COS Helping to Harvest State’s Chestnuts
Chestnut Orchard Solutions has been contracted by several chestnut orchardists across the lower peninsula in Michigan to help harvest chestnuts. For the second year, COS will choose between hand or machine harvesting based on time of nut drop, weather conditions, size of orchard, age of trees and potential of yield. It looks as if nuts will begin dropping in the southern region of the state around October 3. Of course, some cultivars like ‘Labor Day’ have already dropped at this time in many of the southern and central counties of the state. As chestnuts are selling from $1.50 to $2.80 in the wholesale market, many growers are finding that they are more than willing to pick up the nuts. This is the final aspect of nut farming. After working hard to establish the orchards and care for the orchards, harvesting and marketing are the last two steps to provide that feeling of accomplishment, to provide a healthy food for consumers and extra cash for the farm and family.
Congratulations To Our Clients Who Purchased Trees!
The COS team wishes good luck and good growing to our COS clients who received trees and started or expanded their chestnut orchards in 2016. The COS team reminds you that we are here to help you through the process of making good decisions based on best practice management. We can also physically work with your orchard to help you achieve your goals. COS clients who would normally be worried about rain are beginning to wonder it the rain will stop. Don’t over water as there has been plenty of water for this time of year. Prepare for next year and make sure the trees don’t suffer in an extended, hot, dry summer next year. Our clients should never hesitate to email or call to get the most up-to-date information on successful tree establishment. Our goal is to help you establish a successful orchard.
Remember, the COS philosophy is that the most important years for a successful orchard are the early years. Therefore, remember, to follow these minimum guidelines for a successful planting and orchard:
- Keep the young trees staked.
- Trees survive best when planted into well drained sandy or clay loam soils.
- pH of the soil should be below and kept below 6.2.
- Use no fertilizer at planting time.
- Have a plan to repel deer.
- Add mouse guards.
- Paint trees to the top with 50% white latex (diluted with water) to prevent sun scald.
Remember, these are the minimum guidelines. We remind you that we can provide more guidelines for successful planting, orchard management, harvesting, and/or act as consultants for all aspects of chestnut orchard and tree care when you call us for help.
This orchard plan was laid out by working with the basic plan suggested by Michigan State University chestnut researchers, COS team members and the grower.
COS team members Josh Springer planting trees for a COS client in southwest Michigan in mid-September.
Trees recently planted in a new orchard in a northern lower peninsula location.
FKN Chestnut Distribution Better Organized in 2016
Most of those picking up trees at the MSU Clarksville Research Center would agree that the experience was still not perfect but better organized and much faster than in 2015 even though more than twice as many trees (greater than 4,000 trees) were distributed. By Saturday evening 90 percent of the trees had found their owners and were being taken to their new homes in Michigan. Two semi trucks and trailers pulled into Clarksville on Thursday, September 15 and the trees were off-loaded into organized groups of chaos. Cultivars representing ‘Labor Day’, ‘Colossal’, ‘Bouche de Betizac’, ‘Precoce Migoule’, ‘Marsol’, ‘Marigoule’, ‘Maraval’, ‘Benton Harbor’, ‘Peach’, ‘Gideon’, ‘Amy’, ‘Qing’, ‘Eaton’ and ‘Sleeping Giant’ were pooled together then quickly moved into place ready for the pick up by 35 different growers. Many of the trees hitched a ride with COS trucks that took them to waiting growers representing farms in southern, central, and northern Michigan. On Friday, Sept. 16th, growers began arriving and loading their trees, checking their lists and driving home with new trees in tow. A COS planting guide was attached to each order.
Two semi trucks loaded with Forrest Keeling Nursery chestnut trees arrived at the MSU Clarksville Research Center for distribution by Chestnut Orchard Solutions on September 15.
COS team mates Drs. Carmen Medina and Josh Springer confer regarding Forrest Keeling Nursery orders being delivered to farms around the state.
COS team member, Dennis Fulbright and visiting Turkish student Ayse Akyuz tour the various Forrest Keeling Nursery trees prepared for pick up by Chestnut Orchard Solutions.
COS tree distribution organizer, Dr. Carmen Medina-Mora, customer Mark, and Turkish students working on chestnut tissue culture, Burak and Ayse Akyuz help load Mark’s truck.
Once distribution was over, COS team members began to plant or help plant trees at various farms across the peninsula. On Monday COS was planting in southwest Michigan with more plantings planned for the next two weeks.