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Whole Orchard Recycling

Whole Orchard Recycling (WOR) involves grinding whole trees into chips, spreading the chips evenly on the soil surface, then incorporating them into the soil before replanting. Research conducted by the University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE), initially funded and supported by the Almond Board of California (ABC) and later by the California Department of Food and Agriculture, has identified significant advantages of WOR, such as increased soil organic matter, improved water holding capacity and increased cumulative yields.

Introduction To Whole Orchard Recycling

At the end of an orchard’s productive life, almond growers must decide what to do with their old trees: either replant immediately or waiting a year. Removing old orchards and preparing to plant new trees is an intense job with important decisions required at every turn, including whether to fumigate, what varieties and rootstocks to plant, what irrigation system to install and what practices will be the best to enrich soil health and ensure long-term orchard productivity. For some growers, immediately replanting may not be the best option – taking a year off to reestablish the next orchard may be a better decision.

WOR is an innovative and sustainable  practice that contributes to the success of the subsequent orchard by not only putting everything grown in the previous orchard to optimal use (achieving zero waste) but also providing value back to the grower by delivering nutrients, improving soil quality and ultimately, potentially, increasing yields.

WOR supports two of the industry’s Almond Orchard 2025 Goals:

  1. achieving zero waste by putting everything grown to optimal use, and (in some instances)
  2. increasing water use efficiency.

Whole Orchard Recycling Overview

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Steps to Completing WOR

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Whole Orchard Recycling – A Grower’s How To

More Information

Visit Almonds.com/IndustryNews to hear from growers who are implementing WOR in their orchards, as well as incentive funding opportunities that include payments for WOR.

Visit Almonds.com/Grants for an overview of available incentive funds to assist growers in implementing Whole Orchard Recycling.

Visit orchardrecycling.sf.ucdavis.edu/ for additional tools and resources, frequently asked questions, a cost-benefit guide and more.

Increasing numbers of orchard removal companies in California are offering WOR services. Visit orchardrecycling.sf.ucdavis.edu/california-orchard-recycling-resources for a list of service providers.