Increasing Organic Matter in Orchards

Taylor Hillman Soil, Specialty Crops, Tree, nut & vine crops

Research is showing some big benefits of increasing organic matter in orchard soils and a resent demonstration showed just one way of doing so.

Increasing Organic Matter in Orchards

University of California Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources’ recent tree grinding demonstration in the Central Valley was showing just one way growers could start incorporating more organic matter into their soils. Cooperative Extension Farm Advisor and San Joaquin County Director Brent Holtz says trials are showing big benefits from doing so. “In the trial we did previously, we estimated that it was about 30 tons per acre of organic matter we put back in the soil,” Holtz says. “We saw nitrogen and potassium levles increase in our soil and leaf tissue in our next generation tree. We also saw sodium levels decrease.”

Holtz says the sodium help alone could make this an extremely beneficial practice in California. “We don’t know the exact mechanism but that’s very important because sodium levels are increasing in the Central Valley.”

Plain and simple, Holtz says the pros are outweighing the cons of these trials by a lot. “There just seems to be many benefits and very little detriments, other than it’s hard to work the soil right after because of the organic matter sticking out.”

Watch the tree grinding demonstration.