Smallholders Insurance from Greenlands

Author Topic: Clearing an orchard  (Read 661 times)

Traktoristy

  • Joined Jul 2018
Clearing an orchard
« on: January 03, 2022, 08:51:30 am »
Hi, new to the forum, apologies if this is the wrong place to post but would welcome advice on clearing an orchard. We’ve just bought a parcel of land that includes a commercial orchard of around 2000 gala Apple trees. We don’t want to keep them - our neighbour was planning to grub them and replant, we’d prefer to replant as a meadow (we use the rest of our land for sheep pasture). Usual practice where we are is to pull them, pile them and burn them, what are the other options? Most are too skinny to be worth cutting into logs. We may end up leaving a few in situ and seeing what happens but not all 2000!

Anke

  • Joined Dec 2009
  • St Boswells, Scottish Borders
Re: Clearing an orchard
« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2022, 04:26:02 pm »
If you want to encourage some wildlife you can always leave some piles of them either aorund the edges, or just randomly, with branches etc, to allow for slow natural decomposition. May well be in the way for future mowing though...


If you do grub them out I would hire a chipper and chop as much up as possible, then let that rot slowly in heaps for future compost.


The soil may be a bit too fertile for traditional hay meadow though.


How big is the field?

Penninehillbilly

  • Joined Sep 2011
  • West Yorks
Re: Clearing an orchard
« Reply #2 on: January 11, 2022, 07:04:29 pm »
How old are they?
If they are so skinny, maybe not much root system, offer them on either eBay, preloved or freecycle. Recipient to dig and remove. ☺.  And now is the best time to move bare rooted trees.
Probably not 2000, but I'm sure a fair few would go with little work from you.

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
Re: Clearing an orchard
« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2022, 12:37:33 am »
Burning is the least environmentally friendly option.  Possibly the quickest way to kill them off is to let your sheep into the orchard.  Most breeds of sheep love fruit trees, especially apples, and the whole tree is good eating for them, except the wood of the trunk. They would eat off the bark as high as they could reach, also low branches and leaves. You would still have to pull out the ones you don't want, and the sheep could then finish off eating the leaves and bark once they are felled.  If you do stack them at any stage and burn them, please check carefully for nesting birds and hedgehogs - they can make their homes in a pile of dead branches really quickly.
I like the idea of offering 'dig your own' trees for free, but time is passing so advertise that soon.
"Let's not talk about what we can do, but do what we can"

There is NO planet B - what are YOU doing to save our home?

Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

 Love your soil - it's the lifeblood of your land.

Kiran

  • Joined Apr 2019
Re: Clearing an orchard
« Reply #4 on: January 12, 2022, 01:37:28 am »
Apple wood is quite highly regarded by people who use a smoker bbq both in log and chip form.

I don't know what area your 2000 trees cover, but do you need to think about ground heave if you get rid of that many trees?

Steph Hen

  • Joined Jul 2013
  • Angus Scotland.
Re: Clearing an orchard
« Reply #5 on: January 12, 2022, 07:39:04 am »
Are you aware you can ‘top-graft’ Apple trees to turn them into whatever variety of apples you and your family like to eat/you can sell/turn to cider? Perhaps you could keep some? 

Removing 2000 established/establishing apple trees for sheep is a great shame. The orchard would have cost 10’s of thousands plus all the labour and the years to get it in.

As Fleecewife said, the sheep will eat the leaves twigs and bark and you’ll be able to remove dead trunks as they kill them off.

Womble

  • Joined Mar 2009
  • Stirlingshire, Central Scotland
Re: Clearing an orchard
« Reply #6 on: January 12, 2022, 09:25:07 am »
How big are they, Trakoristy?  I'd have thought they must be worth something to somebody to transplant.
"All fungi are edible. Some fungi are only edible once." -Terry Pratchett

arobwk

  • Joined Nov 2015
  • Kernow: over-crowded already. You really don't want to live here actually.
Re: Clearing an orchard
« Reply #7 on: January 15, 2022, 06:36:35 pm »
My 4 pennies worth:  2,000 apple trees will not cost nothing to remove and it would ALSO be a real shame (a tragedy even) to root-up 2,000 of them.  Why don't you @Traktoristy think about ways of keeping sheep amongst the orchard and (if you can't see a future in Gala) do as suggested by Steph Hen and top-graft some other varieties.  While the Cider boom seems to have passed over, there is (I still think) a decent market for apples of all varieties and for all uses. 
In summary, I personally wouldn't start uprooting a 2,000 tree orchard in haste.  Do please have a good think about options for mixed-use (inc' sheep) of the orchard before bull-dozing 2,000 established fruit trees.
« Last Edit: January 15, 2022, 06:41:19 pm by arobwk »

landroverroy

  • Joined Oct 2010
Re: Clearing an orchard
« Reply #8 on: January 15, 2022, 07:26:22 pm »
Unless you stick to broken mouthed sheep - they'll bark and kill the trees in no time.
Rules are made:
  for the guidance of wise men
  and the obedience of fools.

