Thursday, April 30, 2009

Royal Oak Farm to Host 2009 Illinois Horticultural Day

The Illinois Summer Horticulture Field Day is scheduled for Thursday, June 11, 2009 at Royal Oak Farm near Harvard, Illinois beginning at 8:30 a.m. Three generations of the Bianchini and Norton families operate Royal Oak Farm, a fun & entertainment operation on a beautiful 160-acre setting.  Presently there are more than 12,000 apple trees, including 24 varieties of apples.  About 600 new trees will be added this year in a replacement program. Other products for sale include raspberries, gourds, squash, and pumpkins. Site features include an entertainment area, market and bakery and a country restaurant that operates from August into November.  With a large pavilion, special events include concerts, hay rides, weddings, school tours, etc. Plus the family offers area schools fund-raising opportunities.

Royal Oak Farm utilizes three apple tree growing systems, central leader at 10"-12' centers on M7/M111/Mark rootstocks, vertical axe at 8' centers on M26/Bud9/M9 and tall spindle at 4' centers on Bud9/M9.  after_2 (Small)The process of converting the vertical axe to tall spindle by inter-planting new Bud9 trees between the 4-5 year old trees and re-training the vertical axe to tall spindle is underway.   This spring they plan to begin propagating some of their own trees on G11 and G16 rootstocks.  All of their new trees are being replanted where old trees once existed and they are making use of nematode fighting crop covers to overcome replant disease.  The orchard has been in a crop cover program for two seasons and will also be utilizing a crop cover program for pumpkins this spring.  Royal Oak Farm has used IPM practices for over 10 years and began a bio-intensive IPM program in 2006.  An bio-intensive IPM program utilizes such products as codling moth virus, a weed-badger for in row weed control as well as the use of cover crops.  

For more information and/or reservations call Don Naylor, Executive Secretary at 309/530-7678 (cell), email at ilsthortsoc@yahoo.com, or mail a check for $25 per person for advance reservations to: I.S.H.S., 15962 Old Orchard Rd, Bloomington, IL 61705. Advance reservation deadline is the June 9. Registration at door is $30.