Growing Profitable Apple Orchards in Replant Sites: An Interdisciplinary Team Approach in Washington State

in HortTechnology
Authors:
Mike Willett Area Tree Fruit Agent, Yakima County Cooperative Extension, 128 N. 2nd St., Yakima, WA 98901-2631.

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T.J. Smith Area Tree Fruit Agent, Chelan County Cooperative Extension, 400 Washington St., Wenatchee, WA 98801-2855.

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A.B. Peterson Area Tree Fruit Agent, Yakima County Cooperative Extension, 128 N. 2nd St., Yakima, WA 98901-2631.

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H. Hinman Extension Agricultural Economist, Department of Agricultural Economics, Washington State University, Pullman, WA 99164-6210.

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R.G. Stevens Extension Soil Scientist and Extension Irrigation Engineer, respectively, Irrigated Agriculture Research and Extension Center, Rt. 2, Box 2953-A, Prosser, WA 99350-9687.

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T. Ley Extension Soil Scientist and Extension Irrigation Engineer, respectively, Irrigated Agriculture Research and Extension Center, Rt. 2, Box 2953-A, Prosser, WA 99350-9687.

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P. Tvergyak Area Tree Fruit Agent, Chelan County Cooperative Extension, 400 Washington St., Wenatchee, WA 98801-2855.

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K.M. Williams Extension Horticulturist, Tree Fruit Research and Extension Center, 1100 N. Western Avenue, Wenatchee, WA 98801.

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K.M. Maib Area Tree Fruit Agent, Grant County Cooperative Extension, Courthouse, P.O. Box 37, Ephrata, WA 98823.

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J.W. Watson Area Tree Fruit Agent, Beaten County Cooperative Extension, 1121 Dudley Avenue, Prosser, WA 99350.

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In the mid-1980s, a statewide educational program was initiated to help improve productivity in replanted apple orchards. This effort began with a study of the background of the problem in Washington and an assessment of the problems growers faced when replanting orchards. An array of potential limiting factors were identified-most important, specific apple replant disease (SARD)-but also low soil pH, poor irrigation practices, arsenic (As) spray residues in the soil, soil compaction, nematodes, nutrient deficiencies, and selection of the appropriate orchard system. The educational program was delivered using a variety of methods to reach audience members with different learning styles and to provide various levels of technical information, focusing on ways to correct all limiting factors in replant situations. Results have been: Acceptance of soil fumigation as a management tool: increased recognition of soil physical, chemical, and moisture problems; reduced reliance on seedling rootstock, and an increase in the use of dwarfing, precocious understocks; and better apple tree growth and production in old apple orchard soils.

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