- Nuts: chestnuts
- Crop Production: agroforestry
- Education and Training: demonstration, on-farm/ranch research, workshop
- Farm Business Management: budgets/cost and returns
- Natural Resources/Environment: carbon sequestration
- Soil Management: nutrient mineralization
Neglected mature orchards require intensive pruning and fertility inputs to be brought back into production. This project will quantify changes in production and soil health as a function of pruning and fertility inputs over three years. Based on the data, we will estimate the potential increase in income with continued treatment relative to expenses. This may provide information on the viability of restoring mature chestnut trees through pruning and nutritional inputs. The orchard will be divided into 4 groups of 14 trees: Group 1: pruned trees, Group 2: trees receiving nutritional inputs, Group 3: pruned trees also receiving nutritional inputs, and Group 4: control, no pruning or nutritional inputs (see orchard diagram).
Pruning will be done by an arborist with old orchard experience. For nutritional inputs, we will annually apply ramial wood chips, rock dust (local quarry), and a compost tea. Data will be collected and compared on the yield and quality of chestnuts for each group of trees to determine the effects of the pruning and nutritional inputs. Soil sampling will be done annually in each Group to determine impact on soil health.
We will disseminate videos of pruning, harvesting and applying nutrition via social media and our technical advisors’ website, SilvoCulture.org. We will host three distinct workshops: “Pruning to Restore Orchards”, “Soil health measurements as indicator of healthy orchards”, and “Presentation of Project Results”; and present our project results at the Northern Nut Growers Association and Future Harvest meetings as well as publish our results online.
Project objectives from proposal:
This SARE project will quantify changes in production and soil health as a function of pruning and nutritional inputs over three years. Based on the data, we will estimate the potential increase in income with continued treatment and compare with the expenses. This may provide some information on the viability of restoring mature chestnut trees through pruning and nutrition.
- To determine the effect on yield of pruning a neglected chestnut orchard
- To determine the effect of nutrient applications on soil health.
- To gather data on whether pruning and adding nutrition is cost effective for a neglected orchard