do – but not nearly as much as I did before!)

If I don’t like the new look, I can build new trees and fill in the rows. But so far, I’m pleased.

This view of the front orchard clearly shows two rows of apple trees with space between them for wagons and ladders. It’ll be a more interesting scene than before:
Looking through the orchards photo OrchardsFromHillside.jpg

(Lesson learned: Always build things, but don’t be afraid to rebuild if they aren’t perfect!)

I do have one new issue to address – namely, the gap between the back orchard and the backdrop. With the row of trees closest to the backdrop removed, it’s easy to see the gap between layout and curtain – as shown at left in this photo:
Backdrop problem at orchard photo BackdropProblem.jpg

However, I expect that adding some strategically-placed tall trees on the hillside in the foreground will solve the problem. In fact, I photoshopped some extra trees into the scene and it’ll work just fine:
Possible solution to backdrop problem photo BackdropProblemWithTrees.jpg

The thinned orchards still do a great job of framing the entrance to Port Rowan – regardless of whether one is looking towards the yard, up the line, or from the front edge of the layout:
Freight extra at Port Rowan photo OrchardsFromHillside-Train.jpg

Looking up line between apples photo ArrivalBetweenOrchards.jpg

Freight extra at Port Rowan photo ArrivalFromTTLead.jpg

Pierre offered some good ideas which I will try out if my re-spaced trees don’t satisfy me. (Thanks for the help with this, Pierre!)

2 thoughts on “Pruning the orchards

  1. I live in an agricultural area, and I drive through the orchards in the California Cntral Valley sometimes. The trees are spaced further apart than you had them at first. They do use ladders to pick the trees, and they have to drive between the rows with trucks and tractors. Look at it this way. You also do not need as many trees!..Still looking very nice.
    Mike S

    • Hi Mike:
      Thanks – yes, I agree that fewer trees is better. I’m now just two-dozen trees away from finishing the orchard. And now that I have space between each row of trees it does look more like an orchard. Even if I do not add workers and equipment, people can look at the orchard and visualize them.

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