Thank you for your suggestions. I realized that in addition to the "gardener" hazard, I also had a "small children" hazard since the tenants have little kids. Neither bode well for little bare sticks in an orchard so I decided to them all in a "nurse" area near the orchard but out of the mow zone where I have pomegranates and some old roses. I did not have time to fence the area off but I did put rocks around it and the roses and pomegranates have thorns. These were tiny bare roots so I will plan on transplanting them next winter if they survive and I like the idea of trying to propagate the pea shrubs.
When we do move there, I hope to keep the gardener on but will just tell him to stop the roundup altogether. I plan to sheet mulch with cardboard/mulch under the dripline of the old fruit trees. I know this won't kill the bermuda grass but I have the experience here in the Bay Area that it curb its enthusiasm a bit. my gut is that these old trees have roots that go so far beyond the drip line that even for conventional growing, spraying under the dripline doesn't accomplish much in terms of "saving" nutrients for the tree versus the grass.
These trees have received no amendments and have been starved of even their own leaf litter for at least 15 years. They produce a lot of fruit but they have lots of issues with pests including borers especially the plums. So while I would normally be very keen to help out with Nitrogen fixing neighbors and dynamic accumulators and such, it feels like me biggest task is to slow their demise through insect damage. I'll have to do more research on that because my understanding is that there is little you can do about borers once you have a serious infestation.
anyway, I can't really deal with those issues remotely. I might try a 'biologic mudpack' as suggested by Michael Phillips in "The Holistic Orchard."