The orchard floor needs to be prepared before nut drop to make harvesting efficient and to reduce the amount of material that might contaminate harvested nuts.
Before beginning flailing or harvesting, the orchard floor must be smooth and even:
- Remove mounds of soil around tree trunks so the sweeper can run right up to the trunk.
- Flail or mow the orchard floor low to the ground so that the ripe, fallen nuts can be easily harvested. By flailing in two directions, creating ruts is avoided. That is where proper orchard design comes in.
- Roll the orchard floor firmly to make it flatter and smoother, allowing the sweeper brushes to sweep the hazelnuts off the ground efficiently as it passes. One may still need to use a leveling device and pull a float (rectangular metal frame) to smooth the orchard floor surface before harvest to fill in small depressions in the soil that harbor harvestable nuts. Especially in wet climates there will be many dew worm bumps that need evening out and in dry climates there may be gopher holes that will swallow the harvest.