Employers must often keep up with a variety of required government posters at their orchards, farms, or other places of business which can be daunting at times. Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Labor changed two posters that employers are required to post in the workplace.
As the true winter season approaches—officially arriving on December 21st at 11:48 PM EST, it might be good to look back on this year’s growing season. There have been extremes of temperatures and moisture the past two years.
Apples are a long-lived perennial crop, thus most fruit farms have several blocks of trees that vary in age and size. Many orchard enterprises have adopted intensive (≥518 trees per acre) orchard systems over the past 25 years. However, blocks of larger semi-dwarf trees at medium density still exist on many farms, and often these blocks still have a significant role to play in the orchard enterprise.
Growers can get a jump on fungal and bacterial disease management for the 2016 season this fall. A review of tips to manage apple scab, fire blight, peach leaf curl, cherry leaf spot, bacterial canker, and fungal fruit rots are discussed.
The Penn State Extension Horticulture, Start Farming, and Pesticide Education Teams have produced three new videos on integrated pest management practices for sustainable establishment and management of apple orchards.
Zeus Prime XC is a new product from FMC Corporation with a new active ingredient that has not been used in tree fruit before. Currently it has a supplemental label for use in apples that have been established for at least 3 years—similar to the time frame for Alion.
Chris Walsh and Mike Newell, University of Maryland, report that there is an increased potential for internal browning and breakdown in 'Olympic' Asian pear fruit. Growers are advised to harvest ‘Olympic’ one to two weeks earlier this year to minimize consumer complaints and ensure adequate storage life.
Penn State Extension, in cooperation with University of Vermont Extension and Rutgers Extension has developed energy-saving resources for Northeast farmers. The information is now available at E-Extension and includes information specific to tree fruit production.
In the last few days we have observed numerous older nymphs and adults of brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) moving into orchards from adjacent woods and agronomic crops. Similarly as during the 2014 season, we are detecting brown marmorated stink bugs mostly on the edges of orchards bordering with woods but a much lower BMSB numbers on crops such as soybean or corn.
Soil in high tunnels isn’t exposed to the elements like soil in the field is, and if the plastic is kept on the tunnels for multiple winters, little leaching takes place. Thus, nutrients and salts can accumulate. How much difference does taking the covers off for one winter make?
There are many factors that affect Honeycrisp storage behavior, and some occur during harvest. Spot picking fruit at the optimum stage of maturity, compared to slightly immature, can reduce bitter pit, whereas soft scald and soggy breakdown can be reduced by harvesting fruit before it becomes over-mature.
The biggest disease concern this time of year is keeping fruit free of rots as they are nearing the home stretch of the season. The recent bouts of rain and prolonged warm weather are ideal conditions for fruit rot issues.
The flight of the second generation codling moth (CM) is underway in most Pennsylvania pome fruit orchards. Only on site CM monitoring will provide accurate information if and for how long control treatments are necessary.
There has been much confusion this season being able to tell the difference between bacterial spot disease and copper injury. This article will describe symptoms in detail, as well as offer guidance to avoid the pitfalls of using copper for disease control.
Infestations of red mites left alone can eat enough chlorophyll out of the leaves of apple trees that the trees can’t store energy anymore, resulting in smaller fruit and a reduced fruit bloom the following season. Luckily we don’t often see red mite infestations due to a successful story of biological control in Pennsylvania. Dr. Dave Biddinger explained how to scout for red mites and maintain a successful biological control program at a Young Grower Alliance training session on July 16.
The third generation of Oriental fruit moth and the second generation of codling moth are active in most orchards in south-central PA. We are observing increased numbers of captured adult moths in sex pheromone traps located at various sites.
By now, everyone should have seen the results of their chemical thinning in apples. In my experience, the first few weeks after thinner application most growers think they took too many fruit off. However, by midsummer the crop load does not look too bad.
Cherry growers around the world use many training systems, both supported and freestanding. Choosing the right system depends on growing conditions, variety, rootstock, labor availability, and management skills.
During this past week we observed first brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) adults maturing from eggs deposited earlier this season by BMSB adults from the overwintering generation. With the arrival of this generation, we expect an intensified movement of BMSB into orchards and more frequent occurrence of fruit injuries caused by this pest.
The extremely wet weather over the last month has triggered rot issues in both sweet and tart cherries. As a result of the volume of fungal spores flying around and the persistent warm wet conditions, peach and nectarine growers need to be on high alert as we are nearing the home stretch for harvest. Vigilant rot management strategies are critical this year to prevent brown rot (and other rots) during preharvest and postharvest. Management options, including organic strategies, are discussed. Conditions continue to be favorable for bacterial spot, necessitating shorter spray intervals for disease management.
