“Scale traps are going out in place and peach twig borer and navel orangeworm traps will be out soon, too.
“A few of our growers are fertilizing, and more will begin soon. More irrigation is starting up.
“Cherries are beginning to bloom. Pistachios aren’t progressing yet.”
Franz Niederholzer, UC Farm Advisor, Colusa, Sutter and Yuba Counties
“We’ve had beautiful weather lately and not a cloud in the sky – unseasonably warm this week with maximum temperatures in the mid-70s. The forecast calls for a small storm over the weekend, which is supposed to bring temperatures down slightly, but they will ramp up again, based on the forecast. Chances of weekend rain range from 10% to 50%, depending on locations across the northern part of the state.
“I heard this could be the driest February on record if we do not have rainfall before Sunday, March 1. The last measurable rain was the middle of January.
“With the dry weather and low humidity over the last week, only limited fungicide spraying has started in our area.
“Nitrogen is being applied mostly through fertigation. The orchards are dry enough they will take in partial irrigation.
“Bloom is primarily at petal fall. Surprisingly, we’re still seeing white flowers on the trees, although more green leaves are obvious now. Aldrich still has robust flowers showing on trees. Winters variety showed leaves simultaneously with bloom.
“There have been 50% allocation rations for the western side of the north state. We will see if that changes, depending on March rainfall. Timely water and fertilizers will be the primary goals this year for growers. But wet weather is in the forecast for March 6 to March 12, which is good news.
“Insect traps might be going up early this year from lack of rain and a possible increase in insect pressure. Navel orangeworm monitoring traps should be up no later than March 15 in our region.”
Nathan Stewart, PCA, AgVantage Consulting, Inc., Visalia
“Most orchards in our area are at petal fall. We are currently running 7 to 10 days behind on bloom, but we are projecting to catch up. This last week, temperatures were warmer than average, which helps pick up the pace.
“Our growers did no spraying during bloom time. We are seeing a small amount of leaf out now, so we started foliar sprays. Because of the dry weather, we can do the foliar and fungicide sprays together. The east side was the first area to get completed.
“A small amount of rain fell last weekend – mainly on the eastside, near Ivanhoe to Porterville measuring 2 to 3 tenths of an inch. Meanwhile, Hanford and Tipton only received one-tenth, if anything. We are anticipating higher chances of rain in the next few weeks.
“Growers started their first round of fertilizer and nitrogen going in through irrigation systems. Most have drip or micro sprinklers. We are behind on precipitation, prompting growers to irrigate.
“Growers are experiencing difficulties with preemergent herbicides due to lack of rain, and a few had to retreat in places. The soil needs a quarter-inch of moisture for the preemergent to work well, and weeds are a bit of a challenge this go around.
“Pistachios are progressing, with early varieties starting into budswell. Growers will begin budswell applications in the next couple of weeks with mixtures of urea, zinc and boron.
“Walnuts are pretty quiet and buds are just starting to swell. Growers are starting partial irrigation to ensure moisture in the soil profile before bloom.”
Jhalendra Rijal, Area IPM Advisor, Northern San Joaquin Valley
“It has been a good season for bloom, with no rain affecting the progress and none in the forecast.
“We’ve started setting out navel orangeworm pheromone traps. We should put egg traps out by mid-March. Egg traps help us set the spring biofix and calculate degree days.