This si a critical time in the orchard. The fruit bud that is forming on the new growth needs moisture and fertility to ripen properly. This fruit bud will produce the flowers and then fruit for next years harvest. The chickens spent a winter in this orchard two years ago and we can still see the residual fertility in the vibrant green of the leaves. Overnight we gave the trees a good sprinkling of water.
In future years when the trees need some extra fertility we will run a chicken tractor down the row. This will provide about 100 lbs of nitrogen per acre to stimulate the growth of the trees. We want the trees to grow well but not too lush resulting in too much pruning and the risk of every other year fruiting.