An increasing number of growers in California are opting to recycle their trees when it's time to turn over their orchards. Growers on this page agreed to share their perspectives on whole orchard recycling. Mike Amaral Mike Amaral is a new farmer who joined his father-in-law’s family business, Real Ranch Almonds, last year. Their ranch in Denair is a few hundred acres, most of which will need to be replanted within the next five to six years. In Fall 2018, they tried whole-orchard recycling for the first time (on a 92-acre block). Almost everything went according to plan, and assuming the replant orchard thrives in its first several years, Amaral expects to be doing a lot more recycling in the future. Christine Gemperle Christine Gemperle and her brother Erich farm 135 acres of almonds in Ceres (Stanislaus County). In December 2018, she tried whole-orchard recycling for the first time on a 20-acre block. The land will be replanted with potted trees in Fall 2019 after a 9-month fallow, during which Gemperle has been applying chicken manure to help break down the wood chips. In the long term, she hopes to improve the water-holding capacity of her Hanford sandy loam. Carl Kruppa Carl Kruppa has experimented with several different ways to add organic matter to his sandy soil, including shredding orchard prunings and composting huller/sheller trash. He first tried whole-orchard recycling in 2012 and now does it every time he needs to replace an orchard block. He finds that selling half the biomass for firewood and recycling the other half makes land preparation easier and reduces N demand. He also intercrops and does crop rotation with sweet potatoes to help optimize resource use and reduce pest and disease pressure. Norma Stretch Norma Stretch has been in the almond business since the 1970s. She has a 305-acre almond ranch in Madera, and she recycled an orchard for the first time in Fall 2016. After giving the 30-acre block a one-year fallow (during which she applied microbial supplements and surface irrigation), she is very happy with the growth and vigor of the Nonpareil / Monterey trees at second leaf. Orchard recycling will be her standard practice going forward. Louie Tallerico Louie Tallerico is an engineer by training and is always looking for ways to optimize the soil on his 200-acre farm in Manteca. He recycled an almond orchard for the first time in 2016, fine-tuning the fertilization regime in the new orchard with a combination of expert advice and daily binocular observations from his kitchen window. The growth of his two-year-old Independence trees is right on track, with no problems so far (though he has noticed an unusually high number of mushrooms from wood-decaying fungi). Steve Thorley Steve Thorley and his wife Susan grow 160 acres of almonds in Atwater. In Fall 2015, they removed a 30-year-old orchard block that comprised half of their total acreage. After a two-year fallow with Merced rye, they replanted a new Nonpareil / Monterey orchard in January 2018. The young trees are thriving so far, with robust trunks, no sign of disease, and near-zero mortality.