By Erica Faber – Orchard Productivity Manager
The first quarter of the year is over, and this marks the official end of the 2018-2019 season. Ahead for the next quarter is flower induction and initiation and bud development.
Starch accumulation is also occurring, preparing the tree for the upcoming demands of flowering and fruit set.
The main orchard priorities for the next quarter are:
- Soil, leaf and microbial sampling
- Land prep and soil corrections for spring planting
- Phytophthora root rot control
- Fungal rot management
SOIL, LEAF AND MICROBIAL SAMPLING
Soil and leaf samples are taken so your fertiliser programmes can be tailored to ensure optimum nutrient levels and tree health going into winter. Tree deficiencies and poor reserves will lead to declining tree health in winter and poor fruit set in spring/summer.
Ensure soil and leaf samples are taken from the same trees or sites, otherwise you will not have clarity regarding the efficacy of your fertiliser programme, due to the variability from tree to tree (health, crop load etc) – you would not take a blood sample from someone else to see whether your treatment was working. Understanding the microbiological workforce in your soil also helps you understand and improve your nitrogen use efficiency, nutrient availability, Phytophthora suppression and organic matter breakdown. It is worth including this in your testing arsenal, as you can’t manage or improve what you don’t measure. Please contact John, Kyra or myself for further information on microbial testing.
PREPARING FOR SPRING PLANTINGS
If you’re doing new plantings, make sure you have taken soil samples, done your soil corrections and prepared your land well before the planting date approaches. Your new orchard is an investment that will deliver returns for more than 40 years. Getting it off to the best possible start ensures good and early returns and an orchard that will continue to perform well.