Soil is a foundation of organic farming. Interest in soil quality / health in orchard systems is currently high, and more research is available and underway to understand this part of the orchard ecosystem. In particular, more knowledge is needed about the relationship between soil organisms and tree roots, as well as both the balance and sufficiency of soil nutrients. New genomic techniques are allowing for a look at soil microbiology that was previously impossible and are leading to important new knowledge that will inform field management.
- Managing soil biology for multiple orchard benefits. Mark Mazzola, USDA-ARS.
- Managing soil microbial communities and functionality in your orchard. J. Moore-Kucera, Texas Tech University
- Soil fertility in organic systems: A guide for gardeners and small acreage farmers, PNW646, 2013
- Soil Management in Organic Orchards, D. Granatstein, 2007
Horticultural Meeting Sessions
Oregon State University Soils and Orchards Workshop, March 2017
Worms at Work: How Managing Orchard Organic Matter Improves Soil Biology and Tree Health. Tom Forge, Agriculture and Agrifood Canada, Summerland, BC
Cultivating Organic Matter for Orchard Health. David Granatstein, WSU Wenatchee.
Soil Health: Its Role in Today’s Orchard Systems. A session at the 2013 Wash. St. Hort. Assoc. annual meeting, Wenatchee, WA, Dec. 4, 2013. The session asked three questions, and had two speakers address each question:
- Does Organic Matter Matter? (G. Neilsen, G. Bird)
- How Do We Measure Soil Health? (G. Johnson, T. Forge)
- How does management influence soil health and tree performance? (I. Merwin, M. Omeg).
Proceedings manuscripts (and several Powerpoint presentations) are available for some speakers below.
- Introduction and Synopsis. D. Granatstein Presentation
- Does Organic Matter? G. Neilsen Presentation
- Organic Matter and the Impact of Management on Orchard Soil Health. G. Bird
- Assessing Soil Health for Tree Fruit and Vine Crops. T. Forge
- Soil Management Affects Orchard Soil Health and Tree Productivity. I. Merwin Presentation
Soil Health in Orchards. A session at the Intl. Fruit Tree Assoc. winter conference, Pasco, WA, March 2, 2011. The session featured a series of speakers addressing the various aspects of soil health and how they relate to tree growth and fruit quality. Articles based on these presentations are published in Compact Fruit Tree magazine.
- Soil Health in Orchards: An Introduction. David Granatstein, Washington State Univ., Wenatchee, WA
- Managing Resident Soil Biology for Tree Health. Mark Mazzola, USDA-ARS, Wenatchee, WA
- Improving Soil Physical and Chemical Properties for Better Tree Performance. Gerry Neilsen, Agriculture Canada, Summerland, BC, Canada
- Linking Fruit and Soil Quality (Health). Preston Andrews, Washington State Univ., Pullman, WA
- Orchard Soil Health: An International Perspective. Keith Fuller, Agriculture Canada, Kentville, NS, Canada
- Soil Nutrition. Mark LaPierre, Wilbur-Ellis Co., Yakima, WA
- Fertility and Soil Health. Mike Robinson, Wenatchee, WA
Orchard Soil Seminars
WSU Tree Fruit Research and Extension Center is organizing a series of seminars on topics related to soils and orchards. These are being captured electronically and made available on line at the WSU Tree Fruit YouTube page.
- The Potential for Precision Soil Management in Orchards. Dr. David Brown, WSU Crops & Soils, Pullman, WA. Presented 8/13/2014.
- The Hows and Whys of Soil Testing. Dr. Joan Davenport, WSU Crops & Soils, Prosser, WA. Presented 10/29/2014
Roots: The Foundation of Your Orchard’s Success. A session at the 2014 Wash. St. Hort. Assoc. annual meeting, Kennewick, WA, Dec. 3, 2014. Presentations were captured electronically and can be viewed on-line.
- Root physiology and function in the orchard (Lee Kalcsits, WSU, Wenatchee, WA)
- Optimal tree nutrition and fruit production begins underground – the apple rootstock story (Gennaro Fazio, USDA-ARS, Geneva, NY)
- Characteristics of tree root systems (David Eissenstat, Penn State Univ., College Park, PA)
- Roots and soil biology: managing the ‘microherd’ for maximum tree performance (Mark Mazzola, USDA-ARS, Wenatchee, WA)
- Question and Answer period
- Organic Fertilizer Calculator. An excel based tool to help you determine how much nutrient value various organic amendments have, how quickly they release N, and how much they cost. Oregon State University – Small Farms; University of Idaho
- Organic fertilizer panel, Supplying N & other key nutrients to organic orchards.
- Compost page, CSANR (Center for Sustaining Agriculture & Natural Resources) webpage
- Compost and Nutrient Management, Washington State University – Puyallup webpage
- Compost Images on-line photo gallery
- Tree Fruit Irrigation, WSU Extension webpage