We plough and cultivate the ground providing a flat and level surface so that inter row machinery can be used. The following day we plant the British nursery transplants, these are 4 years old before they reach us.
By now our trees have grown on average about an inch in height.We try to keep the trees as weed free as possible, allowing the roots to establish. A soil analysis is taken to ascertain the type and level of fertilisation needed.
As per year two we try to keep competition for moisture and nutrients as low as possible so that the trees can thrive. In order to produce a healthy dense tree we will start applying fertiliser to encourage extra bud production. By now these trees will be becoming home to various insects, hopefully our beneficial insects like lady birds will be keeping the pest populations to a minimum.
They are now resembling a Christmas tree, although only about three – four foot. During this year we will basal prune them which involves removing the first 8″ of branches. This will provide excellent airflow through the crop and make harvesting a great deal easier. Following on from this they receive their first haircut, giving the blue print to a perfect shape in a few years to come.
Our trees our now be close to the five foot mark and growing vigorously. In order to keep a uniformed shape we must now apply a growth hormone to slow them down, otherwise they will become long and straggly! Small birds will have now started to nest in the trees, in order to prevent damage to the tops, we place bird perches on the highest point allowing them to watch their nests without damaging our trees! Weed control and pruning is repeated
Approximately 10% will have reached the golden mark of six foot, and we will cut these this year and sell them. For all the rest we will repeat all the work in year five.
By now 50% will be at the six foot level and ready for harvest. We will repeat all steps in year five then mark all trees we aim to sell this year. The majority of harvesting is now aided by guillotine like machines, saving bad backs from being doubled over all day with a chainsaw!
All trees left will have sufficient space to grow into larger specimen trees for towns, pubs and hotels etc