In today’s Almond Matters, brought to you by Valent, paving the way for the development of a strong root system is one of the most critical things to consider when planting a new orchard. Substantial planning goes into the process of establishing a new almond orchard, from rootstock and variety selection to site preparation. All the planning that goes into orchard development is for the purpose of enhancing the longevity and vitality of trees.
“You’ve got one shot to give those trees the best chance to develop an expansive, vibrant root system,” said Field Market Development Specialist for Valent USA Todd Burkdoll. “You’re affecting the root system every time you harvest, every year. And if you’ve got a weak root system, you’re going to see that at harvest or with a large crop that can’t support the trees.”
There are several options that are available which can help to enhance root development when applied prior to planting. Burkdoll described achieving positive results through inoculating the roots with mycorrhizal fungi before planting. “It gives the roots a better opportunity to mine the soil as the fungi infects the roots. When you think ‘infection’ it’s a bad word, but in this case it’s a symbiotic relationship between the roots and the fungi,” Burkdoll noted.
The process of planting a new orchard can be lengthy. Selecting and ordering clean, certified rootstock would need to be done a year in advance. Growers will also need to make the necessary soil preparations taking into account the history of the site and any issues with soil-borne pathogens. Each step in the process helps to secure a good starting point for newly planted almond trees.
“Again, selecting the right rootstock, selecting the right varieties, deep-ripping the soil, the application of mycorrhizal fungi to enhance the root expansion into the soil,” Burkdoll reiterated. “All these things in concert help to bring about a higher level of plant health and a more vibrant root structure.”
Listen to Burkdoll’s interview below.