Pulverising prunings: clearing your orchard and vineyard rows

When it comes to clearing the orchard or vineyard rows of prunings, pulverising or flail mowing in situ is the easiest, most environmentally friendly, and sustainable approach.

Burning the debris may look photogenic, and can provide a bit of natural warmth for the pruning team, but it pollutes the air and upsets neighbours. Going to the trouble of removing the canes from the row is also time-consuming, unnecessary use of the labour force and deprives orchard and vineyard managers of the opportunity to improve the health of the soil.

With the right machinery, pulverising, mulching and shredding prunings can be quick and effective, and is a great way to add humus to the soil. Below, we take a look at some of the best pulverisers and brush sweeps from Perfect van Wamel.

The KK

Designed to deal with heavier working conditions, the Perfect Van Wamel KK mower series will chop prunings up to 10cm diameter, as well as grass and other vegetation such as weeds and cover crops. 

When fitted with the side chutes, the KK mower can be used to distribute organic matter at the base of the trunks to provide nutrients and act as a blanket barrier to discourage further weed growth.

The Variochop

The Variochop shredder from Perfect van Wamel can be front- or rear-mounted and gives growers the additional option to adjust the PTO speed.

By changing the position of the V-belt pulleys, operators can select between 540, 750 or 1000 rpm depending on the positioning of the pulveriser and the capabilities of the tractor.

In particular, the 750 rpm option will allow operators with larger tractors to drive the machine with a reduced engine speed to limit fuel consumption and improved efficiency.

With working widths of 135, 150, 180 and 210 cm, the Variochop is suited to work in a range of orchard and vineyard setups. The heavy construction, typical for Perfect products, and the standard 2.2kg flails, also allow for shredding of prunings up to 8cm in diameter.

Growers who want to make year-round use of the machine can also choose to fit Perfect’s Combi flails. These not only make light work of pulverising wood, but also give a very nice and even cut in grass.

The BG2 and BK2

The Variochop range is a follow-up to the existing BGM and BKM series. Capable of pulverising prunings up to 10cm diameter, the BG2 pulverisers have found favour with growers for being heavy-duty and compact, with a low profile of just 51cm.

To maximise the cutting width, the flail rotor bearings are mounted inside the frame and there is a full-width rear roller that provides excellent stability and easy handling. 

Many find it easy to work around overhanging branches or laterals which slide over the contoured frame. There is also the Perfect BK2, which is the same as the BG2 but comes with additional rear rake tines which lift smaller, thinner prunings and improve mulching.

Brush sweeps

To effectively clear rows from leaves, remaining fruit, prunings and any other debris in just one pass growers can also opt to add a brush sweep to their pulverisers.

The Perfect double-sided front-mounted brush sweep is designed to work in conjunction with a rear-mounted pulveriser in orchards and vineyards with row widths from 2.80m to 4.10m.

The brushes are made of highly resistant synthetic material and spin at approximately 140 to 160 rpm. Each head has a support wheel for optimal terrain adjustment and hydraulic rams are fitted to adjust the working width and lift the sweeper into transport position.

There is also a single-sided brush sweep which can be front-mounted or can be mounted onto a rear-mounted pulveriser.

For more information on orchard and vineyard pulverisers and brush sweeps, please phone the sales team on 01580 712200 or email sales@npseymour.co.uk