Hi there neighbor! City Fruit, Seattle Housing Authority, and High Point Open Space Association are excited to bring more fruit trees to the community this fall! Over two dozen fruit trees will be planted on a grassy sidewalk strip along High Point Drive SW in the neighborhood near Pond Park. Residents can join us in the orchard planning, tree planting, and long-term care of the trees!
Meet us at the planting site on Wednesday, August 16th & Wednesday, September 27th from 3:30-5:30 pm to learn more about the project and take some free fruit home as part of our Fruit-For-All pop-ups!
Earlier this year, we planted a berry patch along the mulched space at High Point’s Pond Park, which we intend to serve as a space for residents to enjoy accessible, locally grown fruit. To expand on this impact, we are planting an orchard just down the street from this spot on High Point Drive, which will serve as another resource for High Point residents to enjoy and utilize locally grown fruit for free!
In 2021, City Fruit, Seattle Housing Authority, Neighborhood House, and High Point Open Space Association partnered to bring 17 new fruit trees to Commons Park, including varieties of apple, pear, plum, kiwi, cherry, fig, and persimmon. Some of these trees are already fruiting and may be harvested this year! Since the planting, City Fruit has planted understory plants around the Commons Park saplings to help attract pollinators, support soil health, and provide neighbors with a small source of herbal plants. This process, called companion planting or fruit tree guild planting, maximizes the use of a space and is incorporated into many community garden and food forest designs. An example of a community-led garden with this kind of practice in full bloom can be found at the New Start Community “Shark” Garden in Burien, which is home to numerous specialty gardens, such as a native plants garden, herb garden, mushroom project, and many more, that are dedicated to educating volunteers and passersby on how to grow food!
Frequently asked questions:
Q: How was the location for the orchard selected?
A: City Fruit, SHA, and OSA worked together to identify a site that could be developed into a planting space to provide fresh, local fruit for neighborhood use. Because trees can help manage storm water by filtering, slowing down, and absorbing water, we looked for a grassy planting site that did not already have existing woody plants to maximize the storm water management benefit of the trees. The site that we are planning to plant on today was identified and confirmed by Seattle Housing Authority and High Point Open Space Association.
Q: How is the orchard being funded?
A: City Fruit was awarded a grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, specifically under the Five Star & Urban Water Restoration Program, that aims to support watershed restoration and health. Storm water run-off is the largest contributor of pollution to the Puget Sound waterways, which can impact the health of people and animals including salmon. While the High Point neighborhood was designed to incorporate a natural storm water drainage system through permeable sidewalks and rain swales, adding fruit trees will further help slow down and filter runoff.
Q: How will the fruit tree varieties be selected for the orchard planting? Can we plant x variety of fruit trees at the site?
A: With the help of SHA and OSA, fruit tree surveys were shared with neighbors early in the planning process to get feedback on what kinds of varieties community members would like to grow. The top five requested fruits included apple, peach, cherry, persimmon, and kiwi. As we continue to move forward with the planting process, we will do our best to honor community requests while assessing the productivity and disease/pest resistance of the fruit trees that were most voted for. Because the approved planting site has sections of heavy shade from existing trees, “hotter” fruit trees (trees that grow in warmer climates) like peaches and nectarines, may not be as successful in this space. Although we may not be able to plant all of the most desired trees, we still aim to prioritize the preferences of community members as much as possible, and hope to plant a diversity of fruit that meets the wants and needs of High Point residents.
If you’re curious about what fruit trees can grow in our region, check out the catalog at your local nursery, such as West Seattle Nursery or Restoring Eden (SeaTac).
Q: Who will be responsible for caring for the trees? Who can residents contact to learn more about the project?
A: City Fruit will continue to work with OSA to care for the trees after they’ve been planted, which will include orchard tasks like mulching, weeding, and mowing; fruit tree pruning; harvest; and pest prevention and orchard clean-up. City Fruit also hopes to continue to partner with SHA and other community-based organizations to host volunteer and education events at both the new orchard site and the High Point Commons Park orchard. We welcome neighbors who may be interested in stewarding the orchard to participate in some of our fruit tree care workshops and training programs. You call us at our office line (206-922-3967) or email us at [email protected] for more information about the orchard!
Q: How will pests be managed as the trees grow and start to produce fruit?
A: City Fruit will maintain the health of the orchard by doing regular check-ups and scheduled pruning. By paying attention to the overall health of the trees, we can mitigate pests and disease. In the spring, City Fruit will use barrier pest prevention strategies (such as tree netting and fruit bagging) to prevent damage to fruit and support quality fruit for community harvest. As part of harvest events, City Fruit will also clean up fallen fruit to limit the amount that is left on the ground during the fruiting season.
Q: How can residents participate in the tree planting or help to care for the trees?
A: In order to prepare the space for planting, some of the grass at the site will need to be removed to avoid water and nutrition competition with the saplings’ roots. The orchard soil will also need to be prepared with necessary amendments and mulch. After the site has been prepared, the fruit trees will be planted in the fall, likely around October, to avoid heat and drought stress. Dates for these orchard planting work parties are not yet finalized, but will be announced closer to the time of planting – please email Riley at [email protected] if you would like to be notified when the work party dates have been scheduled.
After the planting, residents are encouraged to stay involved in long term orchard stewardship through volunteer work parties and can continue to grow their tree care skills by participating in our workshops and training programs.