Over the winter months many smallholders and landowners take the opportunity to plant or improve an orchard while trees are dormant. Similarly, bare rooted vines need planting before the growing season, ideally between October and March, and those already in situ will now be waking up.
Now that we can officially say that “spring has sprung”, fruit trees and vines are starting to put on some growth. That may lead you to thinking about how to maintain your orchards and vineyards as they become established. In this blog post we provide some advice on the type of farm equipment that will help your orchards and vineyards thrive.
Farm Machinery For A Tight Spot
One of the challenges of working an orchard or vineyard is access. There may be plenty of room between your fruit trees or vines to wheel a wheelbarrow, but to drive a tractor up and down could be a bit tight.
If you’ve got a sizable orchard or vineyard, you won’t want to be mowing grass or preparing soil by hand; instead you’ll want some horsepower (not the four legged variety) to get jobs done quickly and efficiently. That’s where a sub compact tractor can be life changing! These are small enough to get in between your trees and down your rows, but also have enough power to run a range of farm machinery.
Of course, if you only need a sub compact tractor for your orchard or vineyard, it might seem like an expensive item for just one job. However, you may be surprised how useful they can be for a whole host of jobs around your property, especially when you need something light and small to get in and out of tight spots.
Also, you can buy used sub compact tractors at very reasonable prices so it’s worth exploring this option. It will certainly make light work of jobs such as mowing, rotovating, and transporting your fruit.
Essential Farm Implements For Orchards And Vineyards
Having sorted out power, what implements will you need to get a good crop from your fruit trees and vines?
As with any crops, weeds and grasses are competition for water and nutrients so need to be kept down. Traditionally most orchards are planted in grass and this offers opportunities for grazing once your fruit trees are established. However, around each tree you will want to keep grass short so that it doesn’t affect growth, and generally for easy access your grass will need to be mowed throughout the season.
A useful investment is a verge mower, which is just small enough to get between trees in an orchard. It can also be used behind the tractor like a traditional flail mower for cutting the grass between each row – this will keep nettles, scrub and other weeds from getting a foothold in your orchard.
If you don’t need a verge mower however, a compact flail mower is ideal for maintaining the rows between your vines and is highly manoeuvrable too.
Rotovating is also something you may want to do on an annual basis to improve the soil around your trees and vines, and to prepare ground for planting if you need to replace stock. Narrow rotary tillers are available that are ideal for vineyards and orchards.
Finally, you should also consider fencing. Young saplings and vines are popular with deer and rabbits so to give your orchard or vineyard the best chance of success you may want to keep them out. Conversely, if you plan to allow livestock to graze in your orchard, or clean up the windfalls in the autumn months, you will need to fence off the area to keep them in.
A hole borer is a useful tool for any smallholder or landowner with fences to maintain, and these can be powered off a sub compact tractor as well as larger machines.
Got a question? As always if you have any questions about farm implements and how to choose the right machinery for your plot, please get in touch. Call 01420 520510 or email email@example.com