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Orchard Management

Orchard Maintenance

  • Regular maintenance

    The time required for major maintenance tasks is as follows (time per hectare).

    Task Comments Time Season
    Mowing Depends on the machinery you use 0.5 ~ 3 hours Spring/summer
    Weed control Chemical control by backpack 3 hours Spring/summer
    Chemical control by farmbike 1 hour
    Sucker control Chemical control by backpack 2 hours Spring/summer
    Pruning Manual, young trees (2 mins/tree) 3 days Winter
    Manual, older trees (5 mins/tree) 7 days
    Disease control Spray by backpack 1 hours Spring, autumn
    Harvesting Manually   Late autumn

    Mowing - mowing keeps the grass under control, which is important to prevent new weeds seeding, to allow air movement in the orchard (reducing pests and diseases), and to build up mulch around the trees (which retains moisture, suppresses weeds and builds up organic matter). Many contractors offer mowing services, or you can use a tractor, ride-on mower or farm bike plus mowing attachment. The width of the mowing equipment should efficiently cover the width of the area to be mowed.

    Weed control - weeds compete for moisture and nutrients so control is important, especially while the crop and shelter trees are becoming established. Glyphosate (such as RoundUp?) is commonly used for weed control, although a variety of non-chemical alternatives are also available (such as mulch). With any systemic herbicide, care is required to avoid damaging the trees. Hazels are planted in rows, so you will need to be able to strip spray. It is possible to do this using a backpack sprayer, but it is slow, tiring work. Instead, you can tow a spray tank behind a tractor or other vehicle (ATV or even mower), or mount the tank on an ATV.

    Pruning - pruning requirements in the first few years are very modest, and the main aim is to encourage the tree to develop a strong framework of scaffold branches. Pruning in the first 10 years should take only around 2 minutes per tree, using secateurs and pruning shears. Once the tree is mature you will need a pruning saw, but pruning should still take only around 10 minutes per tree every second year.

    Sucker control - some cultivars sucker freely and you will need to control the suckers in order to optimise tree growth and production. You can use a desiccant spray such as Buster? or Hammer?, or suckers can be removed manually (but this is very labour intensive and can encourage the tree to produce even more suckers) or by allowing sheep to graze around larger trees. For young trees, spraying can be done effectively using a backpack sprayer, although larger equipment is necessary for larger areas or older trees.

    Disease control - hazels are hardy and generally healthy, but some disease prevention or control is recommended. The most common activity is to spray the trees with copper just before bud burst and again before leaf fall. For young trees, this can be done effectively using a backpack sprayer.

Orchard Management