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Tropical Fruit => Tropical Fruit Discussion => Topic started by: maverick99 on March 09, 2018, 07:07:52 PM

Title: Homstead / Redlands - Need help with mulch, hole digging for fruit trees
Post by: maverick99 on March 09, 2018, 07:07:52 PM
Hello dear friends and tropical fruit lovers,

Out of love for tropical fruits, I bought a three acre farm in Homstead area though I live in Minneapolis. This land has not been cleared for long time and full of cane grass up to 8 feet. I flew to Miami and started the project to clear the land and ran into lot of challenges every single day being as I am new to the area and don't really know anyone. I was happy to come across this forum .

In the 1 week I was in Homstead, I was able to clear the land, got two bore wells dug, setup irrigation with gas water pump and drip line and planted 30 trees of 11 varieties.  I struggled to dig the holes for the trees. This is one of the main challenges ahead for me. Started digging manually and quickly found out that I can't do much manually, rented a jack hammer in Home depot to break the lime rock but still not much of progress. Can you guys help me with below questions?

1. What is the best and quick way to dig holes? Next time I go to Homstead in April, I am planning to rent a backhoe or an escavator. Which one is better? I am planning to dig 3 feet deep 3 feet wide holes to give more space for the roots surrounded by lime rock. what is the norm here for holes size for fruit trees like mangos, sugar apple, coconut, jakfruit, guava,mulberry, Barboda cherry, jaboticaba, sapote?

As I dig these big holes, I am planning to bring some dirt soil and fill in these holes. Any places to pick the just cheap dirt soil?

2.Also, as i mentioned I had big tall grass. My bush hog broke when I start clearing the grass. So I ended up driving tractor over the grass and let it lay down. I see the grass turning brown and hoping that it will kill part of the grass and it will act as cover. I know this is not long term solution. I am just buying some time. I made holes in the middle of grass and planted 30 fruit tress and had mulch around trees. What are the cheaper option or places to pick mulch or get it delivered. I think I will need a lot of it. I am planning to stay organic , so no chemicals option to kill the grass for me. I am planning to cover with cardboard around trees and mulch on top to at least kill the grass around the trees.

Since I already lay down the grass, what is the option for me to kill the grass and stop it from coming again. If I use rototiller , does that help? or what about disc? or covering landscape cloth?

I would really appreciate your help and guidance to my questions above.

Thanks
Title: Re: Homstead / Redlands - Need help with mulch, hole digging for fruit trees
Post by: Cookie Monster on March 09, 2018, 07:31:00 PM
Wow, managing a 3 acre farm remotely is going to be a challenge. Things grow pretty quickly down here.

There are several forum members who have acreage in Homestead. Carlos (CTMIAMI) could be a good resource.

Tree trimmer mulch will keep the weeds down. But you'll need to leave enough space between trees for those big dump trucks to enter, and you will probably need to use a backhoe to move it around.

Leafy tree trimmer mulch will last between roughly a year in our weather. To cover 3 acres, you'd need a couple thousand cubic yards of mulch, which translates to a hundred or so dump truck loads if my math is right. That sounds like a monster effort.

If you rototill, you'll probably need to do it like once every couple of months during the warmer time of the year. Weeds sprout and grow pretty quickly. Seems like your best bet is to just mow it once every couple of weeks.

As far as digging goes, I think the guys down there use augers?
Title: Re: Homstead / Redlands - Need help with mulch, hole digging for fruit trees
Post by: maverick99 on March 09, 2018, 07:48:55 PM
Hey Jeff,

Thanks for your reply. A friend of mine who lives there is helping me tending to trees mainly with watering.

Where can i get the tree trimmer mulch or leafy tree mulch?

Sure, I will wait for answers from people in the area regarding holes digging.

Thanks
Title: Re: Homstead / Redlands - Need help with mulch, hole digging for fruit trees
Post by: Cookie Monster on March 09, 2018, 08:22:28 PM
You need to find tree trimmers in the area who will dump their mulch on your property. It's generally a cost savings to them, as they don't need to pay dump fees.

