Here is this week's issue of AgFax Tree Crops.
Our thanks to BASF’s California team for once again sponsoring our coverage of tree crops in the Central Valley.
Owen Taylor, Editor
A heavy drop has become apparent in certain varieties after stormy weather in the last week. This may simply be due to a heavy load and carbohydrate balancing by the trees. Several of our contacts this week said the set generally looks good and trees are healthy. Disease pressure remains mostly low to nonexistent, our contacts continue to report.
Leaffooted bugs remain active and treatments are being made. Not everyone is dealing with the pest. But as several of our contacts have said this month, the insect has reached treatment levels sooner than usual and is being found in certain areas where it hasn’t been a known problem in the past.
May sprays have either started in almonds in isolated cases or will begin ramping up over the next 7 to 10 days.
No big issues with spider mites. Moth counts vary.
An airblast sprayer calibration workshop will be held Tuesday, April 25, from 7:30 a.m. 1 p.m. at the Nickels Soil Lab’s Green Bay site in Arbuckle. Connect to more info in our Links section.
The 2017 Nickels Soil Lab Field Day is set for Wednesday, May 10, and will cover a wide range of walnut and almond topics. The lab is located on Green Bay Road at Arbuckle. Connect to more info in our Links section.
From Our Sponsor
Dale Deshane, PCA, Supervised Control, Bakersfield:
“We’ve been having some goofy weather – plenty of wind and a rain on Tuesday. We seem to lose some almonds every time the wind blows. I’m hearing more about Montereys shedding than anything else. I was in one orchard where Montereys were interplanted with Nonpareils, and it was very obvious which trees were Montereys, based on the amount of nuts on the ground.
“We’re spraying a few blocks here and there for mites – just waiting for them to move up or increase before we treat. More sprays have been made in the last 7 to 10 days for bugs, mainly leaffooted plant bugs, and it’s been more than normal for this time of the year. Typically, we don’t do much right now for that insect, but now we’re treating in areas where we’ve never had them in the past.
“We’ve started our alternaria program in orchards where it’s a problem. This year we have shortened intervals and started treatments a little sooner to see if that helps. I’ve been really surprised about how low the disease pressure has been in general. I expected to find rust and possibly some scab by now.
“So far, I’ve only detected rust in one orchard. But things might break loose soon. Plenty of moisture is out there and the forecast calls for temperatures to move into the 90s, and that combination could trigger some disease development. That last rain averaged about 0.3 of an inch around the area, but the forecast initially said the total would only reach 0.05.
“In pheromone traps we’re picking up a few NOW but no big numbers anywhere.
“In pistachios we’re gearing up to start nutrient sprays in 7 to 10 days (from 4/21). We’re waiting for mealybug crawlers and expect to start spraying for those in mid May.
“A lot of people applied fungicides on pistachios ahead of the rain on Tuesday, although most of my clients held off. The rain went through pretty fast, then the wind picked up and things dried up quickly. One or two of my clients had some concerns about botrytis and did treat.
“We’re seeing quite a few stink bug eggs on pistachio trunks now, and we probably will include something for plant bugs with those nutrient sprays in 10 to 12 days.
“Some producing pistachios did really well last year but have a very small crop this year. However, in places we have 8- to 10-years-old trees that have a pretty good looking crop.
“Most cotton stands look decent except where we’ve had big rains off and on. Several fields had issues – crusting and root diseases – and growers replanted part of that. I’ve been in a few other fields this week where they probably should have replanted, as well. But across the board the crop looks pretty good. No mite problems yet. We did treat a few fields earlier for beetles that were migrating out of open ground into cotton.
“Alfalfa remains really clean. At Mettler we’re finding a little curly top in our earliest tomatoes, although at this point it’s what I’d consider a normal amount in any given year. We’re making preventive applications on younger tomatoes. In the last few years the beet leafhoppers were far more abundant – not just in tomatoes but in several other vegetables and even in cotton. We’re not seeing those numbers yet this year, and people are thinking that the green vegetation in the hills has held them back from migrating. But we still might see that movement in a few weeks after that vegetation dries down.
From Our Sponsor
“Over the last 10 days we’ve found a lot of cutworms in potatoes and have been treating both cutworms and loopers, especially in the last week. I haven’t had cutworms in several years, but they’re coming on strong now. Looper pressure might pick up, too. I’ve noticed plenty of looper moths at night around lights, which is a pretty good indication that they’re coming. I’m also finding looper eggs in cotton, although nothing is really hatching out that I’ve seen.”
Franz Niederholzer, UC Farm Advisor, Sutter/Yuba Counties:
“It rained a couple of nights ago (from 4/21), and the weather has been somewhat unsettled since then. The rain lately, though, really hasn’t added much water to the soil, so we’ll have to increasingly watch moisture sensors and the ET and not fall behind on moisture in almonds. Today is actually pretty nice – sunny, a breeze out of the north and about 80 degrees. We’re at the point of adding that next shot of nitrogen, the application from mid to late April.
“At the Nickels Soil Lab we set our biofix for PTB on April 5, but they’re just kind of trickling in now, based on traps. We’re not seeing spikes like we encounter in some years, and this yoyo weather has probably reduced some of the immediate movement. No eggs, either. However, we’re supposed to get into warmer conditions, with temperatures in the 50s at night, so that may prompt moths to move around more. We might see some eggs over the weekend. Over the last week temperatures have definitely been cooler, down into the upper 30s at night in some locations.
