We had a meeting yesterday with a couple of fine gents who had a lot of questions about their new orchard.
The topic of gravel came up.
We chuckled a bit, because gravel is one of those hidden snafoos waiting to be discovered by the novice hazelnut farmer.
In the Willamette Valley, a lot of the good cropland that’s excellent for growing hazelnut orchards is silt and riverland. That means a lot of gravel is mixed in.
Aside from ending up in the harvest box, gravel can be hazardous when mowing. Windows near orchards, passers by or even tractor operators can all be subject to being struck by gravel that has been picked up and rifled by mower teeth.
To minimize gravel damage, first thing’s first: Don’t introduce more! No gravel driveways close by, or rows in your orchard. If rock is present, safety goggles and head protection should be used while mowing the orchard floor.