There is another guy on the forum here, FruitFreak, who is doing pretty much the same thing on a 4 acre plot. You might want to see how he hooked up with the trimmers.
Title: Re: Homstead / Redlands - Need help with mulch, hole digging for fruit trees
Post by: pineislander on March 09, 2018, 09:07:54 PM
Use the Search feature and keywords like Homestead, Miami, and Redlands to find members in the area. Read what they have had to say and try to PM them. I haven't seen Carlos here for a while. Here is a video of his place and his YT channel:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kWCmssCJRnY (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kWCmssCJRnY)
Title: Re: Homstead / Redlands - Need help with mulch, hole digging for fruit trees
Post by: sahai1 on March 10, 2018, 01:08:29 AM
I cut and rake, use a backpack honda wheewhacker with steel blade sharpened paper cutting sharp each use.  Steel pronged rake made from steel pipe and rebar welded together.  For areas overgrown I will cut and rake, sometimes twice a day in the same spot.  Helps to have 1 person rake, 1 person cut, trade off.  I burn the cut material and till in dirt to make potting soil.  Composting takes too much space, too airy for use, and need plastic and tarps that get eaten by the sun within a year.

For holes I dig out the original soil to make a surrounding mound, and fill the bottom with compost from my leech ditch, which till in coir, the septic waste breaks down the coir.  Also I use cow manure for the bottom.  Then I fill with potting soil, which is a mixture of 40% compost, 30% sand, 20% manure, and 10% clay.  At this rate the clay will bond to the compost and not ball up.  This mixture will not ball up, even when water is added.  It is springy, it will also not hold water, so may not be the best choice.  As the compost completely breaks down it becomes a rich loam, but while fresh the roots can push through it easily.

Then I place in the tree and mulch the entire area surrounding with coconut coir to about 2-3" thick.  Water daily.
Title: Re: Homstead / Redlands - Need help with mulch, hole digging for fruit trees
Post by: Vernmented on March 10, 2018, 11:23:31 AM
Most commercial groves in Homestead use a giant trencher. The go through with the spacing they plotted out and then cut across the opposite direction to make a grid pattern. After that they put the busted up limerock pieces back in the trenches and then plant the trees in the middle of the Xs they created. From that point on the trees are almost grown in a hydroponic like condition, normally with conventional fertilizers and ungodly amounts of foliar feeding, especially chelated iron. It really is a strange way to grow.

Was this property previously planted on? It might be trenched out for you already.

There are some organic growers there and some just swap out organic products for the conventional ones and then some actually build up the soil with mulch and compost and whatnot.

If you can spare 6 weeks this summer there is a graduate level course through UF that is amazing. Look up HOS 5555. It is offered every other year on the even numbered years. Dr. Jonathan Crane teaches it. It was such a good experience.

Title: Re: Homstead / Redlands - Need help with mulch, hole digging for fruit trees
Post by: pineislander on March 10, 2018, 07:39:18 PM
looks like it can be dug.
Last week I rented a Bobcat E50 excavator @ $845/week.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k_WZ-ufeOwQ (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k_WZ-ufeOwQ)
Title: Re: Homstead / Redlands - Need help with mulch, hole digging for fruit trees
Post by: murahilin on March 10, 2018, 08:04:30 PM
Most commercial groves in Homestead use a giant trencher. The go through with the spacing they plotted out and then cut across the opposite direction to make a grid pattern. After that they put the busted up limerock pieces back in the trenches and then plant the trees in the middle of the Xs they created. From that point on the trees are almost grown in a hydroponic like condition, normally with conventional fertilizers and ungodly amounts of foliar feeding, especially chelated iron. It really is a strange way to grow.

Was this property previously planted on? It might be trenched out for you already.

There are some organic growers there and some just swap out organic products for the conventional ones and then some actually build up the soil with mulch and compost and whatnot.

