Rethinking chill hours for California Pistachios and Almonds orchards is a must to counter climate changes. We know that fewer increase chill hours mean less yield or worse a mix of flowering times between the cross pollinators, which causes a complete loss of the crop.
Research in this area has always measured chill hours at the surface. But why? The trees are dormant as they come back from their deep sleep, it is the roots that start to wake up first, to feed the hungry hibernating tree. What wakes up the tree? Is it the warm ambient surface temperature or is it the warming of the soil? Being a native Californian, warm days in the middle of winter are common. I would say it is the warming of the soil that wakes up the trees.
The problem is that the orchards with fruit and nut trees need their dormancy. So It is a period where the orchard trees sleep. Therefore without sleep, yields are lower or blooms are out of sync with cross pollinators. In California, we have great benefits of warm beautiful winter days, low atmospheric water vapor, and warm winter soil to grow crops around the year. But these are all counterproductive for California orchard trees. Because the current irrigation practices of drip and micro sprayers encourage shallow roots near the surface. In case the new theory is that the warm winter soil wakes up the tree’s roots from their dormancy. Because they are so close to the surface.
The Solution of Increase Chill Hours
We believe the solution is deeper roots away from the winter heat. So they stay dormant. The hypothesis is that deep roots will shield the tree from the warm winter soil and increase the chill hours based on the soil temperature in the root zone and not up at the tree buds. So That is the difference with current growing practices, where we measure chill hours from the surface up to the fruiting buds and not at the roots.
We know that the tree roots go through a dormancy, that is why new bare root trees can be shipped and planted in wintertime. So, the question is: can we keep tree roots in a dormant state at the depths of 3 to 5 feet?
There are other benefits of deep-rooted trees:
- Trees with deep roots have less chance of blow over.
- Deep tree roots are shield from herbicides sprays.
- Deep-rooted trees protect the orchard from extreme heat days.
- Deep roots have greater access to soil moisture volumes.
Virtual Water Table
How do we get tree roots to go deep? One of the solutions is by creating a virtual water table five feet below the surface so that the trees feed on the moisture plume created above the virtual water table. This moisture plume is created underneath the middle of the service road. In other words, it is three feet below the surface and is 14 feet wide. So The moisture plume is always available, so the trees push their roots deep into the area, away from the surface.
The Aquifer Pipe
Our solution to this problem is our product, the Aquifer Pipe.In Like manner It’s a six-inch pipe, it is a big pipe, taller than a cell phone.[Fist protection]. Therefore It comes in 20-foot lengths that can join with couplers, so the total length can grow to a full mile.
Some people like to call it a smart drain tile. Because of its unique pipe shape. It is designed in a V shape to store water. The water allows the soil inside the channel to saturate it (a virtual water table). A moisture plume is then created that is two feet high and 14 feet wide.
Let us help you protect your orchard and make sure that they stay dormant in the winter. Winters are only going to get warmer.