Researchers Working on ‘Ladderless’ Orchards

Taylor HillmanGeneral, Specialty Crops, Tree, nut & vine crops

peachesUC researchers are working on a new approach to help an issue with peach and nectarine growing.

Sabrina Hill has more.

Research into ladderless orchards

The University of California is looking at an interesting answer to the problem of labor-intensive fruit harvests: shorter peach and nectarine trees.

According to an article on the UC website by Diane Nelson, researchers are planting semi-dwarfing rootstocks on a 4-acre test plot. They’re calling it a ladderless orchard. Leading the experiment are Ted DeJong and Kevin Day. DeJong is a plant physiology professor at UC Davis and Day is a Cooperative Extension farm advisor in Tulare County.

The new rootstocks will produce tress that grow 7 to 8 feet tall, as compared to the 13 feet of conventional peach and nectarine trees. The shorter trees will allow for harvesting without ladders, which are not only time consuming, but can be dangerous as well. In fact, according to the article, peach and nectarine growers pay as much as 40 percent more for worker’s comp insurance than growers with crops that don’t require ladders.

For the full story, see ‘Ladderless peach and nectarine orchards explored.’