The beginning of July is a good time to start searching for the first male adults of spotted wing drosophila. Growers with late sweet cherries and sour cherries as well as blueberries and black raspberries should pay very close attention to possible movement of this pest into their plantings.
We are continuing to observe brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) adults and nymphs in traps baited with a combination of BMSB aggregation pheromone. Now is the time to look out for the first adult male Spotted Wing Drosophilia.
The Tree Fruit Pathology Lab at FREC is seeking fire blight samples from around the state of Pennsylvania found in commercial orchards and home landscapes for evaluation for antibiotic-resistant strains of the bacteria and other projects.
Primary apple scab is finally over as of mid-June. Conditions have been ideal for canker blight: leftover fire blight cankers continue to grow and bacteria move within the tree to growing areas causing shoot blight. Conditions have been favorable lately for bacterial spot on peaches.
The potential for injury caused by brown marmorated stink bug adults and nymphs increased significantly during the last two weeks. It is time to start scouting for the presence of leafhoppers, especially in young orchards. Tufted apple bud moth and obliquebanded leafroller continue to be numerous in pheromone traps.
Conditions have been optimal for canker blight: leftover fire blight cankers continue to grow and bacteria move within the tree to growing areas causing shoot blight. Shoot blight is also occurring to those who experienced blossom blight, as well. Leafhoppers are active and will cause wounds in growing shoot tips, creating entry points for bacteria to enter. Pruning blighted areas and managing insects are the best methods for control.
The numbers of tufted apple bud moth and obliquebanded leafroller observed in pheromone traps in South-central Pennsylvania are similar to the numbers we observed 10 to 15 years ago, reaching over 100 moths per trap/week. Such high pest population levels require special insecticide applications targeting both leafroller species. This past week during our visual orchard monitoring we found the first eggs and nymphs of brown marmorated stink bug in commercial peach orchard. It is time to start scouting for the presence of leafhoppers, especially white apple leafhopper, potato leafhoppers and rose leafhopper.
The rainfall events experienced this season have prompted questions about the relative “rainfastness” of the insecticides used in fruit production. Precipitation can impact the performance of insecticides, but some compounds resist wash-off.
Everyone is now into their cover sprays in apples and should be applying calcium to help reduce bitter pit and corking. Cultivars prone to corking and bitter pit should receive 9 to 11 lb of actual calcium per season.
Up to 60 tufted apple bud moths per pheromone trap per week are being observed in orchards. Colonies of green peach aphid (on stone fruit) and spirea aphid (on stone and pome fruit) are commonly observed in fruit orchards. The presence of predators in 1 out of 5 aphid colonies may lead to successful biological control. Monitor for flagged peach tree terminals to assess efficacy of early season Oriental fruit moth treatments.
Primary scab infection is still occurring and this week will prove to be another critical period for disease management. Fire blight infections are popping up in the region and more could be expected as a result of the weather conditions. Scouting is a must this week; however, do not prune during wet weather. Conditions are also favorable for cedar apple rust, cherry leaf spot, and bacterial spot infections.
Fruit have almost completely moved out of the size range of being responsive to thinners. In looking at the fruit at Rock Springs yesterday anything small was rapidly shelling off. Fortunately, most of the fruit that was shelling off were those that had been damaged by the May 23 frost. Continue to monitor your fruit drop to see if you will need to do any follow up hand thinning. I would also suggest that you look back over the past model runs and compare the actual balances with the time you made your thinner applications.
Colonies of green peach aphid and spirea aphid are commonly observed in some orchards. Watch for predator populations such as ladybird beetles or syrphid fly larvae. The presence of predators in about one out of five aphid colonies may lead to successful biological control. As we continue to control the wide spectrum of other fruit pests, no special treatment against brown marmorated stink bug should be necessary unless nymphs are found in the orchard.
The primary infection period for apple scab continues, although available spore numbers are decreasing. Growers should be scouting for fire blight infection thanks to the ideal conditions we have been experiencing throughout the month. In light of the hail some growers experienced this week, a reminder that diseases still need to be managed despite a damaged or minimal crop during the season. Going into June, growers need to be mindful about controlling for sooty blotch and flyspeck soon.
In the Biglerville area the 2015 biofix for Oriental fruit moth (OFM) was established on April 26; spotted tentiform leafminer on April 12, codling moth on May 07, tufted apple bud moth on May 10 and obliquebanded leafroller on May 21st (Penn State Fruit Research and Extension Center [FREC] orchards). According to the insect developmental model provided by SkyBit Inc. as of May 29th the egg hatch of the first OFM generation is already completed while the first generation egg hatch periods for codling moth (CM) and tufted apple budmoth (TABM) are underway and will continue for the next few weeks.
