Last week we did a bianchetto plantation with the students from a Forestry School of Catalonia.
The idea is to create a mixed orchard of hazels, cork oak and Pinus pinea, a pine that produces edible pine nuts, and to study how Tuber borchii performs on each host tree. At the same time this combination can have a great interest in our mediterranean climate, as all trees have secondary non wood products, that combinated all thogether can get an important income to the owner.
In the picture above, you can see the estimated production of each product and their value in the market.
most pines start to produce pine cones from when they are 15 years old, but some new techniques have been developed to graft, in 4 years old pines, branches from mature pines, so the next year the pine starts to form pine cones, that will develope for three years before being ready to harvest.
This soil had an initial pH of 5,5 so we added 30 tons of crushed limestone rock to raise the pH up to 7,8. As Tuber borchii gives better yields at this pH, although in south Portugal borchii has been found associated naturally with cork oak at pH 5,5. Quercus suber (the cork oak) prefers acid soils, although the lime stone was plowed just on the top 20cm of soil.
All the best,
Marcos S. Morcillo