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The Natural Resources Conservation Service and Washington State University Tree Fruit Research and Extension Center are teaming up to host a field tour of their legume cover-crop research plots on May 30 from 1 to 5 p.m. They planted 22 different legumes in three orchards to determine the plants’ ability to grow in an orchard environment, compete with weeds, and withstand traffic. 

The trial originated from orchardists’ interest in finding a plant source of nitrogen that may be incorporated into the drive row or mown and blown into the tree row. The best-performing legumes in this trial will be advanced into other trials to evaluate timing of nitrogen release and plant uptake, competition, and other factors. 

This field tour will provide an opportunity to visit two of the three orchard sites and observe differences in plant growth, and differences among orchards. One is a new orchard planted with a broadcast seeder, and the other a mature orchard planted with a tine drill. The afternoon tour will also offer an opportunity to discuss orchard cover crops with researchers and other orchardists.

Meet at Tudor Hills Orchards, northeast of Grandview, Washington, at 1 p.m. Take exit 75 off of Interstate 82, head north, and then make a left onto County Line Road. Go to Evans Road, turn right, and the orchard is 500 feet on left. Depart for second orchard at 3 p.m. For more information, contact David Granatstein, cell (509) 881-7489, or Pamela Pavek.