“Leafout lagged in some orchards – particularly with Montereys – and blocks struggled to leaf out, even though the trees had set a good crop.
“Most almond blocks received 1 to 2 bloom sprays and a post-petal-fall spray to control disease. Most of our rain this year came early, with no significant or long-term rain into April.
“Walnuts set a decent crop, with some varieties showing more doubles and triples than singles. Growers have started their first fertilizer applications over the last couple of weeks. A lot of Chandler orchards are straggling on leafout, with delayed budding, too.
“Growers have been able to make one or two blight sprays in walnuts, which is fairly typical. We are approaching the spray timing for the first-generation 1A flight of codling moth, and we are catching large numbers of moths in our traps in certain areas.
“We are monitoring for navel orangeworm in walnuts to gain an idea about pressure and life cycle patterns. NOW has been more of a problem in walnuts in recent years due to the increase in almond orchards in the area. Although damage is not a concern until husk split, we’re continuing to monitor them so we can assess the need to treat if the time comes.
“Foliar applications of zinc and other nutrients are going out. This is a good time to get zinc into the tree before leaves harden off. Some growers will apply zinc to the ground and others will spray an early application.
“The prune crop appears fairly light, with some exceptions. Prunes thrive in wet and cool bloom conditions, but this year’s warm weather left us with a lighter-than-expected crop.”
Aaron Beene, PCA, Simplot Grower Solutions, Merced
“Overall, the almond crop looks heavy and clean, disease-wise. In orchards with three- to six-year-old trees, some primary branches are breaking due to heavy crops. Growers are topping and hedging to keep from losing large limbs. Even some trees that were tied are breaking at the rope from heavy branches.
“We see traces of jacket rot and green fruit rot from the heavy rains earlier in the season. Mostly, the disease pressure is in the pollinators and persistent through the blocks.
“We are checking historical hot spots for leaffooted plant bugs but haven’t found high populations. The nuts are starting to solidify and they will only be susceptible to damage for a few more weeks.
“We did find stink bug in blocks near riparian areas. No signs of mites yet. However, mite pressure will likely increase as temperatures rise.
“Growers are halfway through their nitrogen programs for the year. The remaining nitrogen applications will go out in May and June. Leaf sample collections will ensure that we’re meeting nutrient needs.
“Mummy sprays will begin next week for navel orangeworm and peach twig borer. Depending on a block’s history, applications could include some combination of miticides, insecticides and fungicides. By mid-May, we probably will finish those applications.
“Navel orangeworm trap counts have climbed over the past few weeks, and the bulk of egg laying and flights will likely occur in the first couple of weeks in May.
“Nitrogen fertilizer applications started in pistachios last week. Nutrient foliar sprays will begin, as well. We continue to monitor for plant bugs.
“Walnut size is progressing and we continue evaluating the growing crop. Nitrogen applications started, as well. In May, we will begin botryosphaeria sprays where needed. Codling moth pressure remains low.”