Based on weather station data, we had only low risk fruit rot events in both Pennsylvania and Maryland up until mid-May, when several warm rains soaked the region, leading to two to three dispersal events. There are likely more to come, which means that throughout the region, there is an increased risk leading up to harvest of strawberries, and bloom time for many fruit crops. Protection of these highly susceptible flowers and fruits is critical.
A band of strong storms blew through Pennsylvania and Maryland this afternoon. If you experienced hail, apply streptomycin to apple and pear trees within 24 hrs of the hail event to prevent trauma blight. More heavy thunderstorms are in the forecast until early Thursday. Please be on alert.
This is the time of the season when next year’s flower buds are initiating and beginning to form. Your return bloom program should begin after this year’s crop becomes unresponsive to chemical thinning but before the crop becomes sensitive to the ripening effects of NAA or ethephon.
Today's carbohydrate model indicates that most sites have a low deficit and that the standard thinner rates can be reduced by 15%. The one exception is the northeastern part of the state where a high deficit is predicted for today.
Carbohydrate model recommendations from today’s run call for increasing rates for all sites except for the northeastern part of the state. Fruit size in some locations is in the 15 to 17 mm stage, and the window for a thinning response to either NAA or 6-BA is rapidly closing. Saturday may be the best option for obtaining additional thinning in these sites. Where there is a potential for frost, avoid the addition of oil to the tank because oil can increase frost susceptibility.
To provide Asian pear growers with more sustainable, cost-effective thinning strategies, a SARE-funded team of researchers and farmers studied how effectively Asian pears were thinned by benzyladenine. They found that MaxCel, one of several chemical thinners that contain benzyladenine, can reduce the cost of hand-thinning by up to 50 percent while delivering fruit yields and sizes comparable to those of untreated, hand-thinned control trees. Rutgers University has produced a fact sheet that provides a brief introduction to plant growth regulators and directions on how to use MaxCel as a crop thinner for Asian pears.
Codling moth egg hatch is at about 10 percent and Oriental fruit moth egg hatch is at almost 100 percent. The flights of obliquebanded leafroller (OBLR) and peach tree borer (PTB) are expected to start within the next few days. Green peach aphid (GPA) (on stone fruit) and spirea aphid (SA) (on stone and pome fruit) colonies are being observed in some orchards. Watch for predator populations such as ladybird beetles or syrphid fly larvae.
The rain occurring today could have the potential to produce an apple scab infection event if adequate leaf wetness hours are achieved. Growers are encouraged to monitor conditions in their orchards and spray accordingly to protect for apple scab. In addition, be mindful of rust: the cedar galls have made their appearance, making spores available to cause infection in apple trees.
If the rain in the forecast comes to fruition this weekend, be prepared for a major apple scab infection period for the region. Growers in northern PA still in bloom need to be vigilant for fire blight conditions this weekend and next week. Although many are past bloom in the region, we experienced fire blight conditions from May 5 – May 12 and growers should begin to scout for infections during the coming week. Be on alert for powdery mildew infections, thanks to the dry weather lately. Control measures are needed to manage bacterial spot on stone fruit.
Stations in central PA and northern PA have not yet reached full bloom. We anticipate full bloom in Centre county for tomorrow and will be applying a thinner application of Amid-Thin to a block of Honeycrisp as a research trial.
Appropriate, effective insecticides should be applied based on orchard monitoring and documented pest control needs. On apples, the after petal fall insecticide application represents the best timing to control plum curculio and European apple sawfly. The petal fall timing on apples will also be a good time to control Oriental fruit moth, obliquebanded leafroller, mites and aphids.
Full bloom came on extremely rapidly across the state over the past few days. Prior to this weekend most areas of the state were a little behind the normal timing of flower development. However, the warm temperatures of the weekend across the entire state pushed flower development.
A weather system moving East will be bringing rain Tuesday into Wednesday. At the same time we are experiencing the peak period for dispersal of mature scab spores. The predictive models indicate May 5 - 6, 2015 will be a scab infection period. Growers need to protect trees to prevent scab infection during this critical period.
Brown marmorated stink bug adults are slowly emerging from their overwintering shelters. The five percent egg hatch of Oriental fruit moth (and the optimal timing to start controlling OFM) is expected around May 7th in the Biglerville area. All pheromone traps for monitoring fruit pests except traps for obliquebanded leafroller (OBLR) and peach tree borer (PTB) should already be placed in orchards.
