I just had this idea a few days ago. Would it be effective to let fruittrees and other crops bear crops for a few years and let them drop fruit to the ground for organic compost where there is a small amount of topsoil esp. desert areas? Then your crops would replant themselves. What is your take on this?
a lot of folks worry about overwintering or continuing the life cycle of pests or disease by letting fruit and leaves stay on the ground after it falls.
I don't worry much about that, but I think the sheet composting of letting it decompose where it falls may work better for leaves than fruit. Most fruits are largely water and either rot or dessicate pretty quickly if they are not eaten by something.
In desert areas where the topsoil is very dry for much of the year, I think you would need a thick layer of mulch to keep the upper of soil very active.
"Limitation is the mother of good management", Michael Evanari
Location: Southwestern Oregon (Jackson County), Zone 7
The fruit would still benefit it though even if it is just a little. Say if I would plant more trees than I needed this would work perfectly or I could just sell the fruit. It would also give the mulch a bigger layer to use.
In fruit trees in particular, the pests burrow into the fruits to lay their eggs. Leaving rotten fruits on the ground over winter is probably the quickest way to kill an orchard. The best way to prevent this is to let the hogs clean up the mess that would otherwise kill all of your trees. If you don't have hogs, feed it to the worms (not the worms living in the orchard)
There are several fungal problems in orchards that can be made much worse if you don't clean up the leaf litter. That becomes the source for next season's ascospores.
If you pile them up and mulch over them, that controls the release of the ascospores next spring, and helps it all rot faster, so the good fungi and other flora and fauna can beat up and kill the bad guys.
If you have a complex designed "mess" that doesn't have a bunch of apple trees all together, and a bunch of other stuff all interspersed around the apple trees here and there, that should help, but I have no direct experience with that.
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