There is a mystery surrounding rapid apple decline/sudden apple decline of young, dwarf apple trees. For the last several years, there have been many reports in Pennsylvania and, most recently, in the Northeast and states south about unusual sudden decline of young, dwarf apple trees.
The Penn State Extension Tree Fruit team has created new videos for fruit growers. These ten minute ‘Learn Now’ videos are short, to-the-point guides explaining topics that are fundamental to commercial orchard intensification and efficiency.
During August and September we saw apples mature a bit earlier than normal. Once mature, they quickly tree-ripened. The hot, dry weather and full sun exposure of tall-spindle trees compressed the harvest window. This earliness and rapid ripening has continued with Fuji and Cripps Pink.
During the last four weeks we have observed a very sharp increase in the number of brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) adults collected in various monitoring traps placed around orchards located in southern Pennsylvania. After relatively lower levels of infestation on fruit observed during the last two seasons, this 2016 harvest seems to bring back a serious BMSB challenge.
During August and September we saw apples mature a bit earlier than normal, but once mature, they quickly tree-ripened. Due to the hot, dry weather, and the full sun exposure of trees managed as tall-spindles, the harvest window was compressed. This week, we began sampling late-season varieties, Fuji and Cripps Pink. While Fuji fruit lacks red color, fruit ripening has already begun.
The purpose of safety data sheets (SDS) is to provide detailed information about all chemicals and pesticides including the chemical properties, various hazards (e.g., physical, health, environmental, etc.), protective measures, and safety precautions (e.g., handling, storing, and transporting).
There have been many reports of bitter rot on apple while fruit are being harvested. With Mother Nature recently dumping a ton of rain, which will have washed off any plant protection materials, growers are encouraged to apply protectants to apple varieties that have yet to be harvested. Tips for identification and late season management are discussed.
During our August and September sampling we have seen apples mature a little earlier than normal, but then quickly tree-ripen. Between the hot, dry weather and the full sun exposure of trees on size-controlling rootstocks, the harvest window for each of the early varieties has been compressed. Fruits moved quickly from storage-ready to tree-ripe and when left unharvested became destined for cider. This rapid tree ripening can lead to softer apples with poorer quality of late-harvested fruit destined for cold storage.
Fruit have quickly progressed from storage-mature to tree-ripe. In many cases fruits in commercial orchards have softened quickly and wound up being picked for cider. This rapid ripening may also reduce the quality of late-harvested apples, and growers are advised to carefully time harvest based on maturity indices.
This grower-supported apple maturity update focuses on new apple varieties grown at the University of Maryland orchard in Keedysville, to provide pertinent information ahead of the picking dates for growers further north.
This grower-supported maturity update focuses on new apple varieties grown at the University of Maryland orchard in Keedysville, to collect pertinent information on fruit maturity ahead of the typical picking dates for growers further north.
The numbers of brown marmorated stink bug adults are increasing in many orchards. Codling moth adults will be active for at least another 2 to 3 weeks. The fourth generation Oriental fruit moth adults are likely to be present in orchards during all of September and into October.
It is August already, which, for many grape growers in Pennsylvania, means veraison and the beginning of fruit ripening. It seems a good time to comment on the seasonal weather and how it can affect the vines.
While the harvest of peaches and nectarines is in a full swing and it is only a matter of a couple of weeks when we will start the fully fledged harvest of apples, it is still important to remember that some important fruit pests are still active and can cause damage of fruit.
Codling moth (CM) second generation adults are very active in most Pennsylvania pome fruit orchards. All stages of brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) including young summer adult bugs are being observed in and outside of orchards. The third and probably fourth generation Oriental fruit moth (OFM) adults are also active in both, pome and stone fruit orchards.
With an early bloom, many people have been expecting an earlier harvest this year. This initial week’s sampling of Premier Honeycrisp and Honeycrisp indicates that Premier may be ready to be spot-picked as early as next week.
Penn State Extension and Pennsylvania growers and packers cooperated with Cornell University in storage trials to assess ways to reduce postharvest disorders in Honeycrisp. Implications from the study are: 1) If risk of bitter pit is high, fruit should be stored without conditioning and marketed earlier than conditioned fruit. 2) Fruit with low bitter pit risk should be conditioned and stored at 38°F if storage periods are uncertain.
Routine assessments of fruit starch levels, ground color and other maturity indices allow growers to make improved decisions about optimum harvest dates for long-term storage. During August through the end of October, 2016, Fruit Times subscribers will receive weekly summaries on changes in fruit maturity and will also be directed to more comprehensive information at the Penn State Fruit Research and Extension Center Seasonal Update site.
