The Right Stuff

The Right Stuff

If you think that there are no options available to you for posts or fencing in order to have your orchard certified as organic, you are in for a pleasant surprise. There are actually quite a few practices you can implement, and they are neither expensive nor complicated.

For example, posts manufactured from plastic or cast iron are allowed. Chemicals used commonly to treat wood posts might leach into the soil, so wood posts used in the orchard rows may not be treated. However, there is a simple solution for this dilemma: Use rot-resistant wood for trellis posts. The type of wood used varies from region to region, depending on the rot-resistant varieties available in that particular area (such as black locust in the Midwest, or cedar in the West).

Go With The Flow

In the event that rot-resistant wood is not readily available in your region, a little bit of flexibility goes a long way. One example of a successful open-minded attitude in this situation is presented in an article that ran in the January 2006 issue of “Just Picked,” the quarterly newsletter of the Midwest Organic Tree Fruit Growers Network (MOTFGN). Tree fruit growers Maury Wills of Wills Family Orchard in Iowa and Jim Koan of Al-Mar Orchard in Michigan were featured in the story,  which talks about how, while Wills did not have access to any types of wood ideal for decay resistance, he did have a plentiful supply of white oak.

According to Koan, using untreated wood that may not necessarily be rot-resistant can actually be viewed as advantageous because more rapid decaying of the posts will encourage growers to renovate their orchards with new and improved varieties. “You have made your money, new varieties and technology will motivate you to replant, and the decaying support structure will force you to do so. That is why I like this system!” he is quoted as saying.

Furthermore, the entire undertaking left a relatively small dent in Wills’ wallet. Since he chopped the wood and shaved the posts himself, he did not need to pay anyone for labor. Wills’ only substantial cost was the $80 he spent on high tensile wire, which he bought from the local farm supply store.   

Fenced In

The rules are usually more lenient for deer fences. Because these fences are usually placed around the perimeter of the orchard, the wood used to build them can often be treated. It is important to note, though, that you cannot use the same wood within the tree row as a trellis.
Depending on its proximity to the trees, the vegetation growing under electric fences must be maintained by means other than synthetic herbicides. The use of herbicides may be permitted if the fence is located a safe distance from the orchard being certified, but the distance must be approved by an organic certifier. “Growers should always speak to their certification agency. That is where I obtained my information,” Deirdre Birmingham, coordinator for the Network, says.

To simplify the idea of what an organic orchard should represent, Birmingham suggests approaching it as an integrated system. “You need to keep in mind that in an organic orchard, everything interrelates. What you do to one part of the orchard affects the other parts,” she says.