If you can spare 6 weeks this summer there is a graduate level course through UF that is amazing. Look up HOS 5555. It is offered every other year on the even numbered years. Dr. Jonathan Crane teaches it. It was such a good experience.

I second this. You should definitely take the class if possible. I took it 8 years ago and it was great. In addition to all of the in class learning, you get to visit a ton of local farms to see how they do things.
Title: Re: Homstead / Redlands - Need help with mulch, hole digging for fruit trees
Post by: maverick99 on March 11, 2018, 01:20:05 AM
Thanks everyone for throwing some light .

Vernemented, I will plan to take the course. Also , how wide and deep the trench will be ?

Hi Pineislander ,

Thatís exactly what I need . Are you in Homstead area too ? Where can I rent the esccavator?

If a rent a loader with backhoe , will that do the job same way ? The reason I said loader is that I can use front loader to dump dirt and compost in the soil . I never used this equipment before , pardon me for trivial questions.

Thanks
Title: Re: Homstead / Redlands - Need help with mulch, hole digging for fruit trees
Post by: OCchris1 on March 11, 2018, 03:12:59 AM
Holy S***, THAT'S the "soil" you're dealing with is SoFl? Holy crap. thats insane! I will never complain about my soil again...Amen. That video sent a chill down my spine. I have a feeling "all of Florida" isn't like that...correct? Have a good one. Chris
Title: Re: Homstead / Redlands - Need help with mulch, hole digging for fruit trees
Post by: Frog Valley Farm on March 11, 2018, 07:03:10 AM
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Title: Re: Homstead / Redlands - Need help with mulch, hole digging for fruit trees
Post by: fsanchez2002 on March 11, 2018, 08:11:45 AM
Hello dear friends and tropical fruit lovers,

Out of love for tropical fruits, I bought a three acre farm in Homstead area though I live in Minneapolis. This land has not been cleared for long time and full of cane grass up to 8 feet. I flew to Miami and started the project to clear the land and ran into lot of challenges every single day being as I am new to the area and don't really know anyone. I was happy to come across this forum .

In the 1 week I was in Homstead, I was able to clear the land, got two bore wells dug, setup irrigation with gas water pump and drip line and planted 30 trees of 11 varieties.  I struggled to dig the holes for the trees. This is one of the main challenges ahead for me. Started digging manually and quickly found out that I can't do much manually, rented a jack hammer in Home depot to break the lime rock but still not much of progress. Can you guys help me with below questions?

1. What is the best and quick way to dig holes? Next time I go to Homstead in April, I am planning to rent a backhoe or an escavator. Which one is better? I am planning to dig 3 feet deep 3 feet wide holes to give more space for the roots surrounded by lime rock. what is the norm here for holes size for fruit trees like mangos, sugar apple, coconut, jakfruit, guava,mulberry, Barboda cherry, jaboticaba, sapote?

As I dig these big holes, I am planning to bring some dirt soil and fill in these holes. Any places to pick the just cheap dirt soil?

2.Also, as i mentioned I had big tall grass. My bush hog broke when I start clearing the grass. So I ended up driving tractor over the grass and let it lay down. I see the grass turning brown and hoping that it will kill part of the grass and it will act as cover. I know this is not long term solution. I am just buying some time. I made holes in the middle of grass and planted 30 fruit tress and had mulch around trees. What are the cheaper option or places to pick mulch or get it delivered. I think I will need a lot of it. I am planning to stay organic , so no chemicals option to kill the grass for me. I am planning to cover with cardboard around trees and mulch on top to at least kill the grass around the trees.

Since I already lay down the grass, what is the option for me to kill the grass and stop it from coming again. If I use rototiller , does that help? or what about disc? or covering landscape cloth?

I would really appreciate your help and guidance to my questions above.

