[NAFEX] mowing orchards

Clifford Cain - uk yahoo cc_syorks at yahoo.co.uk
Sat Aug 23 12:32:11 EDT 2008

I am going off on a slight tangent so please forgive me. I include it 
because if you are anything like myself, you have something better to do 
than mow.
I was fortunate enough to attend Fruit Focus at East Malling in Kent, UK 
earlier this month.  There was a range of stands, including one from an 
organisation promoting recycling green waste WRAP and Dr Joe Lopez of 
ReMaDe who gave me an interesting insight to this area.  In their trials 
on newly planted orchards, they found that 20-40mm material (a woody 
coarse grade) applied to a depth of 100mm ( if you are not confined by 
nitrate leaching you may want to apply more) increased they yields 
significantly (24% on Braeburn).  The material was applied at the 1m 
width, just as a bare soil alley would normally be maintained. They 
basically saw a small increase in the number of fruit, but they were 
larger (69mm to 75mm).  These results where from a young orchard, 16 
months and it will be interesting to see what future results will hold.  
The upshot was that if you are in a situation of having to bring 
material from off the farm, then the larger green waste was worthy of 
consideration.  The report can be found at  
or http://tinylink.com/?r5yY7jZzuP  I know that there is a great choice 
of materials for mulches, but what interested me was the use of what is 
a domestic waste product and readily available, that is beneficial to 
the trees and improved their growth and yield.  I have seen many US 
sites extolling the virtues of mulches of various forms, but is not 
something you regularly see here in the UK.
Having spoken with others, there also seems to be a case for increased 
Tours of East Malling's trial plots where conducted. One trial was 
looking at what wild flower mix offered the best environment for beetles 
to predate the ground stages of problem pests like codling moth.
I know it is not mowing, but mulches do offer good weed suppression and 
are worthy of consideration.
Clifford Cain
Bawtry, Doncaster, UK

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