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
May sprays in almonds continue in parts of our coverage area.
Gummy almonds are turning up in places. See comments by David Doll and connect in our Links section to a related blog post from him.
Spider mites remain mostly in the background. Any disease issues this week seem to be localized.
Treatments for plant bugs and stink bugs are mostly on the decline now that more shells are hardening.
In walnuts, codling moth applications continue on the 1B flight.
A walnut pruning and management field day is set for Wednesday, May 31, in a research plot east of Atwater. The event starts at 8:30 a.m. Connect to more details in our links section.
How soil health principles affect farming system performance will be covered in a half-day training workshop in Five Points on June 6 beginning at 9 a.m. Connect to more details in our Links section.
Chris Morgner, PCA, Agri-Valley Consulting, Merced
“Kernel fill in almonds is moving along. As far as pests go, the last time we sprayed any leaffooted bugs or other big bugs was last week or maybe the week before. That’s been the only pest in this crop so far.
“On a couple of ranches we started finding rust, the first time this year. Those orchards were sprayed for rust about 2 weeks ago. In both locations the growers put on a lot of water, plus they tend to run longer sets, so that might explain why rust developed in those specific orchards. That’s not to say we won’t start finding rust here and there next week, but so far it’s been limited to those places. /p>
“Otherwise, almonds are pretty clean and quiet. We’re into our normal irrigation and fertilizer programs for this point in the season.
“In pistachios, some lesions are showing up due to big bugs. We’re not finding a lot of it, overall, but some people feel like they should spray. With most of the pistachios I check, this is the first year that those trees are bearing, so we’re not being too aggressive about this. With those young trees it’s questionable whether enough crop will be produced to justify taking the same approach we would with older trees.
“The weather has been really nice. It was somewhat hot on Tuesday, but then temperatures slipped into the high 60s and low 70s for the next couple of days. That pattern is supposed to hold in place until the middle of next week, with maybe a chance of rain about then. /p>
““Tomatoes are really quiet. We’ve seen just a smattering of loopers. We decided to treat in the fresh market tomatoes but didn’t do anything in the process tomatoes.”
John Moore, PCA, Growers Crop Consulting, Bakersfield
“Almonds are growing well and pest pressure is light. Mites are practically nonexistent. I can find signs of where they were, and we sprayed a couple of orchards. But what I’m finding this week are just scattered eggs and very small numbers of adults here and there. They might break loose at some point, but they certainly haven’t yet.
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“Almonds are at 75% to 100% kernel fill. The weather was warm this past week, but temperatures have moderated now. It’s 72 and overcast (late afternoon, 5/12). For this time of the year, it’s a different kind of day.
“Our NOW trap counts are running light right now. We went through that hot spell earlier and then the counts went up to 20 at one point. After that the numbers fell off pretty quickly. If I’m finding 2 in a trap now, that’s a lot.
“I also collect mummies and monitor emergence at home, and I’ve never seen emergence climb as fast as it did in a short time. It really skyrocketed, then dropped off. All that makes me believe that a big part of emergence was compressed into a short window and not drawn out for 10 to 14 days like we might see more often. Getting that tight pattern could make sprays more effective, I believe.
“In pistachios, we applied a fungicide and foliar nutrients this past week.”
Brian Gogue, PCA, Helena Chemical Co., Hanford
“We haven’t treated for plant bugs or stink bugs in almonds in the last 10 days (from 5/12), but we made quite a number of applications prior to that. We went across one of the larger west side ranches for plant bugs and applied a miticide and a NOW material at the same time.
“We treated another ranch for NOW where we were finding more pressure. Those applications started last week and extended into this week. Otherwise, things are clean. I’m not finding mites. No rust is turning up, even in areas where I expect it. Last week we did treat PTB in some second- and third-leaf trees.
“In pistachios, we’ve been treating some bugs, mostly lygus, with a little stink bug activity, too. Along with seeing the bugs, damage is present here and there. In grapes, we saw a significant increase in powdery mildew. It’s strictly on the leaves. We found nothing the week before, then this week it was there. Those grapes were probably 14 days out from our previous application. This happened on different varieties in a couple of vineyards in one area.