Thanks

My two cents from my personal experience having planted over 400 trees in HS: It can absolutely be done, but it will require a lot of work, machinery and it won't be cheap.
1. Average you have 12-18 inches of soil over  hard-solid limestone. Trenching is ok for vegetables but not for trees.Fruit-tree roots can't grow or attach well in these conditions. You will definitely need 3'x3' (or bigger) holes in the limestone or the trees won't grow or topple over. To make the holes you absolutely need a big backhoe. Assume 10-15 minutes of digging per hole.
2. After you dig the holes you will end up with a hole and a pile of hard white limestone rocks and minimal soil. You will need to truck at least 50% volume of soil to mix with limestone. 
3. This "soil" mixture is ultra-alkaline and very poor. This won't work for many trees. You will need to apply chelated iron and minors 3-4 times per year. Also fertilizers. Over time soil will improve as a result of time and biological agents.
4. IMO you will definitively need irrigation: summers are very wet, but Feb-May can be super-dry and hot. Irrigating small trees is a must until they're bigger. I would plan and put in irrigation according to where you'll be doing the holes. Need a machine to dig trenches for pipes in the hard rock. Need a well.
5. Weeds are probably the same as any other hot area. I use mulch 2X/year around the trees. about 25 cubic yards per acre, I get a 100yd truckload. Need tractor and labor to spread
Again, it can be done, but Hawaii would be 100% easier...
Title: Re: Homstead / Redlands - Need help with mulch, hole digging for fruit trees
Post by: pineislander on March 11, 2018, 08:32:50 AM
OMG, thereís no soil. Pineislander is that what you are dealing with? 


No, my place has nary a stone on it.

What is shown in the video is a quarry for the Oolitic limestone underlying much of Miami-Dade area. It is soft enough to dig with backhoe.
The Redlands and Homestead area are south of Miami and on the edge of the Everglades. It is a fine reminder of what is possible when it comes to soil building. The original settlers farmed pockets of red clay soil among the Oolite while others found ways to pulverize the rock and create soil.

Here is a write-up:
http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/tr004 (http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/tr004)

A 1961 description of rock plowing:
 http://fshs.org/proceedings-o/1961-vol-74/343-345%20(COLBURN).pdf (http://fshs.org/proceedings-o/1961-vol-74/343-345%20(COLBURN).pdf)

Video of rock plowing:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uEV2IehFzrs (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uEV2IehFzrs)

Powerpoint presentation by the Dr. Johnathan Crane mentioned before:
 https://www.sfwmd.gov/sites/default/files/documents/sdi_2015_10_15_ifas_crane_pres.pdf (https://www.sfwmd.gov/sites/default/files/documents/sdi_2015_10_15_ifas_crane_pres.pdf)

In this general guide, see slide # 18 where Dr. Crane shows digging multiple holes around the tree hole for better root dispersal and tree stability.
 https://conference.ifas.ufl.edu/gardener10/Presentations/Monday/pm/0230%20J%20Crane.pdf (https://conference.ifas.ufl.edu/gardener10/Presentations/Monday/pm/0230%20J%20Crane.pdf)
Title: Re: Homstead / Redlands - Need help with mulch, hole digging for fruit trees
Post by: zands on March 11, 2018, 09:34:16 AM
Just a thought ....But after trenching and digging down into the limestone. When you are are refilling these planting holes why not just put half the limestone back. Discard the rest of limestone. Cover the limestone with a plastic tarp or old 1/2 -1/4 inch plywood. Then heap 18 inches of trucked in topsoil onto tarp - plywood. So that you have 18 inches of good soil to work with and the tree roots are encouraged to spread outward, not down into the useless high alkaline limestone. This will delay your topsoil washing downward. This will delay, hopefully for years, the tree roots heading down. This way you also maximize use of your existing topsoil between fruit trees that you have not touched - disturbed with the backhoe due to tree roots seeking out laterally instead of downward.

This would involve digging out individual planting holes. Not criss cross trenching as described above.

The higher quality top soil you truck in the better the results. More expensive too. Perhaps reserve the best topsoil for certain fruit trees that need it more.