Moths of the second generation codling moth, third generation of Oriental fruit moth and the second generations of tufted apple bud moth and obliquebanded leafroller are active and, if present, the injuries caused by juvenile larval stages will be observed at harvest. Woolly apple aphid (WAA) colonies are being observed in many orchards across the region. Control at the correct timing will help manage second summer generation of San Jose scale crawlers. Adult brown marmorated stink bugs will soon move into orchards from surrounding vegetation. Plan ahead with the choice of products utilized against BMSB, and preserve the most effective options for when the pressure from this pest will increase in the later part of the season.
In late 2015 the Environmental Protection Agency issued the long awaited revision to the Worker Protection Standard (WPS). Although it is now technically active it will not be enforced until 2017 but the original WPS will still be enforced until the end of 2016. Please keep in mind that the WPS covers both restricted use AND general use pesticides. This article will deal with the highlights to the revision but also some areas of the current WPS that need emphasized.
Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) have been renamed and are now referred to as Safety Data Sheets (SDS). According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the Hazard Communication Standard requires the new format starting on June 1, 2016. One of the primary reasons for the change is that OSHA requires all SDSs to use a standard format.
According to moth captures in sex pheromone traps located in various orchards in south-central PA, the flight of the third generation Oriental fruit moth (OFM) and the second generation of codling moth (CM) just started this past week. It is probably still too early to initiate control of those pests, however at some locations control may be needed within the next 7-14 days.
The Tree Fruit Pathology Lab at FREC is seeking fire blight samples again this season from around the state of Pennsylvania in commercial orchards and home landscapes for evaluation for antibiotic-resistant strains of the bacteria and other projects. If you have fire blight present in your orchard/yard, please contact Dr. Kari Peter for instructions for sampling.
July is usually a good month to assess the results of early season insect pest management practices and to make sure nothing will be missed for the remaining of the season. Early July also marks the beginning of a much higher pressure from brown marmorated stink bug nymphs and summer adults.
We all get a little rusty as we get older, but one thing that we don’t want to see getting rusty is our brambles. There are several rust diseases that affect brambles. I’m just going to focus on orange rust, which is the most important rust disease in the northeast. We are definitely seeing a bit of orange rust this year, with the cool wet springs. You’ll see this disease on blackberries, black raspberries and purple raspberries. Orange rust does not affect red raspberries.
Bumble bees have discriminating palettes when it comes to their pollen meals, according to researchers at Penn State. The researchers found that bumble bees can detect the nutritional quality of pollen, and that this ability helps them selectively forage among plant species to optimize their diets.
This past week we started to see a significant buildup in the numbers of Japanese beetles in many orchards located in southern Pennsylvania. The nymphs of brown marmorated stink are now present in orchards, which indicates a shift from “probable injuries” to actual nymphal feeding (and injuries) on fruit. The end of June is a good time to search for the first male adults of spotted wing drosophila, and traps are a very effective tool to detect increasing populations of SWD.
We continue to observe a strong presence of codling moth adults in pheromone traps placed in commercial apple orchards. Despite the codling moth developmental model suggesting the end of the codling moth egg hatch period (95% eggs hatched by June 25), the presence of moths in the traps in the next few weeks still warrants extended management activities.
Bees and bee health are still making headlines, and sorely needed research results are finally starting to emerge. In early May, Horticultural Research Institute participated in a research symposium at Penn State University where early results from several research projects relevant to pollinator health were shared.
This past week (June 1) we finally captured the first moths of obliquebanded leafroller in pheromone traps. This completes the list of establishing important biofixes for the 2016 season. While the first biofix for the earliest active species, redbanded leafroller happened on March 22 (a tie for the earliest ever), the obliquebanded leafroller biofix was one of the latest on record for the Biglerville area. Looking at the degree day accumulation, it appears we are back to an “average year,” with a very similar accumulation of degree days base 43 as during the 2015 season.
A new smartphone application, called MyIPM-NED, was developed to promote integrated disease management for apples, pears, cherries, and cranberries and is available for free for Android and iOS devices. These apps are also able to be used on tablets, as well.
Although we experienced several cool, cloudy weeks, those conditions didn’t deter the bacteria and fungi in the orchard. As the temperatures are warming up and the humidity rolling in, disease symptoms are becoming more apparent. Recommendations for several apple and stone fruit diseases folks need to be mindful of are discussed.
This will be the last published run of the Cornell carbohydrate model for determining apple thinning rates and timings. You can still go to the web site and run the model but the model will not give you a recommendation. As I mentioned in the last posting you can interpret the 4 Day Average Balance by looking at the recommendation chart in the "More Info” tab.
