Late autumn is the ideal time to apply biological inoculants and stimulants to tree crops to promote the rapid breakdown of leaf litter, crop trash and prunings whilst also reducing the opportunity for disease overwintering.
Time to apply soil-based biological treatments
Generally between autumn and spring is the longest time where there are no herbicide applications, giving any inoculant or biological product an opportunity to achieve its purpose without interference.
Having an established colony of beneficial bacteria and fungi in the rhizosphere gives the best opportunity for healthy tree development in early spring—which is the critical period of development for maximum fruit quality.
Improve leaf litter breakdown
Traditionally leaf breakdown has been accelerated using a nitrogen source such as urea.
The problem with this is that the breakdown process consumes carbon and the decomposed leaf matter, therefore, has the potential to provide very little benefit to the soil life.
Using a good quality metabolite–based activator and supplementing it with a microbial food source such as fish or kelp extracts, have been proven to break down leaf matter faster and more completely and stimulate the biology in the rhizosphere to colonise new root growth.
Adding some soluble calcium and boron with this application will also help stimulate a strong and healthy bud break and fruit set.
Soil-based biological treatments should be sprayed onto the soil along the tree line and onto the lower part of the trunk.
At least 300L of water per hectare should be used to ensure maximum penetration.
Benefits of using biological soil stimulants in tree crops:
Acts as an organic catalyst
Encourages soil micro-organisms
Increases root respiration and formation
Increases plant membrane permeability
Increases nutrient translocation.
Increases soil cation exchange capacity
Improves buffering capacity
Rich in organic and mineral substances
Retains water-soluble fertilisers in the soil.
Improves friability of soil
Improves soil aeration
Increases water holding capacity
Reduces soil erosion.
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Andrew Smith 0427 257 339
Jotham Grace 0437 066 147
See this article in Tree Fruit May 2019