I read a good story on a Permiculture site. A woman was always disappointed by her lawn. So she excavated and removed all existing poor topsoil and trucked in expensive topsoil. Had it laid on 18" high. Her lawn grew so well that she never had to water it. Not even when it was the months long dry season. Probably was in the NW United States.
Title: Re: Homstead / Redlands - Need help with mulch, hole digging for fruit trees
Post by: shot on March 11, 2018, 09:43:00 AM
Homestead is not alone in needing rock plowing on the big island hawaii  south of hilo is all basaltic lava rock and they use big d9 cats to bust up that rock to make soil it's pretty amazing on sometimes rough terrain.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BiVIzM5mclo (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BiVIzM5mclo)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GPA3eosFEGU (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GPA3eosFEGU)

lots crazy folks in pahoa more than pineisland to much free drugs
Title: Re: Homstead / Redlands - Need help with mulch, hole digging for fruit trees
Post by: Cookie Monster on March 11, 2018, 12:20:39 PM
Yah, it's amazing that homestead is so productive given the soil (or lack thereof). I have a remotely similar situation where I'm at. The original plot here had about 3 inches of top soil on top of about a foot of crushed limestone. My situation is not as bad as that of Homestead, as there is no hard pan to prevent drainage, and I don't need heavy equipment to plant trees. However, it was an issue that I needed to deal with. Here's what I did:

On one side of my plot, I raised the soil level by about 9 inches of solid black "muck" -- the result of a decade worth of heavy mulching. That combined with the original 3 inches of top soil left me with roughly a full foot of top soil. As I've discussed on other threads, growing in heavy organic matter has a couple of drawbacks, namely super high phosphorous, too little calcium in relation to potassium (manifesting itself as fruit with low brix and soft flesh), and a worsening chlorosis due to OM locking up micronutrients. I've been able to rectify both issues by fertilizing with various calcium sources (literally tons of it) and by fertilizing with micronutrients. The nice thing is that the organic matter tends to retain what I put down. So, it needn't be an ongoing thing. OM acts like bio-char, in that it becomes a reserve of nutrients once "filled."

On the other side of my plot (purchased about 4 years ago), I didn't feel like waiting a decade nor spending thousand of hours worth of labor pushing mulch piles around. So, I trucked in loamy sand from Palm Beach County. That was one of the best decisions I made. It came out to about $12 per yard, and with 250 yards, I was able to raise the soil to nearly a full foot above the limestone. I've subsequently been mulching to add organic matter and encourage beneficials. Since it is still mostly sand, I've been fertilizing that plot more heavily than the "muck" lot.

The trees on both lots look phenomenal, in stark contrast to those of my neighbors. With a bit of sulfur, I've even been able to lower the pH. Even though it's essentially impossible to lower the pH on the limestone that lies beneath everything, I can keep the foot or so of topsoil at a pH below 7 with infrequent (eg, once per year) sulfur applications.

The TLDR version is -- if you can simply build up about a foot of topsoil, you should be able to grow successfully, even on top of solid limestone. The only thing you'd need to deal with would be the lack of drainage due to the hardpan below.
Title: Re: Homstead / Redlands - Need help with mulch, hole digging for fruit trees
Post by: zands on March 11, 2018, 02:19:29 PM
If I was running your project this is what I would do:
Title: Re: Homstead / Redlands - Need help with mulch, hole digging for fruit trees
Post by: Cookie Monster on March 11, 2018, 02:32:24 PM
Home Depot mulch would cost a fortune. To mulch to a depth of 1 foot over 3 acres would cost close to 6 figures using HD muilch.
Title: Re: Homstead / Redlands - Need help with mulch, hole digging for fruit trees
Post by: greenman62 on March 11, 2018, 02:35:01 PM
Have you looked into Hugelkultur?

i am in New Orleans, so i dont have the problems of limestone. its soft earth here
but it is low, and rainstorms can produce standing water for hours.