Leave a Reply

Featured Stories
image1 - feature
Nuts
July 28, 2016
Tips For Late-Planting Potted Trees
Historically, the establishment of deciduous orchards was typified by planting bare-rooted trees during dormancy. With the advent of technology and Read More
Cannabis plant closeup
Citrus
July 28, 2016
Florida’s Medicinal Cannabis Venture Officially Open For Business
The state’s first dispensary of product comes online in Tallahassee, others waiting for the green light. Read More
Andrew (left) and Steve Beilstein use an air dancer, pictured in the background, as a bird-scaring device at The Blueberry Patch in Lexington, OH.  (Photo credit: Gary Gao)
Berries
July 27, 2016
Bird Damage Plagues Most Fruit Growers
There’s no silver bullet, but here are several techniques to annoy and deter birds. Read More
precision ag vision conference
Citrus
July 27, 2016
Ag Tech Is Hot On Horticulture; Get A Handle On What This Means For You
As evidenced by the recent AgTech Summit hosted by Forbes magazine in Salinas, CA, action in precision farming and the Read More
These wildflowers, planted near a California almond orchard, can be extremely effective in aiding pollinators. (Photo credit: Katharina Ullmann, Xerces Society)
Production
July 27, 2016
Survey: Fruit And Vegetable Growers Support Pollinators
Most of the berry, almond, melon, pumpkin, and tree fruit growers surveyed are being careful about how they manage their farms to minimize pesticide impacts and improve bees’ habitats. Read More
potato late blight leaves
Potatoes
July 27, 2016
Hail Hammers Potato Crops In North Dakota
Storms have wreaked havoc on crops in the Peace Garden State. Read More
cash money in hand
Citrus
July 27, 2016
Stockholders OK Dow, DuPont Merger
Companies intend to separate into three, independent companies. Read More
Tall Spindle Axe featured
Stone Fruit
July 26, 2016
Take A Closer Look At The Tall Spindle Axe Training System
One of the more traditional three-dimensional canopies, Tall Spindle Axe data shows consistent early and sustained yields. Read More
Workers picking in a Florida strawberry field
Berries
July 26, 2016
Wish Farms Commits $100K To Food Safety Cause
Central Florida berry operation will donate $20,000 annually over the next five years to fund various research projects backed by the Center for Produce Safety. Read More
The Latest
Nuts
July 28, 2016
Tips For Late-Planting Potted Trees
Historically, the establishment of deciduous orchards was typified by planting bare-rooted trees during dormancy. With the advent of technology and Read More
Citrus
July 28, 2016
Florida’s Medicinal Cannabis Venture Off…
The state’s first dispensary of product comes online in Tallahassee, others waiting for the green light. Read More
Apples & Pears
July 28, 2016
Seeing The Real Big Apple On The Nation’…
Hot temperatures, lack of precipitation, mechanization, and high density production systems were among the highlights of the International Fruit Tree Association’s annual study tour. Read More
Berries
July 27, 2016
Bird Damage Plagues Most Fruit Growers
There’s no silver bullet, but here are several techniques to annoy and deter birds. Read More
Citrus
July 27, 2016
Ag Tech Is Hot On Horticulture; Get A Ha…
As evidenced by the recent AgTech Summit hosted by Forbes magazine in Salinas, CA, action in precision farming and the Read More
Production
July 27, 2016
Survey: Fruit And Vegetable Growers Supp…
Most of the berry, almond, melon, pumpkin, and tree fruit growers surveyed are being careful about how they manage their farms to minimize pesticide impacts and improve bees’ habitats. Read More
Potatoes
July 27, 2016
Hail Hammers Potato Crops In North Dakot…
Storms have wreaked havoc on crops in the Peace Garden State. Read More
Citrus
July 27, 2016
Stockholders OK Dow, DuPont Merger
Companies intend to separate into three, independent companies. Read More
Stone Fruit
July 26, 2016
Take A Closer Look At The Tall Spindle A…
One of the more traditional three-dimensional canopies, Tall Spindle Axe data shows consistent early and sustained yields. Read More
Berries
July 26, 2016
Wish Farms Commits $100K To Food Safety …
Central Florida berry operation will donate $20,000 annually over the next five years to fund various research projects backed by the Center for Produce Safety. Read More
Fruits
July 26, 2016
Popular Spanish-Speaking Fruit Summer To…
Second-annual tour designed to educate Spanish-speaking employees or farmworkers on fruit growing practices. Read More
Apples & Pears
July 26, 2016
Walmart Begins Selling So-Called ‘…
Cosmetically challenged apples are the company’s first foray into a global movement to cut food waste. Read More
Production
July 26, 2016
Importing Frozen Honeybee Sperm Is Key T…
The Washington State University (WSU) bee program has worked with researchers from around the world to create more honeybee genetic repositories like the one at WSU. Read More
GenNext Growers
July 26, 2016
Tour Dedicated To Next Generation Tree F…
Newly formed Next Generation Tree Fruit Alliance to tour orchards, network. Read More
Farm Management
July 26, 2016
Mexico Has Potential For U.S. Sweet Pota…
Assessment concluded that opportunities abound if Mexican buyers better understand grades, sizes, and quality of U.S. product. Read More
Crop Protection
July 25, 2016
Study: GMO Ban Would Hurt Economy And En…
Food prices and greenhouse gas emissions would rise, according to paper by Purdue University agricultural economist. Read More
Farm Management
July 25, 2016
Seven Reasons You Need To Attend The Uni…
Education sessions and Capitol Hill visits will focus on key issues, such as labor, facing the fresh produce industry. Read More
Tomatoes
July 25, 2016
New Research Uncovers Gene That May Be K…
Scientists identify a gene that encodes an enzyme which plays a pivotal role in controlling tomato softening. Read More
[gravityform id="62" title="false" description="false"]