When a tree dies and is removed, there is always a question of whether to replant in that spot. The decision of whether to replant an individual tree is a gamble that the replant will become established and produce enough to offset its associated costs by the end of the orchard’s life.
A decision that is an automatic “yes” early in the orchard’s life becomes more complicated as the orchard ages.
The shading from surrounding trees, and the ensuing low probability of successful vigorous growth weighs against the desire to replant and establish lost production.
DeBuse and Krueger noted that if the orchard floor has over 75% shade at midday, the chance of a successful replant is slim. However, UC Davis Walnut Specialist Bruce Lampinen believes that a successful replant is dubious in orchards with over 60% shading.
If the decision to replant has been automatic for you, pause to consider the cost of an unsuccessful replant and first evaluate how much light is available to the new tree.
After weighing the success of the replant and evaluating why the original tree died, if you do replant, follow the best practices to help nurture this investment.
Root removal, possible spot fumigation, nursery product selection, and correct planting are the key steps. Of these, nursery product selection is a particularly critical step, if possible, tailor the choice of rootstock to the main source of tree loss.
As part of nursery selection, choosing a bareroot over a potted tree is typically ideal because you are starting with a tree that is larger and easier to manage.
Once the replant is in place, the tree stands little success without paying extra attention to the need to modify irrigation and fertilization.