Historic Orchard Assessment - CA State Parks

Uploaded by uptownstudios on 10.08.2010

Just like a agricultural landscape or designed landscape,
historic orchards reflect the passage of time.
Orchards may be identified as historic sites,
historic districts, or as contributing features to sites or districts,
and are historically significant cultural landscapes in their own right.
They also serve as repositories of rare or unusual fruit varieties.
The historic orchards remaining in our state parks are worthy of preserving.
They do not exist anywhere else because of changing agricultural practices.
In March of 2010, California State Parks and the National Park Service
conducted A historic orchard management workshop at the Sonoma Developmental
Center Orchard located in Jack London, State Historic Park.
This is one of the few remaining historic orchards in California that was part of a self-sustaining
agricultural farm colony.
This orchard was planted on the hills behind Sonoma State Hospital, between
1908 and 1912.
Nearly 100 acres of orchards were maintained by patients and employees
until the mid-1960s.
The orchards, together with the hospital dairy farm,
poultry house and vegetable garden,
allowed the institution to remain virtually self-sufficient for several decades.
The Sonoma State Hospital orchard and similar orchards at the Napa State and Metropolitan
State Hospitals were closed in the 1960s
as patient populations began to decline and hospital officials could no longer maintain
the orchards.
Today, many of these agricultural landscapes have been lost
due to the conversion of the land for other uses.
This orchard represents literally a vision back into the past, into the early
as to how agriculture was
absolutely integrated into the life of the people living
and working here and so
this orchard represent something very special because it is one of those tangible links
that shows us how this property was managed how people lived
how they incorporated it into their life their work
and into at that time consideration for rehabilitation of patients as well.
In general
the goal of working with historic orchards is to create a healthy environment that will
prolong the life of the trees.
Because we're dealing with living plant material that has a limited life span
the first step is to assess where the trees are in their life cycle
and determine their condition
good, fair, poor or dead.
In this video, we show how to assess historic orchards and demonstrate some commonly
used stabilization techniques.
Different species have
different longevities.
So we can prolong the life
of trees.
If we can get to fair condition, we can
retain at fair condition
for a long time,
and if we are at good condition,
we are only confronted with the natural longevity of the tree
as our limit.
But if we in poor condition,
we are probably looking
within a decade
most of what you see will be gone.
To establish the condition of your historic orchard,
use an assessment form to document the condition of each tree.
Here is an example of a form you could use.
It divides the trees into five zones:
the orchard floor
the root system
the trunk base
the main trunk
the canopy
and the area above the canopy.
Each zone has specific inspection factors to consider when determining the condition
of the tree.
When we begin this
we look at various zones to inspect.
All of that is to train our eyes
to look beyond perhaps
just the canopy that attracts our eyes immediately.
Zone 0
that’s the orchard floor.
It is very difficult here to see the orchard floor.
We often find accumulated debris – woody debris, piles and piles of brush
and slash that has been left
on orchard floors.
Sometimes we find gopher mounds generally throughout the orchard floor,
sometimes we find
drainage issues, we have ponding, pooling water.
Or excessively drained areas.
Zone one
is the root system
so it is the ground within the drip line
from the drip line of the edge in the canopy
in towards the base of the trunk that is the root system and that is the zone one we're referring
to here.
And the inspection factors is we want you to look for in check any they apply
are root damage
within the drip line is where you would look for early fruit drop
which can be indicative of various problems drought and pests and diseases.
We might see exposed roots
above the ground
that would be important to note.
Zone 2 is the base of the trunk
right down low, near the trunk where the graft union is.
So the inspection factors we are looking for loss of bark
girdling, where there’s a complete ring or loss of bark,
you might see cavities at the base of the trunk,
it’s very important to note sometimes we have lost a
very low scaffold limb,
leaving a cavity behind.
Sometimes an animal has created a cavity,
right at the base of the trunk.
Moving on to the third zone,
now we actually get to the main trunk
and for us we are dealing typically with at 3ft tall trunk.
So it’s the trunk to the scaffold limbs
and here we’re looking for unbalanced scaffolds,
more we have more leaning to one side than the other.
There are reasons that the center of gravity
is not sort of equal
it's that one side or another
note if you have unbalanced scaffold.
If we have a lot of moss and liken cover that should be noted.
And again if we have a lot of deadwood
we will note that
we have deadwood emanating from the main trunk.
Zone 4
the canopy of the tree.
Look for dieback of terminal shoots
note that if you see that.
If we had foliage we’d be looking to see if there was any discoloration.
This could be browning, it could be splotching,
it could also be sort of chlorotic or faded,
yellowed foliage too.
Now you might be surprised that there is still one more zone
Zone 5. Often we have
above the canopy
because of the encroachment
And so above the canopy
we may find
encroaching vegetation and over shading.
Sum all of this up
with one label.
Are we talking Good,
Fair, Poor or Dead
and check what applies.
Assessment gives you a good overall understanding of the condition of the orchard,
as well as of the individual trees.
This information can be used to develop a stabilization plan,
which contains guidelines for the preservation of the orchard until such time as a treatment
or management plan can be adopted.
Orchard stabilization plans,
a plan to intervene to prevent
the deterioration of condition
and an Orchard management plans
which are the documents that guide the cyclic activities over time that will
retain or improve the condition of the orchard.
An Orchard treatment plan
is one that is going to
prescribe a blueprint vision
for the future of the orchard.
A goal that
we will attempt to attain,
and then preserve through maintenance activities.
And you’ve probably heard of the terms Preservation, Restoration,
Rehabilitation, Reconstruction,
those are treatments;
they prescribe a blueprint vision
and that’s what the Orchard treatment plan does.
If you are going to do work in a state park historic orchard,
whether it is stabilization or implementation of a treatment plan,
you will need to do some form of project review to comply with the California environmental
quality act
and public resources code section five oh two four.
We can do stabilization without having a formal treatment plan,
already devised.
The actual stabilization is still considered a project even though it is
considered a maintenance project,
but the first time that stabilization is initiated,
we actually should have
a project review
to make sure because, even in stabilization we’re using tools,
we’re doing interventions. We’re actually affecting the landscape
and so all these activities could have a negative affect. And so therefore it should be reviewed
for best practices for historic properties.
Stabilization includes steps to improve the condition and prolong the life of the trees.
Pruning can be done in the winter or the summer, to achieve different objectives.
so when training
Winter pruning
promotes vigor. Remove dead and diseased limbs as part
of stabilization
but crossing limbs
we remove them as preservation maintenance
to really encourage
a tree canopy to have the scaffold and secondary branches
moving toward the exterior.
Summer pruning
reduces tree vigor.
Summer is the time we really focus on the removal of water sprouts.
The waterspout is really draining the vigor of the tree.
And we see them expressed in the summer.
Pruning shears,
the first in our tool kit,
should be used
on sized up to
up to the diameter of a finger.
Beyond that you’re are exceeding the capacity of the tool was designed to do.
Pruning saw,
this one has a
nice double blade to it,
both push and a pull.
You’ll find that most of your saws
are pull saws.
These are really only useful
for material up to 3 inches
in diameter.
It’s important to clean your tools between trees to avoid passing pathogens and disease.
And make sure the cuts you make are clean without loose or rough edges.
So there’s a whole range
of values that have to be considered whenever you are looking
at historic preservation issues and I think one of the things we try to do with this type of planning effort is
to identify all of those issues, bring them to the table,
have a discussion with the professionals as it relates to their concerns and needs
and then try to craft a solution that meets multiple objectives
while still recognizing that one of the primary values of this resource,
this orchard, is it’s historic qualities.