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The first hull split spray has wrapped up on a wide basis and second applications have started in the lower San Joaquin Valley.


How often a third hull split application might be made is an unknown and hinges on several variables. But after heavy NOW damage in places last year, at least some third sprays seem likely.


Spider mites are building in more areas. No huge problems were reported. But because of spider mite issues over the last couple of years, miticides have been or will be a component in hull split applications this year.




Sara Savary, PCA, Crop Care Associates, Fresno:

“We’ve just finished our first hull split spray. I think the second spray will start in the last week of July or the first week of August. I don’t believe I will do a second spray on the Independence because we’ll probably shake those early enough that we can avoid a second spray.  


“In the Nonpareils, I can see splits around the edges and a little in the field, but the Nonpareils seem to be moving kind of slowly. The Independence did that last year, too, and I kept wondering when they would split – then suddenly they did.


“Spider mites are coming up. I included a miticide with the first hull split spray. That’s my practice when we come to hull split and the forecast calls for 7 to 9 days of 100-degree highs. Mites have come up on the walnuts and stone fruit, too.


“In walnuts, we’re starting to move into the third codling moth spray, and a big hatch has been underway. This is past the 2B spray. I’m just starting to catch one or two husk flies in those traps. Those aren’t big numbers but we at least know they’re showing up.


“In cotton, spider mites are coming up in all of my flood-irrigated cotton. We’re applying a miticide in those fields because I won’t be able to get back in after the next irrigation starts. Cotton looks good and it’s blooming well.


“I haven’t had a lot of bug pressure in cotton. One flight of lygus came out of alfalfa and we had to spray. I’m now finding immatures in a block we haven’t sprayed yet, so we’re into a hatch. I haven’t seen much beet or other armyworm pressure in tomatoes but we are picking up a few fruitworms.”


Jhalendra Rijal, Area IPM Advisor, Northern San Joaquin Valley:

“Most people started hull split sprays before the Fourth of July or just after it. For different reasons, a few growers did not make that first application until this week. The general timing for starting the first spray was around July 6-7. For those making the second application, it should begin in a July 20-22 window, based on making the second spray 14 days later.


“Spider mites are a little more obvious now. I think that many people went ahead and included a miticide with the first spray. My recommendation has been to include the miticide with the second application to stretch protection to harvest, provided growers will make a second spray. But every orchard and situation is different, so I guess that some people felt more comfortable getting the miticide out early.


“With NOW traps, the moth counts – both male and female – were somewhat lower this week compared to the previous week. I’m still seeing egg laying on the egg traps. In the Modesto area on July 10, the egg count was 5 per trap, which wasn’t that different than 2 weeks ago.


“There have been reports of stink bug activity in the Oakdale area, which is on the east side of Stanislaus County. Even though we are seeing strikes, it does not seem like there is any damage to the kernels. We saw Consperse and other stink bugs in some of those orchards but no evidence of brown marmorated stink bugs.



“So, stink bugs are out there in big numbers but are really not harming kernels where I’ve been, and I don’t see a need to spray.


“In walnuts, codling moth counts in my traps were low overall but significantly higher than what we found in the previous weeks. This seems to be the 2B flight and we are on the front end of it. Based on our biofix and degree-day accumulations, today (7/13) is the time to initiate treatments if the trap counts and nut sampling warrant.”


Franz Niederholzer, UC Farm Advisor, Colusa and Sutter/Yuba Counties:

“I don’t see much splitting in other varieties (as of 7/13) other than the Nonpareils, but they are moving well. I hope the warm weather forecast doesn’t slow down nut maturity.


“Most growers have one hull split spray out on Nonpareils and I think that most people plan to come back in a week or two with a second application. Traps monitored by Emily Symmes (Sacramento Valley Area IPM Advisor) indicate that the third-generation egg laying will likely start in the last few days of July or perhaps the first few days of August. That forecast matches what we are seeing at Nickels Soil Lab.


“That would be early for the southern Sacramento Valley and Nonpareils could be exposed to the entire third generation of navel orangeworm (NOW). The sooner you can get nuts off the tree, especially this year, the better off your reject sheets should be. I’m not pushing for a premature harvest, but if the crop is ready, don’t delay.


“Make sure what you shake is dry before pickup. If the nuts can’t go through the huller the day you pick them up, they shouldn’t go into a stockpile, either. Stockpiling wet nuts equals mold and/or concealed damage.


“I still haven’t seen that many mites.


“With hull split going now, it’s time for nutrient leaf sampling in almonds. Also, keep in mind the current recommendation for nitrogen applications in walnuts – 25% of the budget every month between May and August.


“We’re still not catching husk fly at the Nickels Soil Lab but I hear spotty trap catches are out there in places.


“The weather today has been particularly weird – warmish with a few drops of rain on the windshield, probably from the tail end of monsoonal weather down south – nothing measurable. This weekend, forecasts are for highs in the low 100s around the Sacramento Valley, and at least one weather site predicts max temperatures above 100 for much of the next 10 to 12 days.”


Gary Gliddon, PCA, Treevine Consulting, Modesto:

“Splitting has been a field-by-field deal, with a lot of the differences to do with soil types – sand versus heavier ground. Where it’s sandy and maybe a little drier, hull split is past 1%, maybe up to 5% or more. Where guys are on heavier ground and did a better job with irrigation, almonds have just barely started splitting.


“Pretty much everyone has sprayed once. A lot of that started on the Fourth of July. People said to heck with the holiday and began hull split applications. A lot of growers are done with the first application or are finishing up now.