All predictive models indicate a high risk for fire blight infection this week due to the high temperature, humidity, and chance of rain showers in the forecast. Growers should begin protecting blossoms with streptomycin on Monday. More strep applications will be needed as infection conditions persist.
Preliminary trials with Amid-Thin (NAD) indicate it may be a useful thinning tool on Honeycrisp and Pink Lady at bloom and/or petal fall. Growers are cautioned to not spray pigmy-prone cultivars and not to spray past petal fall, as there is an increased risk of inducing small fruit to stick at later timings. Conduct your own trials with this product – including unsprayed checks – prior to deciding whether this is a good thinning tool for you.
Recently a grower mentioned he was having trouble controlling Wild Carrot, Queen Anne’s Lace, Bird’s Nest, Bishop’s Lace. In case you did not know, all the individual common names mentioned are the same plant - Daucus carota. Wild carrot is a biennial weed, as its life cycle requires two years to complete.
Rain is in the forecast for Thursday and Friday. As a result, the prediction models indicate this will be a scab infection period -- and a big one since we’re reaching peak maturity with spore release. This weather will also be ideal for cedar apple rust infection. Growers are encouraged to have trees protected before the rain occurs. In addition, growers need to be on alert for next week since fire blight models indicate the week of May 4 may be an infection period.
The Tree Fruit Production website has been upgraded for the new growing season and we hope you'll find many of the new features useful. You can more easily access seasonal monitoring data, and pest management and plant growth regulator recommendation tables have been added.
All the sites that we monitor for utilizing the carbohydrate model have finally reported reaching green tip as of early this week. The map shows their locations around the state and they are listed in the table in this article.
May is the battleground month for disease management: growers need to be on alert for apple scab, fire blight, powdery mildew, rust, cherry leaf spot, brown rot, and bacterial spot infection conditions. Disease infection periods are now being posted for regions in Pennsylvania and Maryland.
As colder weather influences the general development of insect pests, the low temperatures this spring are influencing moth activities and pushing this year’s biofixes (first sustained flight of moths) to the latest dates on record. It cannot be overstated how important it is to aggressively monitor all insect pests in each orchard, especially with the additional pressure coming from brown marmorated stink bug.
A cold front has dipped into the Mid-Atlantic resulting in below average temperatures for the majority of the week. Growers are on high alert with the majority of Pennsylvania under a freeze watch advisory.
Dr. Cassandra Swett started at University of Maryland, College Park as the new grape and small fruit pathologist in May 2014, with a split research and extension appointment. Her primary functions are to develop basic and applied information that improves management of grape and small fruit diseases, provide a resource to extension specialists and educators, and communicate information on disease management to producers.
Domestic honey bee hives are down by 59% compared to 60 years ago with rapid declines over the last forty years. This long term decline was punctuated by recent average losses of 30% per winter since 2006. The populations of some native bee species may also be declining.
The strawberry bloom has begun and it’s time for fruit rot protection. Our two main targets for bloom time protection of strawberries are gray mold/ Botrytis fruit rot (Botrytis cinerea), and, if you are growing susceptible varieties like Chandler, anthracnose fruit rot (Colletotrichum acutatum).
Scab infection period today, April 20, 2015, and predicted through Thursday. Rain most likely washed off all protection that was applied prior to the rain overnight and early this morning. Growers are encouraged to spray their trees to prevent scab infection. For growers in Maryland experiencing bloom, a streptomycin spray to protect open blossoms from fire blight is warranted.
We’re experiencing a scab infection period April 17. Warm, wet weather also is a threat for stone fruit blossoms that are open. Fungicides needed today to protect against scab and blossom blight caused by brown rot.
In the literature covering hard cider production apples are typically classed as either ‘dessert’ or ‘true cider’ apples. Despite this dichotomy, some ‘dessert’ varieties are reported to be useful for cider.
Penn State Extension has planned ten educational meetings for commercial tree fruit growers this spring. The meetings are being held in orchards all across the state. Growers have an opportunity to visit other commercial tree fruit operations, learn from Extension specialists who are experts in their program areas, and discuss current tree fruit issues with other growers at a critical time of the growing season.
This week at a winter meeting I was asked why poison ivy seems to be popping up in orchards where it was never seen before and in isolated spots. I suspect you will see a lot of perennial species popping up in new areas for several reasons.
The Penn State Extension Tree Fruit Production website - http://extension.psu.edu/plants/tree-fruit - has a number of useful resources for fruit growers. Check back often for the latest resources on fruit diseases; insects, mites and beneficials; and fruit culture.