“A PCA said today (4/21) that he had yet to catch any codling moths in walnuts. But as the weather warms up, we need to be checking closely for them so we can pinpoint that biofix.”
Gary Gliddon, PCA, Treevine Consulting, Modesto:
“Everything looks good. Almond trees have a strong green color and ample growth, and we can see that there’s a crop there. The only negative factor is blast symptoms from 4 weeks ago. It obviously was a problem in a few orchards, and we’re still kind of reeling from that.
“We continue getting rain. The only irrigation so far has been to apply nitrogen. When it gets hot I’m sure we’ll see some differences. No bugs yet, leaffooted or otherwise.
“In walnuts we made blight sprays before this last rain on all the Chandlers and Howards. In past years we didn’t do as much on Chandlers, but last year some blight started showing up on them. We made one application and will see how the weather trends.
“Another rain is in the forecast next Wednesday or Thursday, although it’s hard to say how significant it will be by then. The temperature is supposed to move into the 80s today.
“We lost a few almond trees where water stood too long. We do have phytopthera issues on a few ranches where trees died, but these tend to be places where we’re always losing a few trees. Rootstock, I think, is an influence, too.”
Dean Striebich, ASI Consulting, Fresno:
“The set in almonds looks good, and Montereys seem to be the best. With the wind earlier this week I think we finished off some drop. The Nonpareils didn’t shed an overly large amount. The Montereys were the only variety that did seem to drop a large amount, but they already were loaded and bending over from the set, anyway.
“Overall, the crop looks significantly better than it did last year. However, it’s hard to say what will happen the first time it turns hot, like going from the mid 70s to the mid 90s. At least right now the trees are doing nicely and have luxuriant growth. But if the weather shifts like that, potential for lower limb dieback could increase. That happened last year in certain areas when temperatures jumped, and the syndrome hit on a wide scale in places.
“We’ve got another 5 to 6 weeks to finish nitrogen applications, and we’re working on that. No big issues are turning up. The main challenge has been working around these weekly storms when trying to apply fungicides or do herbicide treatments.
“Cotton is coming up. We have had up and down weather at planting, though, and I think we’ll see some chilling injury once there’s a load on the plant and temperatures turn hot. Some plants struggled to emerge, while others came up just fine. We still have one field of cotton left to plant. They didn’t decide to plant it until they got the 100% water allotment.”
David A. Doll, Pomology Farm Advisor, Merced County:
“We’re seeing a continuation of carbohydrate rebalancing in almond trees, AKA the June drop, although it doesn’t happen in June. People are reporting what they say is an excessively high amount of drop in Independence. I’m thinking we tend to see more drop in Independence simply because there’s more set, so I guess it’s normal to find that much.
From Our Sponsor
“Everyone is well into their fertilizer plan. This is a crop that continues to look better and better every week, even though people were negative early on about its potential. Weather mostly looks clear for the next week.
““For many people the next application will probably be the May spray. Depending on pest pressure, they might include something for NOW, PTB, rust or a miticide. Most growers will take a calendar approach. So, that application is 10 to 14 days from now (4/21)."
Sara Savary, PCA, Crop Care Associates, Fresno:
"We’re chasing leaffooted plant bugs, and that’s about the only thing going on in almonds. Earlier this month we sprayed everything I have near citrus and some other hosts. On the west side we’ve started our May spray. We had some leaffooted bugs around, although they weren’t doing much damage. But I found an immature in there yesterday (4/21). So I assume they’re hatching, and we’ll pick them up with the May spray.
“It’s a little early to start the May spray, but I’m going with something that will last a little longer. PTB are supposed to start hatching around May 3. Populations in my traps have been kind of high on the one ranch where I am spraying right now. At that location they didn’t do sanitation early, then it started raining and sanitation never got underway. The NOW trap counts are pretty high, too.
“Walnuts are in various stages, from post bloom to bloom, depending on the variety. With all this rain, everything got a blight spray. Codling moth sprays probably won’t go out until the middle of May. We haven’t caught many moths in the 1A flight, and we’ll wait and see how the 1B flight goes.
““No spider mites are turning up in anything due to the rain. Except for leaffooted bugs in almonds, the only other insects I’m treating are katydids in citrus and nectarines.
“Our cotton planting has started. Some pre-irrigation began in fields where we expected to have carrots but it got too wet to plant, so that will shift to cotton now.
“In these recent drought years we were pretty active with insecticide programs in tomatoes,, going with a couple of drip applications and then following with a spray. But I haven’t found any aphids, thrips or leafhoppers in tomatoes, so we haven’t treated yet. The curly top report indicates that leafhopper levels are low in the foothills, with that vegetation still green, so they haven’t moved. And the reports indicate low levels of infection. As far as thrips go, I think I found one on a nightshade plant this week.”
Airblast Sprayer Calibration Field Day, Arbuckle, April 25 4-7
Noted UC Entomologist Larry Godfrey Dies 4-22
California Almonds: When to Apply the 1st Irrigation?/span> 4-21
California Almonds: Management Considerations for Spring and Early Summer 4-21
Nickels Field Day Set For May 10, Arbuckle4-23
California Almonds: Dealing with Nutrient Deficiencies in a Wet Spring/span> 4-21
California Almonds: April Showers Bring Yellowing Krymsk? 4-20
California Almonds: Bloom Review – What Went Right or Wrong in 2017 4-20
California Almonds: Waterlogged Orchards? Here’s What to Expect 4-20
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