Orchard Cleanliness

  • February 1, 2023 at 5:35 pm #17136
    Todd Parlo

    Keeping the orchard clean is central to good practice including the mitigation of pest and disease pressure.

    February 3, 2023 at 3:00 pm #17158
    Osier Farm

    I posted a related question in the disease section but I think this fits generally in orchard cleanup. Since a lot of diseases can overwinter in the orchard, what can we do to help get rid of the debris that contains it? I know this may be specific to each problem, but are there some basic rules to follow?

    February 3, 2023 at 7:20 pm #17166
    Todd Parlo

    The most important thing is to get material out of the orchard that is likely to harbor disease causing organisms. A big source of that will be prunings, so don’t cut so much that you have no time to dispose of the mess. These can be burned, but of course that takes drying time so move it in the meantime. It can be buried if your land allows for it, or for those with the right equipment chipping is an option. Small material has a better chance of composting before reinfection can occur, though it is not foolproof.

    Leaves can also be harbor for disease, but of course this can be trickier to remedy. I coach to mow it, string trim, or what have you in order to reduce overall leaf size. If you are doing this in tandem with sod mowing all the better to build that composting nest. Nitrogen additions and liming can help speed things along as well. You could vacuum or rake if you are a small homestead, but good luck going this route if you are managing a good size orchard. Don’t get discouraged though as every bit of cleanup helps reduce disease pressure (and pests too but that’s another saga).

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