Vincent Philion, agr., M.Sc.

Le 13 juin 2017 à 20:09, Brian Heatherington 
<<>> a écrit :


The good news is you will have plenty of nitrogen. Unfortunately alfalfa has an 
extremely deep and powerful root system that make it difficult to eradicate by 
mechanical means. Growing up on a dairy, I plowed 5 yr. old alfalfa on sandy 
soil that had roots at least 2 ft. deep. In California alfalfa roots have 
reached 49 ft. deep!

I'm not sure what part of the country you're in but your weed control strategy 
will depend on whether you're in the arid West or the sometimes very wet East. 
Also porosity of soil. Go towards lower herbicide rates on sandy or gravely 
soil. Since your trees are non bearing, PHI will not be a factor. You just need 
to avoid stunting or killing them. Safe preemergent choices would probably be 
Solicam, Surflan, or Prowl, again, depending on your climate, rainfall 
patterns, and prevailing weeds. I like Solicam for grass prevention. I have 
clay soil, my climate varies from jungle to desert (sometimes in a single 
season), and I take the maximum rate and apply half of it in spring and the 
other half in the fall, which is a common practice in the southeast. 
Application under drip is no problem. In fact, the wet strip is where weeds 
will first appear. You do need rainfall within x number of days after 
application in order for these products to work.

In the west there are ongoing trials of alfalfa cover crops in apples. I think 
the biggest negatives have been delayed fruit maturity and rodent burrowing. If 
you're in a dry climate with easy to work soils you might do well with removal 
by tillage, maybe with a weed badger. If not, then consider plan B: while 
glyphosate is generally not recommended around young trees, I have successfully 
used it around newly planted trees using tree guards and a hand wand at very 
low pressure under relatively windless conditions. Become very familiar with 
drift potential from your equipment before doing so. On 5 acres of trees this 
might not be feasible, but then again, depending on your method of mechanical 
removal, it might.

For application by tractor, I generally prefer gramoxone for young trees, but 
have applied glyphosate to 1st yr. plantings with a mid mount orchard boom, 30 
psi with air induction nozzles. I use an old school boom with a cable and 
pulley going into the cab to quickly and precisely vary the angle of the boom 
to eliminate trunk contact above the guard. Just make sure you don't spray any 
suckers. If you do, go back and cut them off. You can also spray to within 4-6" 
of the tree and clean up the unsprayed strip later.

This application would best be applied soon rather than later in the summer; 
you can come back later with gramoxone or another burn down herbicide and burn 
off alfalfa regrowth. The only reason I suggest doing this during the current 
season is the fact that you will have more root suckers next year, and you will 
probably have to use glyphosate at some point if you want to truly eradicate 
the alfalfa.

Clopyralid (Stinger) is very good for reducing clover (and should work for 
alfalfa) for an entire summer, but trees have to be in the ground for 1 year, 
and trunk contact is not allowed even for older trees. It could be helpful next 

You can also burn down multiple times this summer, and start with systemic 
means next season. Upon completion, you will have a nice mat of dry legume 
releasing nitrogen, choking out weeds, and eliminating erosion. So in my 
opinion, the end result will be worth the extra caution with the sprayer.

I use cheap, reusable guards that are .35 USD each:

Brian Heatherington
Beech Creek Orchards LLC
2011 Georgia Highway 120
Tallapoosa, Georgia, 30176

On 6/13/2017 9:50 AM, Doug Nelson wrote:
Newbie orchard question

We expanded our orchard of 500 tall spindle to a 5000 tree orchard. The trees 
have been in the ground for 3 months. The new trees were planted in an alfalfa 
field.  I have gotten a handle on my trellis and irrigation. The alfalfa is out 
of control. Once I have removed alfalfa via contact herbicide and mechanical 
removal should i apply a pre emergence herbicide or wait to apply in the fall. 
What mixture of pre emergence should i use with first year planted trees? Can 
you apply pre emergence while you have irrigation running or is that unsafe for 

Doug Nelson

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