To ensure healthy, robust trees, Agricorti follows the procedure described below, operating with respect for the environment and using state-of-the-art technologies.
BEDDING OUT THE TREES
The first thing we did was to carefully select the area we would use to bed out our trees, performing specific tests to determine the soil type and composition, in order ensure the optimum conditions for tree development.
Then we prepared the soil, ploughing, harrowing and above all levelling, as to allow the use of sophisticated mechanical harvesting equipment, the soil must be perfectly level and well drained. Then we bedded out the trees, positioning them in holes prepared in advance using an auger, with 7 metres between each row, and around 4.5 metres between each tree.
After bedding out the trees, we promptly moved on to the irrigation system, required to ensure the young trees remained in active growth. Taking care of our trees during the early years is key in ensuring ongoing production over time, and fertilisation, irrigation and, most importantly, careful pruning are all crucial stages in this process.
After around three years, we sewed the lawn between the rows, which would go on to provide, thanks to regular cutting between April and August, a fine grassy carpet so well-maintained that it remains compact and well drained and allows us to promptly intervene in any situation, even after recent rainfall.
CARING FOR THE WALNUT GROVE
Caring for our walnut grove involves a range of specific procedures, required to ensure good tree growth and achieve high quality and constant production over time. The identification and establishment of these best practice procedures is based on years of study, research and experience in the agricultural sector.
In chronological order, we begin with careful pruning between January and February by qualified personnel, essential, not only for tree containment, but also for the control and elimination of any branch-related problems (cankers, dead branches, etc.).
In spring, fertilisation is very important in providing the tree with the nutritional elements required to ensure good product quantity and quality. The choice of fertiliser is based on the nutritional needs of the tree, established using soil analyses and identification of macro and micro elements in the leaves.
From April to August, the lawn is cut regularly, as discussed above, weeds are controlled using specific herbicides and the irrigation schedule is planned, re-evaluated and modified from time to time depending on rainfall, temperature and plant evapotranspiration. Under-canopy irrigation is used to avoid thermal stress and prevent the spread of diseases.
Water is essential for the walnut tree, with correct water management required to ensure sufficient fruit development and a high quality end product.
Last, but not least, are the control of any diseases (bacterial, anthracnose, etc.), performed using specific fungicides, and protection against insects (codling moth, fly, etc.), monitored using pheromone traps that allow us to identify the best time to introduce targeted treatments, minimising the use of plant protection products in order to respect the environment.
Once the fruit has fully matured, it drops: once 20-25% of the walnuts are on the ground, we commence our mechanical harvest, which begins initially with the shaking of the trees.
The walnuts are then gathered using a special rake at the centre of the walkways between the rows and finally, a special machine collects the nuts and separates out the leaves, branches and earth. To obtain a high quality product, several harvests are performed, as the nuts mature on a staggered scale.
It is crucial that nuts on the ground are harvested as quickly as possible to avoid compromising the organoleptic qualities typical of the Lara walnut.