Farm Focus: Thirsty Trees
It’s July and all our systems are operating at full tilt. Out in the Orchard our Tree Team is busy harvesting at maximum capacity. Our Ground Team is busy with several important jobs. Among them, our compost is being built and distributed at a fast and furious pace. When a pile is ready, Umberto hooks up our compost spreader to the back of a tractor and distributes compost along the Orchard floor. The compost we are applying now is building a nutrient base for next summer’s harvest. As you've probably experienced, it’s been really hot lately. We’ve seen many triple digit days in Brentwood and our trees are thirsty! Keeping on top of our tree's water needs is essential. Our two water pumps give us the capacity to irrigate about 35 acres at a time, so we water the trees in a sequence of what we call sets, or periods of time. Each orchard block is given water once a week for 24 hours, with each tree receiving about 350 gallons of water during the set in the hottest weather.
The Ground Team makes continual sweeps of the Orchard to check that all of our water emitters are functioning before we begin the set in any given block. With 30,000 emitters, one for every tree, it takes about one week to check all the blocks in the Orchard making emitter checks one of the Ground Teams daily responsibilities throughout the harvest season.
The emitters themselves are micro-sprinklers that are located near the trunk of the trees. The emitters put out a very fine mist of water droplets that sprays around a 15-inch radius from the trunk, which covers the root zone with water. About 3-4 times a summer we also add organic water-soluble nutrients to the lines to compliment our compost nutrient program.
It’s a busy, busy time out at the farm and we hope you’ve been enjoying the fruits of our labor!