I've been fascinated by the nut trees - mostly almond or walnut around here, and with how they are grown. I'm attracted to the textures, colors, and shapes found in the orchards, or nut ranches, as I've seen them named on some of the signs.
|I think this area is being prepared for planting trees|
|Soil prepared for tree planting|
|New babies planted about a month ago. They all will be irrigated.|
|Another young orchard|
The trees get trimmed each fall. I think these workers are raking up the pruned branches.
|Workers tending trees|
|Nut trees almost to the mountains|
|Trees in the fall|
Almond trees are totally dependent on pollination by bees. I have been seeing eighteen-wheeler flatbed trucks hauling hives of bees and then seeing rows of hives of bees by each almond orchard in readiness for the flowering season.
|These trees looked almost spooky just before sunset|
I thought that this picture represented what happened to nut trees when they stopped being productive. But I learned that this is probably the end of an almond orchard. Almond trees have shallow roots and many of them have been blown down by high winds. And the colony collapse disorder of bees has severely decimated the numbers of bees available for renting to the orchard growers to fertilize the almonds which depend totally on bees for pollination.
This has caused the cost of renting hives of bees to go way up and caused the growers to be afraid that they cannot get bees to pollinate their trees. So the local nut ranchers have been taking out their almond trees and replacing them with walnut trees. The walnut trees have to be grafted to a rootstock that resists walnut blight, a fungus disease caused by several species of fungus.You can see the different stock at the base of the walnut trees.