[NAFEX] Orgasnic matter in soil

Jim Fruth jfruth at tds.net
Fri Dec 14 08:44:52 EST 2007

Mark said, "I've heard too much N will decrease fruit quality and inhibit 
fruit bud formation for the following season.  This is the first I've heard 
high organic matter can lower fruit quality.  Would yard waste or high soil 
organic matter generally equate to high nitrogen?"

    What is in the upper level of a soil doesn't necessarily reflect what is 
in the root zone.  When I kill a fruit tree, I don't merely chop it down, 
rather I dig it out so the stump is gone too.  Yes, I do have up to 14" of 
rich black dirt at the surface but, of the trees I've dug out, few had many 
roots near the surface.  Sure I fertilize every year but very little of the 
little bit spread at the surface gets leached down to the root zone.
    In my sandy soil, most of the nutrients were tied up in the biomass.  So 
when I removed the forest to plant an orchard, the nutrients also left the 
premises.  When pioneers first came to this area of Minnesota, they marveled 
at the forest thinking that land that could grow such magnificent trees must 
be able to grow good crops.  The nutrients were tied up in the trees and 
most of them abandoned their farms after a few years.

Jim Fruth
Brambleberry Farm
Pequot Lakes, MN  56472
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