“Our cotton is doing okay. Growing conditions improved somewhat and plants are looking better in our older fields. But with this current cooler weather, crop development is slow.
“Alfalfa is as quiet as it can be. Tomatoes are pretty quiet, as well. I did find a couple of plants this week with tomato spotted wilt virus. We’ve been making treatments for thrips, both systemic and some foliars. This weather has certainly varied. We had been running in the 70s, then hit that hotter period and the high spiked at 104 at one point. Now we’re back in the 70s. In about a week we’re supposed to be in the 90s again.”
Franz Niederholzer, UC Farm Advisor, Sutter/Yuba Counties
“This weather has been up and down. At the moment (late afternoon, 5/12) my truck thermometer shows 72. The forecast calls for a chance of rain next week, but just slight amounts.
“The almond crop is progressing. This inconsistent weather may be throwing off pest cycles. I’m not seeing any spray rigs running for fungicides or anything else. Some people may still be chasing leaffooted plant bugs, but that’s a local situation if anything is going on. It’s too early for mites. Growers are irrigating and are still planting trees.”
David A. Doll, Pomology Farm Advisor, Merced County
“Almonds are moving right along and are about halfway through kernel fill. If anything, we’re close to having a ‘normal year’ – which we haven’t seen in a while. I’m finding a few cases of uptake burn, mainly nitrogen. Verticillium wilt may be turning up in places after the higher heat levels last week.
“I’m getting calls about gummy nuts, and growers are trying to sort out the cause. In places, gum is oozing out of sutures or the sides of hulls. Some of that is due to kernel expansion, which is causing internal damage.
“In other cases, it may be due to leaffooted plant bugs or stink bugs. In certain instances it could be traced to boron deficiency. If the kernel is gummy and no stinger hole is present, it’s probably due to boron deficiency. If you find a stinger hole and gumming, some type of bug probably caused it.
“Shells are mostly hard enough that feeding by plant bugs or stink bugs might not matter much. Their punctures could cause gumming, although the insects wouldn’t be able to punch into the nuts. Check closely and don’t assume that you need to automatically spray. Once those bugs realize that there’s nothing for them to feed on, they’ll move out of orchard pretty quickly. So it would be pointless to treat, anyway.
“Nitrogen and potassium are going out. Zinc deficiency is showing up in places, especially on 2- and 3-year-old almond trees that are rapidly growing. It’s been relative cool, so water use is lower than we’d expect in high-heat days.
“In young walnut orchards I’m finding that irrigation isn’t needed right now. Soil moisture reserves are still enough. If that’s the case, we may have older walnut orchards that don’t immediately need water, either. It’s a good time to pull out the pressure chamber and check. The 1B codling moth sprays in walnuts are going out in places.”
Rick Foell, Field Manager, Capay Farms, Hamilton City
“Almonds are sizing and they’re about half full. The size is actually pretty good, although that might be due to a lighter crop. I’m still thinking that we’ll be off 10%. In places, the crop looks better than that, but I’m also seeing areas where it’s perhaps not so good.
“We’re finishing the final nitrogen shot and are starting potassium to finish out the fill. Our youngest trees are receiving a PTB spray. Our May cover sprays are going out for mites and/or NOW. We’re seeing enough NOW egg laying to be concerned. Since the mite spray is going out, we’re including something to knock down NOW populations a little. Mainly, we’re concentrating on fields where we had a problem last year or where we have a history of NOW.
“In walnuts, we just wrapped up a blight spray and also included something to cover the 1B codling moth flight because those numbers had jumped up so much. The trend with codling moth is kind of spotty. I was talking with growers at an IPM meeting who said they were catching 10 male moths a night. The threshold is 2, which is about what we were hitting. The nutlets are at roughly a half-inch size.
“We were about to start irrigation, so we decided to go ahead and treat now. Typically, we spray on the 2A flight, so this is a little early for us.”
California Walnuts: Atwater Field Day Set For May 315-6
California Almonds: Gummy Almonds? Possible Causes5-13
California Almonds: Production Forecast 2.8% Above Last Year5-10
California: Soil Management Training, Five Points, June 65-9
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Leaffooted plant bug on an almond.
Photo: Andrew Moore,
Growers Crop Consulting, Bakersfield.
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