This is what i do...
for each tree, i dig a hole, much deeper than needed,
then i add small branches, wood chips, yard waste etc...
then plant the tree and refill the soil, usually it comes out a foot or so above grade.

the cardboard is an excellent idea. ive used it many times.

Also, if you can get other organic waste, its all good.
i get 100lb of coffee grounds from starbucks each week.
i suspect you could ask them to hold it, and visit a few of them every few days.
breweries are another option.
they use a lot of grain, and the waste is excellent for making compost or mulch.

Hugelkultur
https://www.permaculture.co.uk/articles/many-benefits-hugelkultur (https://www.permaculture.co.uk/articles/many-benefits-hugelkultur)
Title: Re: Homstead / Redlands - Need help with mulch, hole digging for fruit treesnmor
Post by: Frog Valley Farm on March 11, 2018, 03:05:19 PM
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Title: Re: Homstead / Redlands - Need help with mulch, hole digging for fruit trees
Post by: pineislander on March 11, 2018, 05:21:52 PM
This is the rockland strategy proposed by Dr. Crane. The intent of digging multiple holes for better stability makes sense to me.

(https://s17.postimg.cc/taitmkd8r/Hardpan_strategy.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/image/taitmkd8r/)

I have no idea what prices or sources for soil amendments are available in the Miami area, but I am able to source good quality OMRI certfied compost in SW Florida for $12/cubic yard. Last year I got 100 yards to jump start my project on a special sale for $9/cubic yard. They make it out of yard waste alone. It was good quality but wasn't high in nitrogen, it appeared to have been through very high temps and had NO weed seeds.
This was the company:
https://mwhorticulturerecycling.com/shop?olsPage=products

As suggested, design an easy entry/exit point close to the front of your property to receive bulk trucks. The best deliveries are done with 100 yard semi-trailers over 40 feet long, that is what compost comes in and what hurricane debris mulch comes in. If possible plan for the trucks to drive through so they don't have to back up. Tree trimmers often have the chipper trailering behind. They may need a place to unhook then back in to dump and re-hook. Making it easy for them will help encourage drop offs. Face to face is great you might also try making up a handout with map to your place and offer some drinks. Write it up in Spanish on one side English on the other.

Last suggestion is to get a small tractor with front end loader. Something like the 25 HP Mahindra. A 3 acre farm is too large to handle without some minimal machine like that. Don't waste money on the $10k motorized Gator Carts, if you want get a used electric golf cart from somebody headed into a nursing home.

Title: Re: Homstead / Redlands - Need help with mulch, hole digging for fruit treesnmor
Post by: zands on March 11, 2018, 05:35:37 PM
I would agree with everything but adding chemical fertilizers.  If your going to all the trouble adding all those allowable organic iinputs you should stay organic.  The organic market is growing.  it is extremely easy to make awesome organic fertilizers, there are numerous ways and you can probably make them in less time than it takes to go to the store to buy the chemicals.  Tropical trees respond incredibly well to organic farming practices.  Horse manure really is just good as a nitrogen source.  I have two horses and I have yet to add any horse manure to any of my trees here at this farm, but have started a biodynamic compost pile with it and plan on applying this fall to stay in compliance.  If you are doing it for money you might as well do what will pay you the most and that is the organic way.  Just to make it easier if you want to get certified USDA organic start taking daily notes of everything you do.  Also you could go beyond organic and be biodynamic like our farm.  They said they will sell all of our biodynamic grown fruit, a quality and b quality at a 30% premium over organic prices.  You do need to incorporate livestock into a biodynamic farming program which might be hard on 3 acres.  If you do biodynamic you can not feed GMO feeds or ad GMO inputs like hay.  Planting, adding inputs by the moon cycle and try to be a self contained system.  Seemed like an obvious move for me. A quick and easy mulch is hay rather than Home Depot bagged mulch.  Add Biochar and use EM1 has been incredibly helpful at breaking down organic matter fast pepping up the plants, and I just started applying.

