University of Vermont

UVM Fruit

Tree Fruit: Practical Guide for Organic Apple Production

Organic Soil Health & Ground Cover Management

Soil Health - Ground Cover Management

Soil Health

The National Organic Program requires certified organic producers to select and implement tillage and cultivation practices that maintain or improve the physical, chemical, and biological condition of soil and minimize soil erosion. The producer must manage crop nutrients and soil fertility through rotations, cover crops, and the application of plant and animal materials. The producer must manage plant and animal materials to maintain or improve soil organic matter content in a manner that does not contribute to contamination of crops, soil, or water by plant nutrients, pathogenic organisms, heavy metals, or residues of prohibited substances. (NOP)

Soil health should be monitored with soil sampling to determine the proper soil amendments and practices necessary for each specific orchard (see Practical Guide Organic Horticulture page for more information).

For more information:

Ground Cover Management

Young apple trees or trees on dwarfing rootstocks cannot out compete other vegetation for water and nutrients therefore, it is necessary to maintain a weed-free zone around the trunk for at least part of the growing season to ensure adequate tree growth and fruit yields. Commonly in organic apple production, mechanical cultivation is used to create the weed-free strip followed by mulch applications to maintain the weed-free strip. (See Practical Guide Organic IPM page for more information on weed management).

For more information:

Last modified April 30 2014 12:22 PM