“No mites so far. Most sprays did include a miticide. Many of the growers will come back with a second hull split shot, maybe a few as early as next weekend, probably with a pyrethroid. NOW are still flying. I’m getting activity on most of my traps, mainly eggs being laid, and I expect to see more emergence.


“From what I can figure, this seems to be the beginning of the flight more than the middle of it, and more are coming.


“In walnuts, we put on a botryosphaeria spray. As best we could figure, that also coincided with timing for the codling moth flight, so we included something for them with most sprays. We haven’t been catching a lot of codling moths but had a biofix and went with the degree-day timing, which put that right around that period for the botryosphaeria spray.”


Dale Deshane, PCA, Supervised Control, Bakersfield:

“Mites are finally catching up with our little trees, the first and second leaf almonds. That’s been happening in the last couple of weeks and we’ve been treating those.


“Our first hull split sprays went out on June 25 and we’ve already made 2 sprays on those trees. That second application went out 4 days ago (from 7/13). Otherwise, a few sprays went on right before the Fourth of July and then it picked up after the holiday and continued on. So, quite a few growers are into their second treatment now.


“In blocks where trap counts are low, we will go with one spray. But we are treating a second time where moth counts were consistent all year and quite a few mummies were present.


“In some blocks, it’s pretty easy to find early splits with worms. It’s hard to say if that’s an indication that we’re in another bad year with NOW. As much as you hate it, you always can find some early splits with worms. We’ll get through the second spray on the Nonpareils and start watching the Fritz, Montereys and some of the pollinator varieties to see what happens. But as things are looking, we could end up with a third spray on a lot of blocks.


“Overall, very few blocks might be shaken in July. We’re a good 2 weeks out from any shaking, but the majority of it will begin in the first week of August. In a lot of blocks, we’re only seeing sutures, no splits yet.


“We went a little earlier with hull split sprays this year and did a lot more of those first applications by air, thinking we’d gain better coverage on tops of trees. On quite a few of those blocks, we came back by ground, hoping to gain more coverage on the bottom and middle parts of the trees. We’ve discussed that option for a while and decided to try it this year.


“Mites are finally starting to come in on our big trees. With the second spray, we’re including a miticide and hope that prevents mites from blowing up at harvest like they have in the last couple of years. We’re now having problems with mites blowing into almonds and cotton from corn that’s being cut. With the hot weather, mites built to heavy levels in some corn.


“Our bad areas for alternaria are bad this year, too, and it’s increasing every week where we have it. Otherwise, we’re holding up pretty well with diseases. Rust and scab remain light. Except for those problem areas, alternaria isn’t an issue.


“In pistachios, any mealy bug populations amount to just traces here and there. We’ve applied different materials and will see what happens with each of those.


“In cotton, we’re not treating as much for adult lygus as we have in the last couple of weeks, but we are making some applications now for immature lygus. Sometimes when we’re applying Pix, we’re including something for those. We’ve treated a few fields for aphids, but we’ve applied a lot of Transform for lygus, and that’s mostly covered aphids.



“We treated a few fields for saltmarsh caterpillars. My first whitefly treatment will go out tomorrow in cotton south of Bakersfield but we probably will be doing more in the next 7 to 10 days. Whitefly may be here a little earlier than they were last year.


“Cotton looks good. Some of the Pima is loaded from top to bottom. We’re treating upland this week for twospotted spider mites, which began blowing up. Typically, we have to treat upland varieties for mites around mid-July.


“Tomato harvest started last Sunday (7/8). So far, yields have been fantastic. We are having problems with what we call southern blight, which is caused a fungus in the soil that kills roots. As temperatures increase, it gets worse. In later tomatoes, we’re seeing some going down and it seems to be more widespread this year and in places where we haven’t seen it in the past.


“We’ve treated once in tomatoes for worms and that was about a month ago. Alfalfa is still pretty clean. We’re finding a little cowpea aphid on corners but nothing is taking off. With worms, we’ve been able to cut ahead of the need to spray, but we’re seeing some butterflies now and we may get hit with worms ahead of the next cutting. So far this year, I have not sprayed any alfalfa for aphids or worms.”


David A. Doll, Pomology Farm Advisor, Merced County:

“Most of the county is at least in the first stages of hull split. Exceptions might be where almonds are on heavier soils or where more vigorous root stock was used. Those blocks may not be as far along.


“A lot of people have made the first hull split spray. In some cases, they maybe went too early. We’ll see how that pans out.


“In a lot of locations, it’s almost time to revert to full irrigation where trees were put into stress at the onset of hull split. Typically, we do that for 2 to 3 weeks for hull rot prevention, and full irrigation should commence again this week or next week, depending on when hull split started. You don’t want to prolong the stress since irrigation directly affects kernel weight. Even moderately stressing trees in June and July will reduce the weight at harvest.


“I can’t emphasize enough the importance of nutrient leaf sampling now. With the crop pretty much finished, this is the most stable time of the year to gain accurate nutrient measurements and pinpoint deficiencies.


“I’m hearing complaints now about nuts splitting early on borders and on trees with shaker damage. Those trees are stressed, so almonds will split early. That shows the value of good irrigation management and distribution, plus good harvest practices.


“Mid-July also is the time to pull leaves for sampling in walnuts. We’re now through the heaviest part of the crop in walnuts. If limbs haven’t broken by now, they won’t break this year. Remember that we want to apply 25% of the nitrogen for walnuts each month in May through August.


“Pistachios are in kernel fill, which is stage 3, and people are pouring on the water and nutrients. With pistachios, we leaf sample in mid-August once trees make it through kernel fill.”




California: San Joaquin Valley Cotton Field Day, Mendota, July 24 7-13


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