I have an apple orchard planted the concentrated way. Trees ae 30 inches on center in rows 11 feet apart. Some trees have died for reasons unknown Would it be beneficial to remove them? Also some weeds at the base of the trees have grown quite large (mullein). Again would it be beneficial to remove them either physically or by weed killer?
Leelanau County Michigan
Thanks for your question. Yes, you should remove the dead trees just incase the cause of their death/decline was something that could spread to adjacent trees. Generally, sanitation (i.e. cleaning up/pruning out dead wood and rotting fruit) is a good practice in orchards. Weeding is also important, particularly in orchards where trees are young and/or on dwarfing rootstocks. You can weed by hand if it is feasible to do so or use an herbicide. Herbicides are generally more effective when the weeds are small as they are more susceptible at that time. If you use an herbicide or any pesticide, be sure to read the pesticide label in its entirety and follow all of the restrictions on the label.