So in previous episodes I’ve shown nice straight rows of trees in California. There is a real increase of new plantings of trees, mainly almonds. So how do they get those nice straight rows that line up no matter which way you look? Well again Sales Account Manger Dylan was my source of answers. In fact he has been part of tree planting operations in a previous job. Well one way is to lay out a real long tape on top of the raised bed, and put in markers, or “straws” as they are called, where the tree will go. For almonds that is around 14 foot spacing. Then go to the next row and adjust the tape so that the straw is mid-way between the trees in the previous row. That way you get maximum sunlight penetration. And it looks really cool. Here is an orchard that was probably planted last year.
Here is an almond orchard that was recently planted. However instead of straws this grower used GPS guidance on a tractor or something with wheel spacing to match tree placement. Then they built the raised rows and used the wheel tracks as placement guides. This is lots faster than the tape and straw method. This is pretty new to me, and I haven’t talked to enough almond growers to get the real scoop on what’s the most popular today. But I would lean towards GPS. But you have to really be careful to get it set exactly where the wheel track is.
Look how this tree is leaning. In fact, they all are. It seems that they plant on a slant facing Northwest, as that is the direction of the prevailing storm winds in the winter when trees can get blown over. So they lean them into the wind to make them better able to withstand the wind. Then they will stake them to hold them in position. Look at the top picture where stakes are on the trees. I guess it’s worth the extra trouble as they will be there for many years.
There is a saying that I like (but don’t always follow) that fits here: If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over? (Do you know who said that? Famous UCLA basketball coach John Wooden who is the GOAT with 10 championships in 12 years, including 7 in a row.) He probably wasn’t talking about planting almond trees, but it applies.