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Orchard Floor Management – Organic Intensive Workshop

October 11, 2016 @ 8:30 am - 4:30 pm

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This event is sold out. To join the waiting list contact Tianna DuPont or (509) 663-8181

Managing weeds, rodents, and nutrients can be a challenge for organic tree fruit production. Join us for the first annual organic tree fruit intensive workshop hosted by WSU Extension on October 11, 2016 in Wenatchee, WA. Intensive workshops include hands-on demonstration and facilitated discussion to help deepen your understanding of important topics.

Expert speakers include: Chuck Ingels, University of California Extension; David Granatstein, WSU Extension, Tom Forge, Agri Food Canada; and experienced organic farmers.

Registration is required and there is a registration fee. Register online here or call WSU Tree Fruit Station (509) 663-8181 or ticketing 24/7 at (800) 838-3006 option 2.

Registration fees are $75 which includes lunch, a notebook, intensive lecture, demonstration, discussion and materials.

This will be a 2-part workshop with the first part occurring at the Confluence Technology Center, and the second part occurring at the WSU Sunrise Orchard for on-farm hands-on demonstrations.

Thank you to our sponsors Wilson Orchard Vineyard Supply and NCW Fieldmens Association


8:30 am           Organic Weed and Nitrogen Management Chuck Ingels, University of California

  • Organic fertilizers
  • Weed management before planting
  • Pluses and minuses to in row weed management including tillage, organic herbicides, mulches, synthetic mulches, flaming and combinations.

9:15 am           Suitable Orchard Floor Management Strategies that Augment Soil Organic Matter and Maintain Tree Performance  Tom Forge, Agri-Food Canada

  • Does OM matter and if so how to improve it
  • Effects on tree growth and yield
  • Water and nutrient buffering
  • Weed management
  • Trunk and surface root damage
  • Microbial indicators

10:00               Break

10:15 am         What Works – Strategies for Effective Organic Orchard Floor Management

                        David Granatstein, Washington State University                    

11:00 am         Orchard Floor Case Studies

Successful organic orchardists will share their systems and discuss pluses and minuses as well as how to make a system fit together.

Noon               Lunch

                        Catered lunch included for participants available on-site.

1:00 pm           Travel to orchard

1:30 – 4:30      On-farm hands-on demonstration

We will break up into three groups of 15 people and rotate through on-farm demonstrations. Be ready to discuss and see for yourself soil quality and weed management in action.

Demo A: Water retention, infiltration, water holding capacity and soil temperature. Soil temperature and moisture vary under different orchard floor management regimes. Roots do not thrive in hot soil. Adequate but not excessive soil moisture is important to reduce tree stress. Facilitator David Granatstein, WSU.

Demo B: Organic Matter and Active Carbon. Organic matter includes all living, dead and very dead material in the soil. This small fraction feeds soil microbes and provides nutrient and water buffering. We will demonstrate measurements of two fractions of organic matter active carbon and particulate organic matter. Join a discussion of the relationship between OM and microbes and how it helps buffer plant stress. Facilitators Tianna DuPont, WSU; Tom Forge, Agri Food Canada.

Demo C: Soil Biota. The living creatures in soil help suppress soil borne diseases and pests and cycle nutrients. We will have insects, nematodes, and micro-arthropods extracted from the soil at farms with different management for you to see. We will show you how to measure soil aggregates and discuss how microbes help form soil structure. Facilitators Tianna DuPont, WSU; Tom Forge, Agri Food Canada.

Demo D: Weeds, Nutrients and Critters. Weed, nutrient and rodent management are highly interactive. We will look at four different weed management strategies which have been implemented on-site and discuss case studies from commercial operations. Be ready to discuss the pluses, minuses and costs you have seen to different systems. Facilitator Chuck Ingels, University of California.

Demo E: Roots. Fruit tree root growth activity and distribution interact with your tree’s ability to produce bountiful fruit. We will show how researchers measure root activity and demonstrate the results of recent root research. Dr. Lee Kalcsits.

About the presenters

Chuck Ingels, University of California

University of California Extension since 1996, Ingels specializes in tree crops, grapes and strawberries, and environmental horticulture. Areas of research and extension focus include IPM, evaluation of sustainable products and practices, water conservation and deficit irrigation, home orchards and vineyards, and tree training, pruning, and grafting.

Tom Forge, Agri-Food Canada

Forge is a Research Soil Ecologist. The focus of his research includes orchard soil health management; faunal indicators of soil health; and the ecology and management of plant-parasitic nematodes.

David Granatstein, WSU Extension

Granatstein is a Sustainable Agriculture Extension Specialist. His work currently focuses on organic cropping research, orchard floor management, and soil quality.

Lee Kalcsits, WSU Dept. of Horticulture

Kalcsits is an Assistant Professor in Tree Fruit Physiology. His focus is on developing new tools for identifying the nutritional status of fruit trees; advancing the understanding of how environment affects fruit tree physiology, growth and development; and creating management strategies to mitigate physiological problems that are associated with abiotic stress in fruit trees.

Tianna DuPont, WSU Extension

DuPont is a Tree Fruit Extension Specialist with WSU. Her work focuses on sustainable pest and disease management, soil quality, organic production, and next generation producers.


October 11, 2016
8:30 am - 4:30 pm


WSU Extension – Tianna DuPont
(509) 293-8758


Confluence Technology Center
285 Technology Center Way
Wenatchee, WA 98801
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Washington State University