Updated: May 2, 2019
Nick Charter | Orchard Manager
Laura Zilli Orchards began two field trials using the organic soil amendment LALITHA 21® in November 2017. In the first field trial, a 20-acre, recently replanted orchard was treated and compared to a control orchard of the same age. In the second field trial, a 120-acre, 25-year-old orchard was treated to evaluate the ability of LALITHA 21® to extend the productive lives of old almond trees. In both trials, LALITHA 21® was added to the existing fertilizing program with no reduction in fertilizer usage.
In November 2018, the Orchard Manager, Mr. Nick Charter, conducted an evaluation of the results. His findings are as follow:
1. Young almond trees treated with LALITHA 21® grew 10% faster than untreated trees over a 3-month period, 30% faster on an annualized basis.
2. The treated young almond trees will produce the first harvest in 2019, just 2 years after planting compared to the usual 5 years.
3. Production from the old orchard in 2018, after applying LALITHA 21®, was 28% more than the previous year.
4. A freeze occurred in February 2018 affecting yield, so production for 2018 would have been greater without the freeze.
5. The old orchard is nearing the end of its productive life so a natural decline in production is expected.
6. Without adverse effects from the freeze and natural yield decline, the yield increase due to LALITHA 21® would have been greater than 28%.
The increased production in 2018 represented an additional income of $58,000 for the orchards. As a result of these observations, Mr. Nick Charter decided to apply LALITHA 21® to his other almond orchards for the 2019 growing season.