The window for thinner applications is rapidly closing in the south central and eastern part of the state. Four day carbohydrate average balances for the most part are positive numbers representing the fact that shoot growth is rapidly increasing as shoots become net exporters and the response to thinners is more difficult.
We had optimal conditions for apple scab infections this month and it’s time to start scouting the orchard for possible infection. Fire blight symptoms have been slow due to the chilly weather over the last several weeks; however, with the warm weather this week, fire blight may become more symptomatic. Be vigilant when scouting for fire blight and prune infections as soon as possible. In addition: newly planted blocks that may be blooming need protection to prevent blossom blight right now.
A new set of tools is currently being developed to help you manage crop pests and increase your profitability. The Integrated Pest Information Platform for Extension and Education (iPiPE) is a national Web-based IT platform that combines user-contributed pest observations and translates them to real-time pest distribution maps and forecasts of pest risk. Throughout the season iPiPE informs you about the pests and diseases in your vicinity and provides management recommendations from professionals to help you make decisions about protecting your crop. The project is funded by a USDA Food Security Program grant and involves 28 crops around the nation.
The weather has finally broken with temperatures in Adams County to be in the 80s for most of the week. Today’s run does not contain as many sites due to discrepancies in some of the data reported to Rainwise.
The codling moth egg hatch developmental model provided by SkyBit Inc., initiated on May 7 (biofix in Penn State Fruit Research and Extension Center orchards), forecasts about 5 to 10 percent egg hatch to occur on May 30 for the Biglerville area. This is an optimal timing to initiate management activities against codling moth.
The majority of the sites are showing a 4DB of slightly positive carbohydrate levels (3.07 to 15.15 g/day) to slightly negative(-2.12 to -16.32 g/day). The trend through the weekend into early next week shows positive 4DB for six of the sites.
Chemical thinning is a complex process that annually challenges the professional apple grower. In recent years, many growers have started using the MaluSim Carbon Balance Model to assist them in managing the crop load of their trees.
The colder than usual weather during the last two weeks is slowing the normal activities of most insects, including the most important fruit pests. However, while some fruit pests may be slower to complete their development, the current weather will not prevent potential injuries.
As a new grape season approaches, you all may be asking yourselves, “What is going to be my biggest headache this season?” As far as insects go, I would have to answer, as always, the grape berry moth (GBM). In this blog I would like to touch on the most recent research regarding the grape berry moth, as well as, other insects to scout for in your vineyards in the early part of the growing season.
According to the models, we have been in an apple scab infection period since April 27 and will continue to have favorable disease conditions through the weekend. This is an extremely important infection period since the scab spores are peaking. Be sure to get complete coverage of your trees and tank mix with a broad spectrum (EBDC or captan) for maximum protection of your trees.
After a dry April, rain has crept into the forecast making conditions ideal for apple scab, fire blight, and cherry leaf spot. Other diseases to keep an eye for management are powdery mildew and bacterial spot. For those who had their stone fruit crop frozen out in April, disease management is still needed. Disease infection periods are being posted for regions in Pennsylvania and Maryland.
After an early beginning to the growing season that saw green tip stage reached on average about 18 days ahead of last year, the weather cooled off and for stations reporting full bloom as of the morning of April 30, they are only 11 to 12 days ahead of last year. Obviously frost damage to flowers and spur leaves will be a compounding factor in deciding whether and when to thin this year.
The spring weather, and its impact on the development of insects, continues to be a roller coaster ride. The Oriental fruit moth biofix (first sustained moth flights for the season) was established on April 12, the second earliest date on record.
Many of you are replacing older orchards with newer varieties and newer training systems. One of the systems that is currently in vogue is the Tall Spindle System (TSS). It was proposed and developed largely by Terence Robinson at Cornell University. Its popularity is due to the simplicity of its pruning.
We have been working with the Tall Spindle System (TSS) since 2008 with Jonagold/B9 and Daybreak Fuji/M.9 T337. We also have a planting established in 2010 with Aztec Fuji as an NC-140 uniform rootstock trial. In 2014 we established another NC-140 trial with Honeycrisp and Aztec Fuji on 7 and 6 rootstocks respectively.
Strawberries are blooming, the rain is falling and it’s warming into the 60’s and 70’s—and as a plant pathologist, all I see is Botrytis spores dancing about the farm. We have already started to see Botrytis popping up on stem tissue and flower petals. Scouting for the pathogen in your fields will help inform you whether you need to spray.
