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Friday, November 22, 2013

Out with the old and in with the new...

Currently on the farm, we are in the process of removing an old orchard and establishing a new orchard. When almond trees are between 25-30 years old, the production starts to decline to a point that the orchard needs to be replaced. When the orchard yield declines, it makes more sense to replace the trees and start the cycle over again. The orchard we are replacing this year is 26 years old, my husband was 2 years old when it was planted! His mother and grandmother tell us stories of when they were planting the field and carry my husband in a baby carrier on their backs. He can't even remember the orchard without trees, and now he is in charge of removing the field and establishing the new one.


Removing trees
Over the past five years or so, the trees have been falling over every time we had the slightest bit of wind. Actually, I wouldn't be lying if I told you it was probably missing a quarter of its trees from all the ones that have fallen over the years. Almond trees have very shallow roots and if they are planted in sandy soils, they have difficulty rooting in the ground. This causes almond trees in our area to fall during wind storms.






Working the ground


A local chipping company comes into the field and pushes over the trees into rows. The chipper then comes through the field and makes wood chips out of the trees. We also have a local co-generation plant in the area that takes the wood chips and turns them into energy.

The ripper disking the soil
Once all the trees and debris are removed from the field then we start to work the ground. The ripper comes into the field and starts making numerous passes to loosen the soil. The disks on the tractor rotate the soil to break up the dirt clods and ensure the new trees can have plenty of space to establish their new roots.
Once the ground is all worked up we will begin to level the soil and prepare for planting!
Until next time,
Almond Girl



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