Several studies show that time of planting greatly affects initial tree growth. Early planted trees have increased shoot numbers and length, and fewer trees become spur-bound or stunted. Orchards should be planted as early in the spring as the ground can be worked or in late fall in regions where sudden drops in temperature are un likely. Mechanical tree planters, developed in the 1970s, make it possible to complete planting in a shorter time frame, when soil moisture conditions are optimal. Research on tree planting indicates that trees may be planted by a variety of methods, provided close root-soil contact is secured and the trees are not planted too deeply. With a tree planter, it is important to adjust tree height by hand and to tamp the soil firmly around the roots. If an auger is used to drill the planting holes, the glazed edges of the hole must be fractured to permit root penetration. To prevent scion rooting, the bud union of dwarf trees should be 5 centimeters above the soil line. Higher bud union placement is generally avoided due to the potential for burr knots or winter injury on some rootstocks. Soon after planting, the trees should be watered and, if needed, a support system established.
The goal of advance planning and site preparation is to ensure early and regular crops of high-value fruit for the 15- to 30-year life of an orchard. Preplant use of sustainable management practices guarantees that a site will support the current orchard and generations to come.
Related Topics: CULTIVAR SELECTION; GEOGRAPHIC CONSIDERATIONS; IRRIGATION; MARKETING; NEMATODES; ORCHARD FLOOR MANAGEMENT; ROOTSTOCK SELECTION; SOIL MANAGEMENT AND PLANT FERTILIZATION; SPRING FROST CONTROL; SUSTAINABLE ORCHARDING
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