Good Fruit Grower

December 2012

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 25 of 79

M.7/M.26/M.9 EMLA BUD 9 NIC® 29 PAJAM 2® M.9 NAKB T-337 GENEVA 202/30/16/11 We also grow a great selection of rootstock varieties for apple, cherry, peach, pear and plum including: APPLE CHERRY PEACH PEAR PLUM MALUS ANTONOVKA MALUS DOLGO MALUS DOMESTICA PRUNUS AVIUM PRUNUS MAHALEB PRUNUS EMLA COLT PRUNUS BESSEYI PRUNUS PERSICA 'LOVELL' OH X F 87/97/333/513 PYRUS CALLERYANA PYRUS COMMUNIS PYRUS USSURIENSIS PRUNUS CERASIFERA PRUNUS MARIANA PRUNUS MYROBALAN PROVENCE QUINCE LIKE OUR ROOTSTOCK, our service will grow on you. ALL FRUIT TREE ROOTSTOCK IS OREGON CERTIFIED VIRUS FREE. Orchard Economics as BERRIES S Cherries ome Michigan tart cherry growers are not waiting for the final research results to come in and are instead plunging ahead in what could be a paradigm shift in the way tart cherries are grown and harvested. Ken Engle, a grower from Williamsburg in the Traverse City area, and Ed Oxley, a grower from Lawton in southwest Michigan, both have plantings made in a new style and have a year or less before they need to harvest them. Other Michigan grow- ers are cooperating with researchers in a large research project and are experimenting on their own as well. They intend to harvest using over-the-row harvesters, treating the cherry trees as if Growers show they were blueberry bushes or grapevines, both of which have been mechanically har- vested for some years. Oxley has already bought a blueberry harvester he intends to use, and Engle is still contemplating. keen interest in over-the-row harvest of tart cherries. by Richard Lehnert Machine harvest Tart cherry harvest was mechanized more than 50 years ago. Hand harvest went out, rapidly, about the same time that the Bracero program providing Mexican labor ended in the 1960s. Growers adopted limb shak- ers and inclined plane catching frames, a technology that lasted a few years. Then, limb shaking was replaced by trunk shaking, which became, and still is, the mode. It takes just a few seconds of shaking to drop a tree's hundred or so pounds of fruit onto a sloping canvas, from which it rolls into a conveyor that takes it to a tank filled with water for transport and cooling. It takes only about half to three-quarters of a minute to shake a tree, collect the fruit, and moved the inclined double-frame system to the next tree. But tart cherries have not been a particularly profitable crop—and some of that is related to trunk shaker harvest. It takes too long to grow a tree with a large trunk, and tree trunk injury from the shaker reduces orchard life. In July 2008, researchers at Michigan State University organized a demonstration in which an unmodified blueberry harvester took a row of the trees into its five-foot-wide and eight-foot-tall throat, shook off the fruit with vibrating fingers, caught the fruit on its platform, and moved it by conveyor to bins on the machine. Fruit quality was good, but it was clear that not all trees were suited to the process. Nonetheless, the demonstration inspired researchers to pursue further research, and it also inspired growers to go ahead based on what they'd seen. Oxley's experience A freak hailstorm in April 2010 put Ed Oxley on the path. He had a three-year-old, 50- acre planting of Montmorency tart cherries, the predominant variety, that was stripped of its leaves and branches by hail. Oxley responded to some advice from Dr. Ron Perry, a long-time friend and the Michi- canby, oregon See our newly updated website, with all of our offerings & availabilities at Great stands of Malus antonovka and M. domestica. Order now to be sure to get the size you want. 503-263-6405 Toll Free 1-800-852-2018 26 DECEMBER 2012 GOOD FRUIT GROWER gan State University horticulturist who heads the over-the-row cherry harvest research project. Oxley had attended the demonstration Perry had organized. "On 20 acres, we cut the trees down to 18 inches tall and let them sucker out," he said. The results were short, bushy trees. "They're looking good," he said about the trees now. "They bushed out down low. We put trellises over some rows to try that out." Oxley is working with Perry and the research team on the hypothesis that even with Montmorency, in a canopy with branches established lower, tree resources are divided earlier in the life of the tree, and that can discourage overall canopy vigor and keep trees small. Traditional systems call for removal of competing branches up to 40 to 48 inches above ground to allow room for trunk-shaking devices and catch frames. Therefore, in the traditional tree, canopy development begins much higher and encourages a taller and wider tree, Perry said.

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Good Fruit Grower - December 2012