Fruit and nut orchards require a lot of work and planning. From the purchasing of the land and the planting of the fruit trees, through the tending of the crop and then the harvesting and selling of the product, there are a lot of details to attend to. Orchard management involves any and all of the steps that go into turning a plot of land into a successful and profitable crop.
Orchard management starts before the trees are planted. Orchard owners need to determine what their goals for the orchard will be. Priorities, work plans, and evaluation methods will also be set in place at this time. The soil must be tested for nutrients, and there needs to be a specific plan for what will be planted where. This involves knowing what grows well in the area, and what fruits and nuts there is a demand for. The tree saplings are then planted according to the plan, in a way that will encourage pollination and maximum growth.
The second phase of orchard management is tree care. This includes fertilizing and treating the crop with insecticides. It also includes knowing how to handle a diseased tree, and having a plan in place for disasters, like fires, hail, or freezes. Checking each tree for problems, like rot, mildew, or bugs, can be time consuming, but it is a necessary step. The sooner potential problems are discovered, the better the chance of being able to rescue and repair the tree.
After the fruit has grown, it is time to harvest and sell it. Hiring a group of workers to help harvest, keeping track of the amount of fruit gathered, and then finding markets for the fruit are also part of orchard management. There are a lot of details to record and keep track of. The average size of the fruit, the age of the trees, and how much fruit each type of tree produces will need to be recorded, allowing the owner to use this information to improve next years yield.
There is a lot that goes into successful orchard management. Many orchard owners do these tasks themselves, or even hire an individual, or a group of people, to help with these tasks. There are also orchard management companies that can help owners meet their goals through successful management practices. Having a management plan in place can make a huge difference in the success of an orchard.