WSU Tree Fruit Research & Extension Center

Organic & Integrated Tree Fruit Production

Friday, February 22, 2019

Soil Management

Orchard Soil Seminars  WSU Tree Fruit Research and Extension Center is organizing a series of seminars on topics related to soils and orchards.  These are being captured electronically and made available on line at the WSU Tree Fruit YouTube page.

The Potential for Precision Soil Management in Orchards. Dr. David Brown, WSU Crops & Soils, Pullman, WA. Presented 8/13/2014.
The Hows and Whys of Soil Testing. Dr. Joan Davenport, WSU  Crops & Soils, Prosser, WA. Presented 10/29/2014.


Organic Fertilizer Calculator. An excel based tool to help you determine how much nutrient value various organic amendments have, how quickly they release N, and how much they cost. Check the on-line guide for details or look at the presentation from the WA Hort 2007 meeting.

Roots: The Foundation of Your Orchard's Success. A session at the 2014 Wash. St. Hort. Assoc. annual meeting, Kennewick, WA, Dec. 3, 2014. Presentations were captured electronically and can be viewed on line.

Root physiology and function in the orchard (Lee Kalcsits, WSU, Wenatchee, WA)
Optimal tree nutrition and fruit production begins underground - the apple rootstock story (Gennaro Fazio, USDA-ARS, Geneva, NY)
Characteristics of tree root systems (David Eissenstat, Penn State Univ., College Park, PA)
Roots and soil biology: managing the 'microherd' for maximum tree performance (Mark Mazzola, USDA-ARS, Wenatchee, WA)
Question and Answer period


Soil Health: Its Role in Today's Orchard Systems. A session at the 2013 Wash. St. Hort. Assoc. annual meeting, Wenatchee, WA, Dec. 4, 2013.  The session asked three questions, and had two speakers address each question:

Does Organic Matter Matter (G. Neilsen, G. Bird)
How Do We Measure Soil Health? (G. Johnson, T. Forge)
How does management influence soil health and tree performance? (I. Merwin, M. Omeg).

 Proceedings manuscripts (and several Powerpoint presentations) are available for some speakers (see links below).

Introduction and Synopsis. D. Granatstein    Presentation
Does Organic Matter Matter? G. Neilsen       Presentation
Organic Matter and the Impact of Management on Orchard Soil Health. G. Bird
Assessing Soil Health for Tree Fruit and Vine Crops. T. Forge
Soil Management Affects Orchard Soil Health and Tree Productivity. I. Merwin    Presentation


 Soil Health in Orchards.  A session at the Intl. Fruit Tree Assoc. winter conference, Pasco, WA, March 2, 2011.  The session featured a series of speakers addressing the various aspects of soil health and how they relate to tree growth and fruit quality.  Articles based on these presentations are published in Compact Fruit Tree magazine.


Information on irrigation, soil fertilization, fumigation and other amendments, and other topics of practical interest.

Soil Biology Workshop.  Kirkland, WA. February 2002.  This day-long event featured a series of presentations on soil biology, principles and practices.  It was followed by an extended discussion period between the audience and speakers.

Why does soil biology matter? How do we influence it.
D. Bezdicek, WSU, Pullman.

The soil food web: Who they are and what they do?
Microbiology. T. Forge, Agriculture Canada, Agassiz, BC 
Macrobiology.  A. Moldenke, OSU, Corvallis, OR

Characterizing soil biology: The latest on monitoring and analysis.
M. Mazzola, USDA-ARS, Wenatchee.
H. Collins, USDA-ARS, Prosser.

The role of amendments in soil biology: composts, manures, cover crops, ag chemicals, innoculants.
L. Carpenter-Boggs, WSU, Pullman.

Soil biology and pest and disease suppression.
M. Mazzola, USDA-ARS, Wenatchee.
A. Stone, OSU, Corvallis, OR

Novel approaches to soil biology
Biodynamics.  L. Carpenter-Boggs
Fungal ratios.  T. Forge
Vermicompost. S. Subler
Compost tea. S. Schuerell


NutriSmart™ fertilizer evaluation
NutriSmart™ biological fertilizer is reportedly a mix of several selected yeast strains in a leonardite and rock phosphate carrier. The different yeasts are intended to release P and K from the solid matrix and fix N from the air at rates that match plant need and avoid excess nutrient buildup in the soil that could lead to leaching. In field and greenhouse trials (2003-2004), the product showed no nitrogen benefit and some benefit for phosphorus and potassium nutrition. Heat-treated product (to kill the yeasts) performed as well or better than the live product, suggesting that any nutrient benefits were from the abiotic components of the fertilizer rather than the yeasts. Contact David Granatstein for more information.

Soil Health, Plant Health, and Fruit Quality
Does soil management impact the health of the plants and the quality of the food produced? Existing and emerging research does support this concept and more work is being done to understand the mechanisms and the economic and human health values. A panel discussed this issue at the 2004 Washington State Horticulture Association Annual Meeting. Presentations from that panel are accessible below.

Contact Info

David Granatstein, Sustainable Agriculture Specialist

Email Address:

Office Location:
Tree Fruit Research & Extension Center, Wenatchee
Office Ph: 509-663-8181 x222
Office Hours: by appointment

Sponsored by the WSU Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources, and Tree Fruit Research & Extension Center, Wenatchee, WA.

Tree Fruit Research & Extension Center, 1100 N Western Ave, Washington State University, Wenatchee WA 98801, 509-663-8181, Contact Us