The importance of investing in the right trees
Traditionally, when a new orchard is planted, tree purchases represent the smallest portion of the investment. Land purchases, field prep, irrigation system installation, soil amendments and labor requirements account for almost all of the costs associated with establishing and maintaining an orchard. Shouldn’t the trees themselves be an important part of the mix? We think so. And, it’s not just because we make our money selling trees, it’s because we’ve seen first hand the benefits of planting bigger, field-ready trees compared to smaller trees that aren’t as ready to take on the elements and utilize your other inputs effectively. As an example, check out the photos to the right. The top photo is of an orchard of first year years, 1 year after planting. The bottom picture is of some of our second year trees the day of planting. These trees are the same age and as you can see the trees left at the nursery an extra year grew much more than the trees planted early. Read on to learn what makes our bigger trees so effective in the field.
The difference is clear. Arbor Grove Nursery’s bigger tree starts, planted in St. Paul, OR
At Arbor Grove Nursery, we focus our growing efforts to maximize root development. By reintroducing beneficial, naturally found bacteria and fungi into the soil earlier than in traditional micropropagation, we have been able to capitalize on the benefits of tissue culture production, while circumventing some of the issues of juvenility. All the other aspects of the tree, follow from the roots. Better roots lead to thicker calipers, better lateral branch development and taller, stronger trees. Focusing on root development, has turned us on to other advantages of planting more mature trees. We have experimented with keeping trees at the nursery longer to see how much of a head start we could give our growers once the trees were planted in the field. We found that by spending an extra year caring for trees at the nursery, we could produce trees that were more than just a year ahead of other trees on the market. One of our growers harvested 600 lbs. per acre off of 2 year trees we planted in 2011! Our bigger trees are changing the landscape of new orchards but, our bigger trees work great as replacement pollinizers in established orchards as well.
It all starts with the roots
The most important thing to look for when planting new trees, is root development. Through the roots, trees collect the nutrients they need to survive and grow. Established root systems are more efficient at absorbing these nutrients and can more effectively utilize fertilizers and other soil amendments. Essentially, the more mature the tree and the more developed its root system, the more you get out of your investment in irrigation, fertilization, etc. Great plants start with great roots. Everything from fruit and nut production to caliper thickness to lateral branch development all start with well-developed roots.
Second year Jefferson tree
The benefit of being first to market
By planting more mature trees, your orchard will come into production faster and that means you will start seeing returns on your investment faster, too. With new cultivars being released every year, time to market is more crucial to the hazelnut industry than ever. Capitalize on high demand, capture higher nut prices and get ahead of the competition by planting the trees that will get you into the market faster.