“We haven’t needed a miticide in April for a few years, but this year it may be necessary, so we may be reverting to a more normal scenario. The bulk of our orchards today have fewer mites than a few weeks ago due to rain and predator activity. We are seeing thrips larvae populations.
“Orchards are wet now, but over the next ten days, higher temperatures will help dry out fields for the upcoming sprays. Across the area, three-quarters to over an inch of rain fell from the larger storm through last Monday.
“A few growers haven’t started fertilizer yet. However, most are nearing the end of their current cycles.
“Pistachios are starting to push bloom. Leaves are out in Golden Hills. In Kermans, we’re finding one inch to 1.5-inch-long buds.
“We are setting navel orangeworm traps this week in pistachios. A few growers set them out last week, and we have already scouted for eggs. It’s relatively normal to get high activity in the first week.
“A limited amount of tomato planting started before the last storm, and a preventive fungicide application went on for bacterial speak.”
Nathan Stewart, PCA, AgVantage Consulting, Inc., Visalia
“This week of rain has helped the trees but also prevented us from getting in the field. Scattered rain varied by location across the region over the last couple of weeks, with two-plus inches in places.
“Yesterday, people reported hail from Tipton to Reedley. The hail lasted from 10 to 15 minutes on the west side of the valley and maybe 10 minutes on the east side. The size of the hailstones was larger on the west side, as well.
“Hail had the potential to knock down developing almonds. When coupled with wind, it could be devastating. Damage assessments in stonefruit are underway. We did not see a large amount of nut drop before. However, I expect to find more now.
“Considering the warm-up in the forecast for next week, diseases will likely pop up. Before the rain, leaffooted plant bug was showing up. We will see populations grow as the weather warms up, but we will hold off on treatments until pressure builds.
“We will be monitoring for shot hole. We scouted for navel orangeworm moths before all the rain. With the change in weather, we will likely see an uptick in flights again.
“Another round of fungicides will probably go on before the 5-week post-petal-fall window.
“I’m reminding growers to keep up with fertilizer applications regardless of rain. Weeds are popping up again, so we will need another herbicide to maintain control. We had a lack of rain early, but all this later rain is increasing weed growth.
“Pistachio budswell sprays are going on early varieties. Kerman is pushing and will have buds showing in 7 to 10 days. Pistachio growers will be fertilizing with boron over the next 7 days.
“Ivanhoe walnuts are progressing as well as Serrs. Growers are applying ReTain with blight sprays in earlier varieties of Ivanhoe and Serrs. Nutlets are becoming visible with both varieties.”
Chris Cucuk, Cucuk Consulting Inc., Bakersfield
“Rain is helping to hold mite populations on the lower limbs, and pressure seems low. The odds of needing a mite spray before April are minimal at this point.
“As soon as we can get in the orchards again, the next round of fungicide will start for alternaria, rust and scab. April 1 to April 15 will be the ideal spray window for prevention in our area.
“Fertilizer applications continue, and irrigation is needed to incorporate them.