[NAFEX] mowing orchards
Clifford Cain - uk yahoo
cc_syorks at yahoo.co.uk
Mon Aug 25 17:48:06 EDT 2008
Sorry the links do not work, they where of the documents location
The organisation that funded the program was WRAP (Waste Resources
Action Programme) whose home page is http://www.wrap.org.uk. Typing
apples and Remade (the organisation that collected the data) in WRAP's
search tool provides a list of 11 pdf documents on the programmes. The
most poignant document is entitled Case_study_Kent_Orchard modified
August 2008 and the précis below is mainly based on that document.
The programme was designed to find a use for composted green waste from
domestic garden collections. Growers had been using straw as a mulch for
young trees but not on mature trees. Some has swapped from straw to
composted green waste and seen improvements in their young tree growth
and wondered it there would be a benefit to mature trees. The programme
started in 2004, then extended in 2006/07. Various growers in the Kent
and Medway (in South East England, the county's main fruit growing area)
where involved with the trial. The upshot of the trial was that yield
was increased by almost 50% (some variance by cultivar) with improved
fruit size and associated profit.
The trials where conducted on Cox & Braeburn in the main, though other
cultivars where tested. In 2006/07 trees where mulched with composted
green waste 1m wide to a depth of 10cm. The control trees had a straw
mulch applied in 2004.
In June 2007 the leaves of the mulched trees showed darker colour.
At harvest time, the numbers of apples per tree increased by 45.6% and
35% respectively for the Braeburn and Cox varieties compared to the
Fruit weight per tree for the Braeburn apples rose from 20.8kg (20.8
tonne/acre (t/ac) to 30.9kg per tree (30.9t/ac), generating an extra
profit of £5,252 per acre.
For the Cox apples, fruit weight per tree increased by 49.5%, taking the
weight of the fruit up from 9.7kg (9.7 t/ac) to 14.5kg (14.5 t/ac). At
1,000 trees per acre, this equated to 4,800kg per acre, generating extra
fruit worth £2,784 per acre.
Although these yields were taken from part of the orchard, they were
consistent with typical UK orchard yields at 10.5t/ac for Cox and
18.2t/ac for Braeburn. Moisture analysis of the top 30cm of soil, showed
that the previously straw mulched soil was drying out, whereas the
mulched soil retained its moisture and this is believed to account for
the increase in yield, combined with the availability of K, Ca, Mg, P
and N from the compost mulch.
The composted green waste lasted for 2 years, compared to the single
year of straw, nor did it pose a fire risk.
One fruit grower planted Braeburn and Jazz in the autumn/winter of 2006
and mulched with composted green waste in 2007. Whilst last year was
wet, the compost still conserved moisture under the mulch layer, leading
to an increase of 31% in apple numbers and a 5.7% increase in average
fruit weight. The increase in the weight of fruit per tree was 36% –
3.8kg per tree for mulched Braeburn trees compared to 2.8kg for ones
So if you can get your hands on some green waste, may prove useful.
Hope that helps
Bawtry, Doncaster UK
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