Care Needs to be Taken on Chip Size When Recycling an Almond Orchard

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Care Needs to be Taken on Chip Size When Recycling an Almond Orchard


Patrick Cavanaugh

When a grower wants to replace his orchard with new more productive trees they may opt for recycling the older trees in their orchards—meaning the old trees are chipped up and applied back to the soil

Mae Culumber is a UCANR Nut Crops Farm Advisor in Fresno County. She noted some concerns that growers have with wood decay pathogen impacting the new trees

“Growers have a lot of concerns especially if they had problems with fungi and a lot of wood decay,” Culumber said. “I’ll sometimes get calls from growers questioning whether or not to do recycling stating that they had some wood decay fungi that killed some some of their mature trees in their last orchard.”

And of course, that is the big grower worry.

“The current research suggests is that if it’s chipped to a small enough size, it’s not going to have a long lifespan, as a soil-borne pathogen in the soil. So eventually that will break down and it shouldn’t be a problem for the next orchard,” explained Culumber.

“So we recommend that people use as small as a four-inch screen to run the chips through. The practice now is that the trees are excavated, then run through a chipper and the chips are screened out when they are distributed with a modified manure spreader,” she said.

Those chips are incorporated in the ground and then the all the normal preparation that occurs with a preplant orchard, can take place after that.



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