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Tree Fruits: Organic Production Overview

Tree Fruits: Organic Production Overview

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Published by: Organic Fruits - ATTRA on Nov 03, 2010
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ATTRA is the national sustainable agriculture information service operated by the NationalCenter for Appropriate Technology, through a grant from the Rural Business-Cooperative Service,U.S. Department of Agriculture. These organizations do not recommend or endorse products,companies, or individuals. NCAT has offices in Fayetteville, Arkansas (P.O. Box 3657, Fayetteville,AR 72702), Butte, Montana, and Davis, California.
National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service
www.attra.ncat.org
 Tree Fruits: OrganicProduction Overview 
By Guy K. Ames and George KuepperNCAT Agriculture SpecialistsRevised September 2004By Ann BaierReviewed by Martin GuerenaNCAT Agriculture SpecialistsSeptember 2004©NCAT 2004
©2004 ARS
Introduction .................................................................................................3Organic Fruit Production ....................................................................3Marketing and Economic Considerations ..................................4Planning and Planting an Organic Orchard ..........................5Managing An Established Organic Fruit Orchard ..............13
Table of Contents
H
ORTICULTURE
S
YSTEMS
G
UIDE
 Abstract 
: This guide is an overview of issues relevant to commercial organic production of temperate zonetree fruits and, to a lesser extent, tree nuts. It includes discussions of marketing and economics, orcharddesign, and cultural considerations, including crop varieties, site selection, site preparation, soil fertility,weed control, and pest management (insects, diseases, and vertebrates). It raises questions for the grower to consider in making decisions about orchard and enterprise design. Lists of electronic and print resourcesoffer further, more detailed information.
 
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 A note about Organic Standards: Included inthis publication are references to the organicstandards authorized by the USDA’s NationalOrganic Program,www.ams.usda.gov/nop.Organic producers should verify with theappropriate certification bodies that theirpractices and any materials they intend touse are compliant with applicable standardsfor their intended markets. This is especially true if those markets are international, wherethere may be additional production and label-ing requirements.
 
//T
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INTDUTN
This publication focuses on production and mar-keting of organic fruits and nuts, highlightinga systems approach to orchard production andfarm management. Not intended as a comprehen-sive production guide for individual fruit crops,this publication introduces key production issuesthat merit consideration in any specific crop orproduction region. As noted below, ATTRA hasother publications for specific fruit and nut crops.General information on cultural practices for fruitproduction (choosing varieties, spacing, prun-ing, training, irrigating, harvesting, postharvesthandling, etc.) is relevant to both organic and con-ventionally managed operations, and it is widelyavailable from the Cooperative Extension Service,nurseries, and in horticulture literature.
OGN FUTPDUTN
Organic production is defined by USDA’s Na-tional Organic Program (NOP) as “A productionsystem that is managed...to respond to site-spe-cific conditions by integrating cultural, biologi-cal, and mechanical practices that foster cyclingof resources, promote ecological balance, andconserve biodiversity.”Organic fruit production involves more than sim-ply excluding synthetic pesticides and fertilizers.Benign neglect does not meet NOP standards forproduction. Organic agriculture is an integratedapproach to active and observant managementof a farming system. It begins with good soilmanagement for nutrient cycling, productivity,and tilth. It involves an integrated, preventativeapproach to pest management to protect thehealth and productivity of the orchard.
 ATTRA has additional information on organic fruit production and organic agriculture. Please referto the list below for guides to production of specific fruit crops. Many of these publications discussthe transition from conventional to organic farming, as well as how to become certified, write anorganic systems plan, and develop markets or value-added enterprises. See the ATTRA Web site,www.attra.ncat.org, for a complete list of publications, or call 800-346-9140 to request a currentPublications List. ATTRA Publications on Organic and Low-Spray Fruit Production•Organic and Low-Spray Apple Production•Considerations in Organic Apple Production•Organic Pear Production•Organic Blueberry Production•Organic Culture of Bramble Fruits•Organic Grape Production•Strawberries: Organic & IPM Options•Pawpaw Production•Persimmon Production•Organic and Low-Spray Peach Production•Low-Spray & Organic Plum Production•Sustainable Pecan Production•Overview of Cover Crops•Farmscaping to Enhance Biological Control•Biointensive IPM•Sustainable Soil Management•Alternative Soil Testing Laboratories•Alternative Soil Amendments•Foliar Fertilization•Sources of Organic Fertilizers and Soil Amendments
 
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