Submitted to: Almond Industry Conference Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/15/2004
Publication Date: 11/1/2004
Citation: Holtz, B., Mckenry, M., Caesar, T., Caesar, A.J. 2004. Benefits of Chipping Almond Brush. 32nd Almond Industry Conference Proceedings. 32:236-241. Interpretive Summary: While placing almond prunings that had been run through a chipping machine-a measure that seeks to aid in the reduction of air pollution by thus eliminating burning of the prunings-there were both problems of increased debris levels in the harvested almonds and the benefits of enhanced soil structure. The soil structure enhancement could be related to an increased level of basidiomycete biomass in soil.
Technical Abstract: The wood chipping of almond (Prunus dulcis) prunings could provide an alternative to burning that would not contribute to air pollution and would add valuable organic matter to soils. The success of wood chipping depends on whether the wood chips interfere with harvest or deplete the soil of critical nutrients necessary for tree growth. An average of 1,247 pounds per acre of wet weight prunings were pruned in our orchard trial in the fall of 2003. Harvest windrows in the wood-chipped treatments had significantly more (0.385 kg wood/22 ft row) wood debris than the windrows of treatments without wood chips (0.100 kg of wood/22 ft row). Ten-pound bulk in-shell almond samples taken from harvest carts harvested from both the wood-chipped and non wood-chipped treatments were analyzed by the USDA with respect to foreign material consisting of wood debris. The wood-chipped treatments averaged 0.755% wood debris and were significantly greater than non wood-chipped treatments that averaged only 0.0225% wood debris. The addition of wood chips to almond orchard soils also enhanced the water infiltration rate. Significantly more soil aggregating basidiomycete fungi in water stable aggregates were found in wood chipped soils when compared to non wood-chipped soils.