Greenmans62 has the right idea.

You have a commercial situation. If you can get higher prices for biodynamic and organic fruit....If this makes for more profits then it makes sense to go Org and BioD. I see biodynamic wines. So if there is a market.....Then yes.

Yes you need livestock to go biodynamic. Or other people's livestock.
Title: Re: Homstead / Redlands - Need help with mulch, hole digging for fruit trees
Post by: KarenRei on March 11, 2018, 05:46:03 PM
I'll strongly recommend horse manure as an organic fertilizer / soil amendment.  While I don't use at at home (for obvious reasons), it's widely used in the countryside (I use it to plant trees on my land).  My neighbors have lots of horses, and wherever they spread the manure, the land turns from dead grass to a mass of brilliant green.  And it's not just about nutrients; when worked into mineral soils, it leaves them with an excellent texture.

Just a caution - if it's not sterilized or hot composted, it'll tend to have lots of weed seeds in it.  On the upside, I don't find horse manure to be a very "offensive" manure.

Obvious downside with manure vs. chemical fertilizers: your back won't thank you  ;)  I spread a single pile of manure by shovel and my muscles ache for several days.
Title: Re: Homstead / Redlands - Need help with mulch, hole digging for fruit trees
Post by: Frog Valley Farm on March 11, 2018, 07:20:05 PM
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Title: Re: Homstead / Redlands - Need help with mulch, hole digging for fruit trees
Post by: maverick99 on March 11, 2018, 09:38:13 PM
Thanks everyone for all the valuable suggestions. I am going to rent a back hoe and make 3' * 3' holes .

Federico , I will need your help with finding mulch and some guidance on making holes. I will send a message.

Thanks
Title: Re: Homstead / Redlands - Need help with mulch, hole digging for fruit trees
Post by: Cookie Monster on March 11, 2018, 10:18:11 PM
I don't know if that's the best strategy. The roots will pretty quickly grow beyond the 1.5' radius (probably within the first), and the feeder roots generally don't go more than a foot deep anyway. So, you'll end up with several hundred cubic yards of rocks to dispose of (roughly 3/4 yard per hole) with little gain.

The X cutting would be better, as it allows feeder roots space to grow (they can follow the X lines). And you don't gain anything by making the holes that deep. A foot to 18 inches would be plenty. Also, I think your best bet is to get soil depth by bringing in tree trimmer mulch.

When I asked Dr Jonathon Crane about this subject a few years ago, he recommended growing sunn hemp and tilling into the soil.

Thanks everyone for all the valuable suggestions. I am going to rent a back hoe and make 3' * 3' holes .

Federico , I will need your help with finding mulch and some guidance on making holes. I will send a message.

Thanks
Title: Re: Homstead / Redlands - Need help with mulch, hole digging for fruit trees
Post by: Vernmented on March 12, 2018, 09:19:14 AM
They have people that do this stuff as their job. I would just hire someone down there or contact TREC or other growers to possibly get some contact info. I wish my photos were better organized. I have video of the massive tractor rock plowing a veg field. For tree crops they always rip the cross pattern. I wouldn't dig a 3 x 3 hole unless you are trying to start a field grown bonsai business.

I don't know if that's the best strategy. The roots will pretty quickly grow beyond the 1.5' radius (probably within the first), and the feeder roots generally don't go more than a foot deep anyway. So, you'll end up with several hundred cubic yards of rocks to dispose of (roughly 3/4 yard per hole) with little gain.

The X cutting would be better, as it allows feeder roots space to grow (they can follow the X lines). And you don't gain anything by making the holes that deep. A foot to 18 inches would be plenty. Also, I think your best bet is to get soil depth by bringing in tree trimmer mulch.

When I asked Dr Jonathon Crane about this subject a few years ago, he recommended growing sunn hemp and tilling into the soil.

Thanks everyone for all the valuable suggestions. I am going to rent a back hoe and make 3' * 3' holes .

