Category: California farm land, Real Estate, buy farm land.
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California walnut orchard Pruning walnut trees may not be required, according to the latest research by walnut advisers: A UC Cooperative Extension farm adviser in the Mid-Valley describes new thinking about pruning young walnut trees as a “paradigm shift.” “Having given workshops for 27 years on minimal pruning methods, I was skeptical when we started this study,” said Janine Hasey, walnut adviser for Sutter, Yuba and Colusa counties. “But data and unpruned trees make a compelling case for us to re-evaluate our decades-old advice to prune and head lateral-bearing varieties.” Hasey and other walnut experts have been conducting research on pruning — or rather non-pruning — of walnuts on a plot at the Nickels Soil Lab near Arbuckle, in which young trees of the Chandler and Howard varieties are not pruned and minimally pruned and heavily pruned in field tests over four and seven years, respectively. “We always thought you had to prune and head the new lateral-bearing varieties to keep them growing in the early years of training,” she said at a pruning workshop for growers last week at the Nickels Soil Lab. Chandler is the most popular variety in California, accounting for 42 percent of the walnut crop tonnage in 2012 and 39 percent of the 245,000 acres of walnuts in the state. Howard is the second-most popular variety, with 14 percent of the crop tonnage. “What we’ve found is that with unpruned trees — they basically have the same trunk growth and height and crop yield as minimally pruned trees,” said Hasey. “The unpruned trees had basically the same production as pruned trees,” she said. “The question is: Why would you prune if you have the same result? I’ve had to totally redo my thinking.” “It’s a whole paradigm shift,” the ag adviser said. Bruce Lampinen, a UC Cooperative Extension walnut specialist based at UC Davis, added: “There’s no benefit to pruning based on the data so far.” Hasey said the research team hasn’t conducted an economic analysis of pruning vs. no pruning. But, she said, “You guys do the math: No labor and no brush — or labor and brush.” She was referring to the labor and fuel it would take to prune and then remove the brush from orchards, implying there are immediate cost savings. Other non-pruning trials are being conducted in Butte, Merced and Tulare counties. “We are looking at different trials in different soils for different varieties around the state,” Hasey said. John Edstrom, former UC Cooperative Extension tree crop specialist in Colusa County, and Carolyn DeBuse, a UCCE Yolo-Solano farm adviser at the time, also worked on the Nickels plot. Hasey encouraged growers to experiment with non-pruning. “It’s a big leap,” she said. “Try it on a small block or a row, not all your trees. Try it and see how it works.” Detailed pruning and non-pruning instructions are available from Hasey at the UC Cooperative Extension office on Garden Highway in Yuba City. Read more: http://www.appeal-democrat.com/articles/walnut-123840-pruning-adviser.html#ixzz2NNUdTMF9