Wednesday, January 8, 2014


She is pretty handy with that saw. 
The lady wielding the Husqvarna saw in the picture is Dianne.  I should do a whole blog post just on her because most of the time it seems as if she is the one doing all the real "Farm" work at Butternut Farm.  Some of the tasks you might find her doing include mowing, plowing, chopping brush, seeding fields, occasionally some R+R (rocks and roots), and in the case of today's topic - orchard removal.
      Renewal I believe is the root of sound Horticulture.  Pruning a fruit tree is all about removing the older branch to allow a younger more fruitful branch to take its place.   Orchard removal is kinda like pruning the farm.  As you can see here in this picture Dianne is busy removing and older portion of our orchard to make room for a new planting of strawberries or maybe a more efficient orchard with current varieties of favor.  Now from this tree's perspective it may not make a lot of sense because this was a healthy productive tree that Dianne is cutting down.  However, from the whole farm management perspective removing this older portion of the orchard to make way for other crops makes a lot of sense.

Neatly done Dianne!  A row of Plums just cut down.

    I always like this kind of work because we get to roll up our sleeves, get a bit sweaty,  and by the end of the day we can see where we have been.  Typically there is some equipment involved which always makes it more entertaining.  In this case the before mentioned chain saw is used to cut the trees up.  Then we like to rent a chipper.  A big chipper to deal with all that brush.  I hate it when a piece of equipment slows down the pace of work so we are sure to get the hungry type of chipper that two people can't seem to feed fast enough.  Traditionally farmers have always just burned the brush that is created from orchard removal.  However after getting on the wrong side of the local Fire Dept a about 5 years ago I decided that the better way to handle the mess was to use a chipper.  And in hindsight chipping is the more sustainable approach because chips are simply spread over the field after the stumps are removed.  These chips will slowly decompose and supply valuable organic matter to feed the micro-organisms in our healthy soils here at Butternut Farm.
We feed it limbs and branches up to 8 inches in diameter.  This chipper turns an ugly field of brush into an easy to manage pile of chips.

    For those of you whom are regulars for the various pick your own seasons here at Butternut Farm you have grown accustomed to seeing changes in the farm every year.  This coming season of 2014 will be no different.  The 60 peach, 20 plum, and 170 apple trees which were removed this past November of 2013 should be noticeable in the farms landscape.  Hopefully however if I have done my job properly you will not notice it in the farm's supply of fresh ready to pick fruit because other trees have already be planted to replace this production.