Federico , I will need your help with finding mulch and some guidance on making holes. I will send a message.

Thanks
Title: Re: Homstead / Redlands - Need help with mulch, hole digging for fruit trees
Post by: FruitFreak on March 12, 2018, 09:25:52 AM
OMG, thereís no soil.  I am so glad that has not been our experience.  Dealing with soil settling in the trenches would also be a major obstacle.  I would have cried and just moved to Hawaii.

Pineislander is that what you are dealing with?  The 7-10 hours a day I spend on my young 700 tree grove is just on maintenance like foliar spraying, weeding and mowing, adding other various inputs.  I planted by myself all of our trees, about 50 trees per day (1400 total), with a shovel.  While we were in the planting stage.  Unfortunately getting USDA organic trees is impossible so we cannot plant anything  conventional during this final stretch at acquiring our certification by thee end of the year.

Hi Eric.  Common nursery stock can be considered "Organic" after one year.  Why are you waiting, just curious? 
Title: Re: Homstead / Redlands - Need help with mulch, hole digging for fruit trees
Post by: zands on March 12, 2018, 10:51:27 AM
Thanks everyone for all the valuable suggestions. I am going to rent a back hoe and make 3' * 3' holes .
Federico , I will need your help with finding mulch and some guidance on making holes. I will send a message.
Thanks

I would diversify. I would dig 3 x3 ft or wider (5ft wide more better) planting holes for some trees. AND the criss cross X pattern of trenching for some trees. Since the criss cross X pattern is how many are doing it where you are then it must have merit.

See if you can find and visit an orchard that has been done and dug out in criss cross X pattern. A 5-10 minute talk w owner might really clarify this for you. Anyone know someone he can check out ..his criss cross dug out fruit orchard
Title: Re: Homstead / Redlands - Need help with mulch, hole digging for fruit trees
Post by: maverick99 on March 12, 2018, 01:07:54 PM
Hi Jeff,

I like the cris cross idea and I can see the roots can spread in all directions. what should be the depth of this trench? How about a 2 feet deep hole at X and 1.5 ' deep * 5 ft wide  trench in all 4 directions. Can I manage this with renting a back hoe? I don't want to rent a trencher and trying to keep low on rental expenses.

At the moment I am planning on having Sugar apple , Jack fruit trees.

What about coconut trees? I am planning to put these around the farm and what should be the depth and width of the hole for coconut trees? I also have some mango trees.

Please let me know if certain type of trees need bigger and wider holes.
Title: Re: Homstead / Redlands - Need help with mulch, hole digging for fruit trees
Post by: Cookie Monster on March 12, 2018, 02:01:04 PM
Since I don't grow in that area, I don't have good info on specifics. I suggest you call Dr Jonathon Crane from TREC. He has given me good advice on my own growing struggles, and he works with growers in your specific area. He is also the instructor for the HOS 5555 course. I've found him to be fairly accessible and willing to give advice. If you can't find his telephone online, message me, and I'll send it to you via a private message.

Dr Crane did strongly suggest the use of Sunn Hemp as well as irrigation for freezes (Homestead gets freezing temps every couple of winters, and irrigation is one of the tools they use to mitigate damage -- basically coating the trees with ice to protect them).

Hi Jeff,

I like the cris cross idea and I can see the roots can spread in all directions. what should be the depth of this trench? How about a 2 feet deep hole at X and 1.5 ' deep * 5 ft wide  trench in all 4 directions. Can I manage this with renting a back hoe? I don't want to rent a trencher and trying to keep low on rental expenses.

At the moment I am planning on having Sugar apple , Jack fruit trees.

What about coconut trees? I am planning to put these around the farm and what should be the depth and width of the hole for coconut trees? I also have some mango trees.

Please let me know if certain type of trees need bigger and wider holes.
Title: Re: Homstead / Redlands - Need help with mulch, hole digging for fruit trees
Post by: Frog Valley Farm on March 12, 2018, 02:16:51 PM
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