arobwk

  • Joined Nov 2015
  • Kernow: over-crowded already. You really don't want to live here actually.
Re: Clearing an orchard
« Reply #9 on: January 15, 2022, 07:43:30 pm »
Unless you stick to broken mouthed sheep - they'll bark and kill the trees in no time.

Not disputing the risk pointed out by landroverroy, but I have read of folk who have successfully grazed orchards, including with sheep.  Not sure though what the magic formula is for compatible grazing with sheep. 
« Last Edit: January 15, 2022, 07:54:05 pm by arobwk »

Backinwellies

  • Global Moderator
  • Joined Sep 2012
  • Llandeilo Carmarthenshire
    • Nantygroes
    • Facebook
Re: Clearing an orchard
« Reply #10 on: January 16, 2022, 08:12:32 am »
Unless you stick to broken mouthed sheep - they'll bark and kill the trees in no time.

Not disputing the risk pointed out by landroverroy, but I have read of folk who have successfully grazed orchards, including with sheep.  Not sure though what the magic formula is for compatible grazing with sheep.

breed can make a difference
Linda

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Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
Re: Clearing an orchard
« Reply #11 on: January 16, 2022, 12:27:21 pm »
Unless you stick to broken mouthed sheep - they'll bark and kill the trees in no time.

Not disputing the risk pointed out by landroverroy, but I have read of folk who have successfully grazed orchards, including with sheep.  Not sure though what the magic formula is for compatible grazing with sheep.

breed can make a difference

Shropshires?
"Let's not talk about what we can do, but do what we can"

There is NO planet B - what are YOU doing to save our home?

Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

 Love your soil - it's the lifeblood of your land.

macgro7

  • Joined Feb 2016
  • Leicester
Re: Clearing an orchard
« Reply #12 on: January 16, 2022, 03:16:09 pm »
They say shropshir3s are less likely to ring bark the trees. Is it true though?

They are a chubby breed which means They won't climate on their hind legs, and will only eat leaves upto around 1m high. Unlike primitiv3 breeds or goats that will definitelly est everything upto 2metres high and ring everything thats green - especially sweet apple trees.
So ifnyou really don't want to keepcthose trees get some goats - They will murder them all n no time (especially during winter). It would be such a waste of so many good apple trees though... since the trees are already planted and established I  would graze between them - using portable  electric sheep fence.

I wouldn't have planted 2000 apples trees all next to each other, especially only 1 variety, but since you already have them - if I were you - I would have kept them (if not all then quite a lot anyway), I would have interpalnted them with other tree species - plums, quince, cherries, even walnuts walnuts would make apple trees die out after some time (perhaps 10 or 20 years)
Growing loads of fruits and vegetables! Raising dairy goats, chickens, ducks, rabbits on 1/2 acre in the middle of the city of Leicester, using permaculture methods.

arobwk

  • Joined Nov 2015
  • Kernow: over-crowded already. You really don't want to live here actually.
Re: Clearing an orchard
« Reply #13 on: January 17, 2022, 05:28:22 pm »
I have been reminded of the use of Shropshires.  But I would suggest not just any ol' Shropshires:  I looked into this yonks ago and I understand a strain of less nibbly Shrop's has been bred/used for quite a while by Xmas tree growers, but there is still a flock management regime that needs to be followed.  I attach a link to useful publication about this:  I haven't re-read it before posting, but I recall it being a pretty informative guide to mixing sheep with trees (inc' orchards, if jogged memory serves me right).

[Edit - updated link to 3rd edition - it might take a while to load]   https://www.shropshire-sheep.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/Two_Crops_from_One_Acre_Third-edition.pdf
« Last Edit: January 17, 2022, 07:39:42 pm by arobwk »

arobwk

  • Joined Nov 2015
  • Kernow: over-crowded already. You really don't want to live here actually.
Re: Clearing an orchard
« Reply #14 on: January 18, 2022, 05:27:46 pm »
BUT I've just read that sheep are OK with eating apples in moderation, but not their pips !  (Another factor to weave into orchard grazing management.) 

I fear that won't help Traktoristy decide to save his trees, but I felt I had to report my finding. 

What about poultry ?! 
 

 

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