The work around here never really ends, it just changes with the weather. We always have jobs lined up for “Once the sun comes out”, “Once the rain stops”, “Once the water goes down”, or “Once the ground freezes.” Flailing the orchards was on the list for this week’s freezing weather, currently it’s in the 20’s here. (And yes I know…that’s basically balmy when compared to the rest of the country).
When the leaves fall in our hazelnut orchards we try to find opportunities to get out there with the flail and break up the leaves. Unfortunately once the leaves fall, not far behind is usually that famous Oregon rain. We don’t want to rut up our orchard floors because of the mud, so our opportunity to go out and chop up the leaves is saved for either very dry weather or very cold weather. This year we didn’t get much dry, so we were looking froward to some cold. And this week we got what we were looking for.
So why bother flailing at all? Well, flailing up the leaves helps them to break down faster, putting nutrients back into the soil. It also acts as a mulch for our orchard floors. It helps us too when we go to push brush out of the orchards from pruning. If we try to push through all those leaves many times we just pull them out of the orchard with the branches. When the leaf pieces are smaller they tend to fall back down and stay on the ground. Good for us, good for the worms, good for the soil!
Stay warm out there!! Happy Friday!