Chipping Replaces Burning For Tree Prunings
Disposal of tree prunings will become a greater issue as the burning of prunings ends July 1, 2010, as required by the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District. Growers may still burn fallen trees in existing orchards, burn trees in an orchard removal (up to 20 acres a year), and burn diseased trees when the county ag commissioner determines it is appropriate to stop the spread of the disease.
Wood chipping has become a widespread alternative to burning prunings. Almond Board of California funded research to determine the effects of spreading chippings on the orchard floor has demonstrated that the organic matter of soil in the orchard is greatly improved, and that a beneficial shift in soil fungi and bacteria takes place. The research also showed that slight incorporation or irrigation to bring chips in closer contact with the soil enhances the breakdown of chips in the soil. Adjust chippers so that chips are either too big or too small at harvest to avoid mixing with hulls sold by shellers for feed.