The success of an orchard is only as good as the planning and site preparation that go into it. To build a good orchard, you need a good foundation.
The following steps are recommended to help prepare the site.
Collect samples for soil nutrient tests. Soil tests should include soil organic matter as well.
A basic soil test gives readings on the soil pH, phosphate, potassium and magnesium levels. Soil pH is one of the most important tests; it measures the alkalinity or acidity levels of the soil. Adjusting the pH of the soil ensures proper nutrient uptake and plant health. It plays a big role in the availability of nutrients to plant roots, nutrient run-off and leaching and microbial efficiency.
Weeding of perennial weeds
Weeding is an important control method practiced in many crops. The removal of weeds is useful because these unwanted plants compete with the crop for space, water and nutrients.
Broadcast any lime needed to adjust soil pH to 6.5 and other needed nutrients from the soil test report.
Ensure there is availability of water
Water is a vital resource for the tree growth, productivity and survival. Too much water (flooding) or too little (drought) can be fatal. Soil type and profile, orchard floor management, and site topography can dramatically affect soil water availability to the tree root system.
Ensure the manure is always available
Incorporating manure into orchard soil can also add needed N, P, K. Manure also increases the soil’s organic matter content. Organic matter is a transitory part of the soil that is continually decomposing and must be replaced regularly.
Tips to Ensure you Get the Maximum From Your Orchard.
Growing the right varieties (meeting market demand).
Efficient use of water.
Shortest lead time to first commercial harvest.
Consistency of production including yield and quality.
Choosing the right region, soil type, available water and land aspect.