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PLANTING SITE PREPARATION
   The best time to start ground preparation is the middle of summer: soil is dry and fractures readily. The value of adequate ground preparation for your new orchard site is undoubtedly the most important part of your overall planning.

RIP BEFORE AND AFTER LEVELING
   If more than a foot of fill is necessary, rip low spots before leveling. Ripping high spots before leveling isn't necessary although it may reduce leveling costs if the soil is very hard or compacted. To prevent sealing of the soil surface, rip the entire site as soon as possible after leveling. Sealing of the soil surface can be a serious problem if there is a long delay between leveling and ripping, after leveling with heavy equipment such as laser planes, and where sites are leveled when too wet.

APPLY SOIL AMENDMENTS
   If gypsum, manures, phosphates or other soil amendments are recommended, they may be applied prior to subsoiling.
   Subsoil deep rip, backhoe, or slip plow to fracture subsoil and improve drainage. If you backhoe, backfill each hole as it is dug, taking care to replace subsoil in the bottom of hole, topsoil on top. Don't leave holes open any longer than is absolutely necessary. If a hole is allowed to dry out, a crust usually forms along the sides of the hole which can become a barrier to water and root movement. (This also applies to tree planting holes.)
   Irrigate to settle the planting site and provide adequate moisture for fumigation, irrigate with sufficient water to completely settle the soil. Although winter rains in California are usually sufficient to settle an orchard site, a thorough irrigation after ripping or backhoeing is good insurance against problems with settling after planting.

FUMIGATE
   
Preplant fumigation is highly recommended for any orchard planting but is particularly advantageous in replant situations.

PLANTING
   Keep roots damp while planting.  Organize your planting crew so that roots are exposed for only a few minutes while planting. Drying out of roots most often occurs at this step. Prune trees for planting. Trim only broken or extra long roots. Do not prune or crowd roots to fit a small planting hole.

JUNEBUDDED ALMONDS    Top trees to 28-34 inches, head back side branches and leave at least 2 good buds on side limbs on the top 6” inches of the tree, especially on larger sized trees.
WALNUTS should be cut back to leave approximately 4-6 buds on the scion.

CROWN GALL PREVENTATIVE TREATMENT:
   Where crown gall has been a problem, a pre-plant treatment may be beneficial.

 

PLANT AT THE RIGHT DEPTH
    After trees are planted and watered in, they should be no deeper than they were in the nursery row. In planting trees on peach rootstock, too shallow is better than too deep. A good rule of thumb is to leave the topmost tiny root at ground level. On heavier soils, trees should be planted on 6 to 8 inch high mounds or berms.
   Where prevailing winds are strong and constant, lean trees into the wind. Too much lean can encourage growth along only the top south side of trees and restrict bud development on the underside.
Allow no more than 10 degrees of lean into the wind. Tilting a 30-inch tall tree 6 inches from vertical gives about 10 degrees of lean.

 Do not place any fertilizer in the planting hole; it can injure tender young roots.

WATER TREES IN Flood or furrow irrigate following planting to settle soil and collapse air pockets around roots. If flooding isn't practical, tank trees in with at least five gallons of water for each tree. This step is very important, particularly when planting in dry soils conditions, late plantings or cloddy soil. Winter rains in are rarely sufficient to properly settle soil in around roots.

A WORD ABOUT PRUNING
Pruning is a very important part to your entire farming operation and understanding the different growth habits of individual varieties and applying the proper pruning techniques will enhance the proper tree structure and obtain the maximum production.
    When hiring a contractor or a crew, we recommend that you keep the same pruner on the same variety throughout the entire field; this will keep your pruning and trees more uniform in structure throughout the entire field.
   
Example
: upright growing varieties like Aldrich, Mission and Padre should be headed back pruning the centers and leaving the outside hangers, it is very crucial to try to open this type of tree the first 3 years.  On the other hand Nonpareil, Carmel, Monterey and Sonora for example are very spreading and pruning on these varieties is entirely different.

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