Good Fruit Grower

April 1

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42 APRIL 1, 2015 GOOD FRUIT GROWER F or high yields of fruit of good quality, you need to fill the surface soil with feeder roots of your trees. To do this, the surface soil needs to be deepened and mulched so it is cool in summer, is stable, soft, and permeable, and stores enough water and nutrients for the roots yet is well drained so that oxygen can move to the roots and toxic gases are removed. A good example are the red duplex soils in Northern Victoria, Australia, which consist of shallow loams 100- 150 mm (4 to 6 inches) deep that overlie dense, hard, poorly drained clays. When we hill-up the surface soil before we plant the trees and use weeds to add organic matter to the soil, we deepen the surface soil available for feeder roots. However, unless we continue to manage our surface soil carefully, we will eventually be back where we started. The surface soil will slump when quickly wetted by rain or irrigation and will set hard and dense when dry. Such hard, dense soils are hostile to feeder roots. Water from rain and irrigation will run off the bare surface into the inter-row and be lost as evaporation and surface drainage, taking soil with it. That is, hilled-up soil under the trees will be eroded. In previous articles, we suggested that you use winter weeds, especially grasses, to mulch the soil in the tree row in summer. (See "Use winter weeds to improve soil" in the December 2014 issue and "Understanding soil organic matter" in the March 15 issue.) The mulch protects the soil from heavy rain, softens and cools the surface soil, adds organic matter, and improves the soil structure in the tree row. In this article, we are suggesting how you can keep the mulched surface soil soft, permeable, and well-aerated and continue to encourage feeder roots to fill the surface soil. Your mulch of dead winter weeds should not add more organic matter than is needed to stabilize the soil, Maintain good SOIL structure GOOD TO KNOW Weed mulch plus gypsum keep surface soil soft, permeable, and well-aerated A research report by Judy Tisdall and Bas van den Ende Controlled pollination for tree fruits is an essential part of assuring an optimal set. Harry's Pollen Service utilizes only high quality pollen, genetic science, and pollination technology for providing the best possible mix specific to each fruit variety. Harry's Pollen Service is a proud dealer of Fusion 360, Inc.'s patented pollination technology SureSet-Apex. SureSet-Apex can increase set by increasing pollen tube growth rate, bee activity and flower mineral nutrition. CONTACT Harry's Pollen Service TODAY AT (509) 663-9995 For more information on Fusion 360's Technologies visit Pollen Application and Sales

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