After the problems of this harvest season and its labour shortage, there will be a lot of older blocks planted to poorer paying strains and varieties which have little, if any, future in our new high labour cost industry. The sooner these are gone, the less financial drag they will cause you.
If these trees can be pulled out well ahead of dormancy their transpiring leaves will quickly dry out the wood leading to a good, clean burn once it is possible to light fires again.
If trees are not available for their replacement, do not let this hinder pulling the block out. Bare ground loses a lot less money than a non-performing redundant variety. Each hectare pulled out will release around $15,000.00 of working capital to be used elsewhere in the business.
The immediate post-harvest period is also a good opportunity to tidy things up around the orchard. For instance, I have noticed a few dead trees with lots of silver leaf spore production potential. These need to be removed now and burnt before the pruning season begins. Once we get some wet weather, these old stumps will begin spore production again. If you are going to use them for firewood, store them in a dry place so they do not get wet and start spore production again.
There has also been a niggling amount of black spot around this season so in blocks where it has been a problem, a ground spray of urea at 5% concentration is necessary as soon as most leaves have fallen.
Check trellis support systems and mend any that appear to be failing. Many of the older tree supports are not robust enough for the crops we are carrying today.
Check nitrogen nutrition. In areas where the crop coloured well and foliage was pale green, or going into autumn colours early is indicative of low or marginal nitrogen levels. Lush green foliage with late leaf drop is indicative of excess nitrogen.