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Robert D. Belding, Bradley A. Majek, Gail R.W. Lokaj, Jeffrey Hammerstedt and Albert O. Ayeni

Peach (Prunus persica) trees were established and grown from 1996 to 1999 at the Rutgers Agricultural Research and Extension Center, Bridgeton, N.J., to compare performance under four methods of orchard floor preparation: flat no-till, flat cultivated, mound unmulched, and mound mulched orchard floors. The experimental site was flat and the soil was a well-drained Aura gravelly sandy loam (61% sand, 31% silt, 8% clay) with a pH of 6.5, cation exchange capacity 5.7, and organic matter content of 2.0%. Soil moisture holding and gas exchange capacity determine the efficacy of mounding in peach orchards. Under these conditions, the method of orchard floor preparation had no effect on peach tree trunk cross sectional area (TCSA), fruit number per tree, fruit size, and yield. Thus, without irrigation, there was no advantage to the early performance of peach trees associated with orchard floor mounding on Aura gravelly sandy loam when situated on a flat terrain.