About the Orchard

Vertical Axis Planting

Vertical Axis Planting in Mullica Hill, NJAt Hill Creek Farms we use a cultivation method called "vertical axis apple planting". This method of growing dwarf apples originated in France and is now used worldwide. Trees are trained and maintained in a narrow pyramid shape with a dominant central leader. This shape maximizes light penetration into the tree canopy.

The trees are supported by a trellis with a single metal pole supporting each main trunk. All poles are steadied by a horizontal wire (7 feet in the air). Wooden posts, placed 50 feet apart, support the trellis. An anchor system at the end of each row reinforces the entire system.

Trees are spaced 6 feet apart in rows, each variety in alternating placement. The rows are 14 feet wide, granting a luxurious amount of open space.

Our trees are grown on M.9 rootstock. Trees are grafted to these roots which means they only grow to 12 feet tall at maturity. Our trees are pruned to maximize yield and make caring almost effortless. Regular pruning along with appropriate fruit thinning produces productive, healthy trees.

Here are some of the advantages our trees offer:

  • Pruning and harvesting is much easier due to the small size of the trees.
  • Less spray is applied to the dwarf trees.