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Mycorrhiza make a difference

Mycorrhiza make a difference
May 23, 2018 09:52PM
After reading “Mycorrhizal Planet”, our eyes have been opened to the role of all those fungal strands hidden throughout the soil. Some things that have confounded us for years, now make sense.

For example, for years we have noticed what we call “the end-tree effect”, where the tree at the end of each row grows more vigorously, has better leaf colour, and tends to be less inclined to biennial bear than the trees just a little way further down the row. We had put this down to less competition from other apple trees, and a bigger soil volume from which to extract nutrients. We now think this is only partly true, because at the Kalangadoo orchard, we have just realized that the trees at the south end of the rows (only about 10 metres from a row of 10 metre high willows running perpendicular to the apple rows) are better than those apple trees at the north end of the rows where there are no willows (because we are south of the equator, the sun is in our northern sky, so no shading from the willows). The willows are making the apple trees grow better, not worse!

At the orchard we share-farm at OB Flat, there is a willow windbreak running parallel to the apple rows, between a block of Pink Lady and a block of Fuji. The two rows of Pink Lady and the two rows of Fuji closest to the willows have always been the hardest to control – too much vegetative growth, too much pruning required and generally poorer fruit colour. Again, the willows are making the apple trees grow better, not worse – however they are growing too well, and we need to change the management of those four rows a little bit. But at least now we know why.

Kalangadoo Orchard
On the “other side” in South Australia
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