Apple Orchard Maze: First of Its Kind
By Farm Show Magazine | Oct 15, 2014
In 2015, the most unique farm maze in the country will open in Illinois. Royal Oak Farm’s apple-shaped maze was planted in 2012 and consists of 3,000 trees on about 4 1/2 acres.
“We’ll have nine varieties of apples in the maze,” says Dennis Norton of Royal Oak Farm Orchard. “People will be able to wander through and pick the apples that are ripe at different times of the harvest season.”
Norton credits his father-in-law, Peter Bianchini, founder of the orchard, with the idea for a maze. They turned to Maze Play, a maze design company, for a plan.
They received a computer printout with GPS coordinates for each tree and began planting. Trickle irrigation lines and landscape fabric for weed control were also put in place.
“The trees are being trained espalier fashion to grow on a set of wires,” he says. “When fully grown, the maze walls will be 7 feet tall and 2 to 2 1/2 feet thick. Four wires are strung at 1 1⁄2-foot intervals on 456 posts. Trees are spaced 3 feet apart, and alleys are 8 to 12 feet wide.”
From the air, it will look like a Red Delicious apple with leaves at the stem. Each variety is planted in several areas, ensuring plenty of apples for visitors. The alleys are planted to a grass mix bred for heavy traffic. This is vital, as the farm’s U-pick operation attracts 4,000 to 5,000 people per weekend from mid-August through October. Once the maze opens, they expect even more traffic.
The maze will require lots of hand pruning to keep the dense, compact shape. Workers have practiced on a demonstration apple tree hedgerow planted earlier.
For more information: Visit the Royal Oak Farm Orchard website.
Reprinted with permission from FARM SHOW Magazine.
Beekeeping for Beginners: Common-Sense Guide to Bee Safety
It’s common bee safety knowledge that bees are defensive by nature, so don’t set off their warning bells is one beekeeping for beginners tip.
From One Novice Farmer to Another: Questions to Answer Before Beginning Farming
Bush hogging a field with the dog guarding Photo by Bradley Rankin Have you been thinking lately about taking the plunge and buying or leasing a small farm? If the answer is yes, then I would like to share with you my experiences since 2018 for finding, purchasing, and developing our 48-acre Kentucky farm. Learn […]
Growing Wheat in Our Garden
Small-scale wheat production can yield a delicious, bountiful harvest, and sprout a satisfaction from making your own homegrown bread.