Jack Edmondson wrote:Plant lots of cover crop with deep roots. Let the plants do what they do, deep till and scavenge for nutrients and moisture. Popular plants are comfrey, turnips, alfalfa, hemp, bluestem, etc... Any root mass will combat the cattle compaction on the surface; but there are many plants that will drive deep roots through hard pan to start the process of opening up the sub soil. I agree that you don't want to damage the tree roots. However, a "once to get started" deep aeration may be in order. Get familiar with how a subsoiler works. It opens up a single channel, deep, but does not overturn the soil. Make a determination on where the root mass is primarily concentrated and sub soil between the rows in the safe zone. At least then you will have some aeration to the microbes in the orchard to start the process of decompaction. The manure, if free from chemicals from the feed, will do a lot over the roots where a subsoiler is unadvised. Wood chips would be better; but I imagine in short supply in your area.
Jack Edmondson wrote:Lucian,
I have not tried this plant, yet; although it is on my spring planting list to experiement. http://petcherseeds.com/pigeon-pea/ According to this source, pigeon pea will make a crop on as little as 30cm of rain, once established. If anything can make it through your summer, this would be it. It has a deep taproot and is a legume. Again, I can't yet personally attest to it efficacy; but may be worth more research for your situation.