As spring takes hold across the state and country, research and outreach efforts at the University are continuing to combat the decline of bees and other pollinators in an effort to safeguard our environment and the agriculture industry in Pennsylvania and around the world. This issue includes stories on faculty and student pollinator research, features ongoing work at Penn State to assist bees and other pollinators, and provides tips on how everyone can get involved and support pollinator health.
Spring has arrived, but it sure doesn’t feel like it in many parts of the Northeastern U.S. However, the cool weather is buying us some extra time that can be used to review our pre-bloom disease management plans and familiarize ourselves with all the tools at our disposal.
Following an unseasonably warm month of March, a pair of cold fronts brought cold temperatures across much of the eastern United States in early April 2016. The cold weather was stressful, both for the fruit grower and the flowers!
We are seeing indications that the numbers of green fruitworms and rosy apple aphids will be high this season. Both pests tend to flare in a cool, wet spring due to suppression of predators and other biocontrols.
In light of the cold temperatures experienced recently, a call to your crop insurance agent may be in order. If you believe the recent low temperatures may have damaged your crop you have 72 hours to report the event to your insurance provider.
A series of advective freeze events have damaged fruit buds, and following an additional freeze this weekend, growers will want to assess crop potential. It can be discouraging to count the buds that didn't survive the cold, so focus on bud survival by using a technique Jim Schupp adapted from strategies to adjust crop load at thinning time.
Agriculture Handbook 66 (AH-66) represents a complete revision and major expansion of the 1986 edition. It has been reorganized and now includes 17 Chapters and 138 Commodity Summaries written by nearly a hundred experts in 792 pages.
The recent winter-like conditions do not kill scab spores and the spores continue to further mature and release. If the weather forecast comes to fruition, an apple scab infection event is predicted for April 7. If your trees have green tissue, recommendations for dealing with scab while managing cold injury are discussed.
The calendar still says March but it feels as though it is at least mid April. Be prepared to set out your sex pheromone traps earlier than normal, as they are the simplest tools to accurately establish biofix dates and to precisely monitor the trends in population development through the season. Warm temperatures resulted in increased activity of pear psylla adults, and pre-bloom application(s) of oil should slow down egg laying. San Jose scale nymphs become active when the sap begins to flow in the spring, and they should be controlled pre-bloom or during the first cover spray.
All current conditions point to an early spring and tree fruit bloom. At Rock Springs we had first bloom on Methley plums and pink on peaches on Friday March 25th. Last year we observed the same growth stage on April 29th!
This article will help you manually determine infection periods for certain diseases (scab, fire blight, cherry leaf spot). Also included is a table listing coppers available to manage bacterial spot during cover sprays.
New this spring is the herbicide Broadworks from Syngenta. It is a new chemistry for use in tree fruits with the active ingredient being mesotrione. The chemical family is triketone with an HRAC of Group 27.
A top-three “warm episode” (El Niño) brought some widely expected winter weather impacts to the U.S., but also provided some surprises. For example, atmospheric warmth in part supplied by the balmy central and eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean contributed to the nation’s warmest Decembe to -February period on record.
If the rain that is forecasted comes to fruition, we will experience a major scab infection period late March 31–April 1. With temperatures averaging around 60°F, only 6 hours leaf wetness is needed to cause an infection event. Protection is needed for vulnerable green tissue.
Due to the presence of green tip on early varieties of apples combined with rain the last several days plus forecasted for the next two, we are in our first apple scab infection period for 2016. Protection is needed for vulnerable green tissue; a copper spray will be useful for trees not at green tip.
The first scab spores of the season have been detected; however, there is no scab infection risk until green tissue is present and there is an infection period. Since trees are pushing due to the warm weather the last several days, now is a good time to apply dormant copper sprays to manage diseases.
In a recent article I described some important aspects of designing field experiments to avoid biasing the data. The take home lesson was that treatments should be replicated and randomized. In this article I will describe methods to summarize and interpret the data resulting from field experiments with a single qualitative treatment variable.
The past two winters have ramped up concerns about crown gall in Pennsylvania and other parts of the Northeast. Wine grape growers are discovering, many for the first time, the horrors of this disease and the extent of the damage it can cause in their vineyards. While there is reason for great concern, I would like to start out by saying that research efforts are generating extensive information on management of this disease, and there are new solutions from research in the pipeline.
When it comes to managing fire blight, the first line of defense is good sanitation, which is removing the overwintering source for the bacteria: cankers. Understanding what a canker is, being able to identify them in orchard, the importance of removal, and pruning strategies are discussed.