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Suggestions for Implementing Keyline Earthworks for an Orchard System?

 
Posts: 2
Location: NE OK Zone 7
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I am working on a design for an orchard-silvopasture system based on Keyline patterning and would like suggestions for appropriate implements/tools for installing the orchard rows. I don't think a subsoiler alone will create a wide enough grass-free bed for trees. I don't have much experience with farm machinery outside a tractor/brush hog and a trac hoe so I would like suggestions on what implements could get the job done. I've seen Darren Doherty's and Grant Shultz's modified Keyline plows but I don't think I'll have access to something like that in my area. Ridgedale has an impressive bed system but I don't think their implement is available in my area either however I could be wrong. Any feedback on where/what to look for is appreciated. I have a 20hp sub compact cub cadet but may have access to a larger tractor if more hp is needed.

I will share a copy of my design so far. The Keyline pattern is designed according to my current understanding of the framework. This will be my first install of keyline so any feedback from more experienced permies would be helpful as well. The soil is clay-loam, on bottom land near a lake. The property is relatively flat. The contours are 2' apart. The tree rows are 20' apart. My uphill watershed is the ~4 acre property to the north (top).
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Looking NW
 
pollinator
Posts: 1559
Location: Denver, CO
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Are you going to use mulch around the trees eventually? I suppose on this scale it might be difficult. Martin Crawford in England used long strips of some type of fabric to suppress grass. Meanwhile, he would plant running ground covers on one side, which would start rooting and running under and over the weed block fabric. In a year's time, he would move the strip on width over; and the ground covers would follow. He planted all the trees for the orchard in the first year, and used a square of weed block fabric around each, until the rolling fabric/ ground cover treatment got to them to suppress weeds for good.

I don't know if this helps you or not.
 
Miles Harrow
Posts: 2
Location: NE OK Zone 7
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Gilbert Fritz wrote:Are you going to use mulch around the trees eventually? I suppose on this scale it might be difficult. Martin Crawford in England used long strips of some type of fabric to suppress grass. Meanwhile, he would plant running ground covers on one side, which would start rooting and running under and over the weed block fabric. In a year's time, he would move the strip on width over; and the ground covers would follow. He planted all the trees for the orchard in the first year, and used a square of weed block fabric around each, until the rolling fabric/ ground cover treatment got to them to suppress weeds for good.

I don't know if this helps you or not.



I think using cover crops is the easiest option at that scale. I would like to use wood chips around as many trees as I can. Ideally I would like to use wood chips everywhere but am keeping that input in the zones closer to the house for now. I might experiment with a row of plastic mulch just to compare.

I will check out Martin's fabric system. I might try different methods on a few rows and compare them for a year before planting out the whole pasture.

 
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