Last week, we planted over 1,000 trees that had been waiting for us in cold storage. If trees could talk, we imagine they would say, “Geez, it’s May 1 already, what’s taken you so long?” This year is an anomaly in every way – the rain and storms have delayed our planting. And the day after we got the trees in the ground, it rained even more!
Light and fluffy soil
We planted two acres of nectarines, two acres of pluots, and about 650 “replants.” Replants are a little of this and a little of that, planted in empty spaces throughout the orchard.
Before we plant our trees, the ground team must prepare the land.
- We start by tilling. The disruption of tilling opens the soil for planting, but it also shatters the texture and structure, so we only do this when we plant a new orchard.
- After we till, we use a disc mechanism attached to a tractor. The disc circulates the soil and makes it light and fluffy.
- Then we raise berms in each row where the trees will be planted. We mark the spaces across the farm where each tree will go.
All the orchards we plant are infused with oyster shell limestone, which provides a boost of calcium for the growing trees. We apply 10 tons per acre.
Skilled team makes it happen
Once the ground is ready, our amazing and highly skilled tree team gets to work. Twenty workers planted 800 trees in one day. They work efficiently, and they work very hard to make it all happen. Our team has learned many tricks of the trade over the years that contribute to our trees’ success. Here are just a few:
- Preparing the limbs and roots: Our trees were started in a nursery. They’ve been ripped from the soil of their original home before they come to us. Many of the trees sustained damage to their roots when they were removed. Damaged roots are entry ways for soil-borne fungus and bacteria. You’ve seen a gall on a redwood tree in the forest, right? Galls are tree tumors, and while they may seem beautiful and harmless, they will kill our fruit trees. We trim damaged roots and treat them with a microbial brew that fends off harmful fungus, bacteria, and galls. We also trim extra branches to give the tree its form.
- Orienting the tree: We orient the tree to the north. This helps the tree withstand prevailing winds so it doesn’t fall over on a windy day.
A water truck follows the tree team and gives each tree a healthy dose of irrigation. We water the trees each week. The trees seem to appreciate the surprise showers we’ve been getting!
Mother Nature steps in
Once the orchards are planted, Mother Nature takes over and we help her along with our regenerative farming techniques. We’re looking forward to an avalanche of pluots in three years when the new trees start to bear fruit. We planted more Honey Punch and Crimson Royale pluots. And we planted several new varieties, like Flavor Supreme, Flavorosa, and Fall Fiesta pluots. And nectarines! We planted Spring Ray and Spring Flare – both are new varieties for us. We will keep you posted on their progress.