Trees can be purchased as young, older or mature and each has advantages and disadvantages. Young trees have the advantage of allowing you to control their shape but it may be a few years before you start enjoying any fruit. Older trees, two to four years old, will fruit much sooner but their shape is less controllable and their cost may be three times that of a young tree. Mature trees, from seven to ten, will have an instant impact in your orchard and will fruit the same year but the cost, in comparison to a young tree can be ten times or more.
The distances between trees recommended is mostly that aimed at commercial growers, to maximise size, yields and allow access for tractors, but many trees can be planted a lot closer, as long as their size is controlled by pruning. When growing your own, it is more important to utilise the space available to provide a variety of fruit, harvests over a longer period and yields that are adequate for your needs. Closer planting will reduce the trees ability to grow large and will make it easier to prune, net against birds and harvest. We would, therefore, recommend a three metre distance where trees are spaced to fit as many trees as possible into the area you have available.