The Container Tree Nursery Manual, Volume Seven | Seedling Processing, Storage, and Outplanting

ISBN 13: 9781782662419
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Fruit sold immediately will be at a more advanced stage of maturity than fruit to be held for later sales. Harvests will vary from year to year. There is no set calendar date for harvest—maturity of the fruit determines when harvest occurs.


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The eating quality of the apple depends on both the flesh firmness and the sugar to acid ratio flavor. Handle apples carefully during harvest to avoid bruising. Once boxed in the field, place apples in the shade and move to cold storage or point-of-sale as soon as possible. Determining the appropriate time to harvest your peaches will vary by variety.

Depending on the variety planted, peaches might be ready for harvest between June and October.

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Be selective when harvesting: only choose peaches that are mature enough for shipping or for immediate marketing. A grower should be familiar with the varieties being grown, as distinctions in color and firmness indicating maturity will differ depending on variety. It is best to harvest peaches in the early morning to minimize field heat in the fruit as well as worker fatigue.

Minimizing field heat will also slow the post-harvest ripening and softening process. The most reliable indicators for matured peaches include changes in ground color, firmness, and uniform swelling around the suture. Ground color refers to the color of the peach on the side facing away from the sun. A peach appearing light green is approaching maturation. As the ground color breaks to a white or yellow, this is a positive indication of maturity Figure There should also be a uniform swelling of the peach around the suture so that in a cross-section the peach will be round, not oblong.

To minimize bruising and premature softening during storage and transit, peaches should be at a stage of development that is advanced enough to allow the fruit to ripen to a high quality. Pecans are ready to harvest once the shucks split, allowing the nuts to fall to the ground Figure One tool used for harvesting on a small scale is a long pole. A long pole has a wide, blunt end or grappling claw that is used to shake the limb.

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This tool may be more economical for smaller orchards. The most effective tool for harvesting pecans is a PTO powered trunk shaker Figure Use caution when latching onto the trunk of the tree. Too much pressure on the tree during shaking may cause the trunk to split, leaving an open wound.

For smaller scale orchards, hand-harvested nuts should be picked up frequently to prevent molding or removal by pests. For commercial harvesters, it is ideal to mechanically rake or blow the pecans into windrows on both sides of the tree to ease in pick up.

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This can be accomplished through manual labor using rakes and blowers or through mechanical sweepers and blowers mounted on a tractor. It is important to use caution when moving the pecans, either through manual labor or machinery, so as not to crack the pecan shell. Once gathered in windrows, a push-powered Figure 14 or tractor-pulled harvester can be used to sweep up the pecans and blow the trash out the back.

Peaches at various stages of ground color development.

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Notice the ground color changes in the peaches that are less ripe left and more ripe right. Example of a hand-pushed pecan harvester. Rubber bristles grab the pecans that are then brushed into the bin.

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Cooling of fruit after harvest is crucial for maintaining fruit quality if holding for any period of time. The most common method for smaller scale production is forced-air cooling Figure The greater the movement of air in your cooler, less time is required to cool your crop.

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  3. Container Tree Nursery Manual, Volume Six: Seedling Propagation by Thomas D. Landis.
  4. Volume 7- Seedling Processing, Storage, and Outplanting.
  5. Grower Resources.
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The shelf life of your crop will be significantly shortened if you are unable to properly and quickly cool the fruit. Regularly sanitize your fruit harvest and storage containers as well as the surfaces of your cooling and storage rooms. Interior surfaces may be disinfected with a 0. In addition to regularly inspecting your bulk boxes, periodically inspect and clean cooling and storage rooms, the coils, fans, and ducts.

The Container Tree Nursery Manual Volume 7: Seedling Processing, Storage and Outplanting…

By cleaning any dirt or dust that may have accumulated, you will increase the efficiency and effectiveness of your units. Regularly recalibrate thermostats and hygrometers, used to measure temperature and humidity, to maintain accuracy. Rapidly cool the apples after harvest to remove field heat and increase storage life.

This range reduces water loss but does not encourage bacteria and fungi. Apples may also be stored in plastic bags, crates, or bin liners to prevent fruit dehydration. Most peaches grown in North Carolina are sold directly to the consumer as quick as possible. Peaches are:. Maintenance of your storage facilities and the environmental conditions within those facilities is essential for sustaining a productive operation.

Large pecan orchards may utilize forced-air commercial dryers to dry the nuts in a large trailer or container. For small pecan producers, the nuts can be dried in a burlap or onion sack in an area with moderate ventilation and warmer temperatures. For storage lasting longer than a year, keep the nuts in a freezer. Pecans can be sold either cracked or uncracked. If sold uncracked in the shell, the price is determined by the variety, nut size, shell damage, and shell cleanliness.


If sold shelled, the price is commonly determined by variety, kernel color, size, insect damage, and form, which can be halves, pieces, and bits. Apple crates being forced-air cooled. A tarp is used to cover space in between crates, and a fan sucks cooler air through the stacked crates. The most important factor in determining the success of any tree fruit production is researching and planning the market before planting and growing. As a producer, it is your responsibility to plan accordingly for the eventual sale of your product before it is even grown.

Potential marketing options include:.

Container Tree Nursery Manual, Volume Six: Seedling Propagation

By developing a business plan, you will identify your marketing avenue s , business and production challenges, and finally solutions to those challenges. On-farm retailing, which may or may not include PYO, allows for customers to visit your farm. Benefits of PYO operations include reduced labor costs; elimination of grading, packing, and storage costs; direct payment to producers; and potential customer participation in harvesting.

Disadvantages to this method of marketing include assumed liability of accidents by the producer; reduced demand because of poor weather and the costs associated with providing a retail service on-site. Selling your fruit through a roadside stand, either permanent or mobile, provides an opportunity to sell directly to the customer. This form of marketing is highly variable based on the sales you will experience from day to day. Farmers markets are another form of direct marketing. To secure your space at a farmers market, you will typically apply for a space and pay any associated fees.

You will need to provide your own tables, cashbox or register, display signs, receipt book, scales for weighing, and high quality products. The Internet may be an attractive marketing option for some growers in this networked culture. This form of marketing will require a working knowledge of a computer, how to manage a website, and the processing of orders.

If you do not plan to sell your product over the Internet, social media websites offer you as the grower, or farmer, an opportunity to showcase your orchard and products to the community. Boyette, M. Postharvest Cooling and Handling of Apples.

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Hall, C. Parker, M. Growing Peaches in North Carolina. Growing Pecans in North Carolina.