renovating an old orchard

Vashon, WA(Zone 8a)

Hello all -
I've got about .5 acres of an old apple and plum orchard. I've got a handle on slowly bring the trees back in to proper shape (the last pruning job was simply criminal), and I've got some new trees going in this year to balance out some blank spots. One of the things I'd like to do is get rid of all the grass and blackberry growing up in and around the orchard, but I am not certain what would be the best way to do it. Laying down cardboard and mulch is one option, but there are voles in the neighborhood that have been known to live under that nice protective covering and then go eat the bark off the trees. There's the herbicide approach, but I am concerned that the amount needed might not do great things for the trees themselves. I thought about slowly going and turning over the ground a bit, but I really don't want to disturb the root systems of the mature trees.

Any suggestions?

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