Use the Off-Season to Your Orchard’s Advantage

Franz Niederholzer

While the growing season and harvest are behind you, the dormant season is not a time to take a break, says Franz Niederholzer, University of California Cooperative Extension Farm Advisor, Orchard Systems.
In fact, this is a time to help give your orchard a leg up on next season.

This used to mean that a fall nitrogen application was appropriate, but Niederholzer says when studying the fertility of orchards during and postharvest and how those applications impacted the next season’s yield, there was not a noticeable difference.

“If you manage your nitrogen well, and match your nitrogen applications to your crop load and crop development, we haven’t been able to show a yield benefit to a late-season fall application,” he says.

However, there are many other important things to devote your time to instead so you can assess the past season and prepare for the next one.

“At the end of the long season, unfortunately there is plenty to, do,” he says. “The days are getting shorter, everybody’s tired, it’s been a long season, but there are things that are really important to do for the next year. Take that time and energy and focus on those things.”

Here are some areas Niederholzer suggests you pay attention to and focus on to get a good start next year:

It’s important to keep in mind that you’re setting your crop up for the next season, Niederholzer explains. The buds have differentiated, so while these tasks may seem like extra work, each step you take can help you have an even better 2018.