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Penn State Extension has planned ten educational meetings for commercial tree fruit growers this spring.
Penn State Extension held nine regional educational meetings for commercial tree fruit growers this winter.
Some of the burn-down herbicides have been implicated as possible causes of damage to young tree trunks that have green tissue on portions of the lower trunk.
The updated Penn State Extension Spray Record-Keeping Spreadsheet for apples, pears, peaches, and cherries is now available from Penn State Extension.
Evaluating relationships between variables involves a statistical method called “regression analysis.”
Research in the college helps shape the apple industry.
We heard and saw many problems with calcium deficiencies in commercial orchards this past year. I thought it would be a good idea to review how the 2016 growing season may have impacted those problems.
I spent most of the summer writing a review paper on apple rootstocks and came across quite a bit of information that might be of interest to commercial fruit growers.
The Penn State Extension Tree Fruit team has created new videos for Spanish speaking fruit growers.
In general, apples matured slightly earlier than normal this year.
Honeycrisp is a wildly popular apple variety. While it has outstanding crispness and flavor, it has its faults.
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 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.
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.
This grower-supported apple maturity update focuses on new apple varieties grown at the University of Maryland orchard in Keedysville, a warm, low-elevation site in southern Washington County, MD.
For the past few weeks we have been posting information for Brookfield Gala fruit from Keedysville, along with Honeycrisp and Premier Honeycrisp from Mt. Ridge Farms.
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.
Comparisons of Premier Honeycrisp, Brookfield Gala and Honeycrisp.
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.
With peach season in full swing, a review of management strategies for controlling brown rot is discussed.
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.
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.
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.
As we suggested last week and early this week the temperatures and solar radiation levels are very high setting up 4 Day Average Balances that are quite negative for all the sites.
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 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.
Pennsylvania had a little bit of everything in yesterday’s weather – snow, rain, wind, and cold temperatures.
Please note that we have added another site in Schuylkill County in Hegins, PA.
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.
Generally we had the most sunshine Saturday and Sunday that we have had in over a week. Most sites are calling for a decrease in the rate of thinner
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.
More orchards have entered full bloom over the weekend. In some cases, there was as much as a week’s difference in full bloom with some cultivars.
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.
Boron is one of the essential micronutrients for tree fruit. It helps in the fruit setting process by facilitating pollen development and subsequent pollen tube growth.
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.
Mike Basedow recently joined Penn State Extension in Adams County as an Extension Tree Fruit Assistant.
Unusually warm weather in March, despite relatively colder conditions in early April, pushed the development of most insect pests well ahead of a routine timetable.
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 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!
Since 1980 weather patterns such as rainfall quantity and duration, temperature and extreme weather events have become increasingly erratic.
Aprovia is a new fungicide (SDHI, FRAC group 7) available for pome fruit disease management. Due to crop safety concerns, BASF will be cancelling the pome fruit registration for Vivando.
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.
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.
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.
Revised every two years with input from Penn State faculty members, extension specialists and other consultants, this nearly 400-page production guide provides commercial fruit growers, extension educators, consultants, and others with the newest information on fruit culture, orchard nutrition, spraying, pesticides, storage of tree fruit crops, marketing, and management of weeds, insects, diseases and more.
Unlike some flowering landscape trees, peaches, cherries, apples and pears originated in a temperate climate, similar to our own. They are well-adapted to our climate, even in an el Niño year. Most fruit trees went dormant this fall, and stayed dormant. Fruit trees begin to go dormant in response to shortening day length in the fall. Exposure to freezing temperatures accelerates the onset of dormancy. Although this past fall was warmer than usual, the fruit trees got the necessary signals and went into dormancy.
Research performed by universities is relatively expensive because we have to pay for the considerable infrastructure associated with research, including the salaries of trained researchers and technicians. Recently some growers have expressed a desire to perform their own research to save money.
Penn State graduate students and visiting scientists from other institutions play a critical role in many studies conducted at Penn State's Fruit Research and Extension Center in Biglerville, Adams County. And now, thanks to the financial support of the State Horticultural Association of Pennsylvania, new graduate-student housing at the center will help ensure those contributions into the future.
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.
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.
As apples mature, they begin to produce large amounts of the ripening hormone, ethylene. One of the ripening processes stimulated by ethylene is stem loosening.
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.
Researchers at Penn State are investigating how solitary and wild bees are increasingly important in the pollination of crops.
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.
Make sure you know where apple scab overwinters, how to monitor and when it is most likely to appear. Penn State Tree Fruit Plant Pathologist Kari Peter provides some key points..
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.
Thanks to one of our growers we have been advised of a formula error in our spreadsheet.
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.
The beginning of July usually marks a switch in our approach to control common insect pests in orchards.
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.
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.
If you still have a window for thinning apples, the majority of sites in Pennsylvania show a normal carbohydrate deficit, indicating that standard chemical thinner rates can be used.
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.
Temperatures will gradually increase to more seasonable weather beginning Monday. Bright sunny days with seasonable temperatures will mean it will be harder to remove fruits.
The MaluSim Carbohydrate model was run the morning of May 15 for 11 sites across the state. Results for May 15 through May 18 are predicted data based on weather forecasts.
All except the two farthest north stations have reported full bloom. This past weekend temperatures shortened bloom as most sites are either past petal fall or into petal fall.
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.
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.
Growers are reporting that some blocks of young trees have a heavy bloom and are concerned about negative effects on the vegetative growth of the trees in these early establishment years.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Prior to pruning peach trees this season, check for bud mortality from subzero winter temperatures.
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.
Approximately three quarters of our major food crops are pollinated. At the same time domestic honey bees hives are down by 59% compared to 60 years ago. Here we will look at how wild bees provide insurance against ongoing honey bee losses. Keep a look out for upcoming articles on factors affecting pollinators and ways farmers can promote pollinator health.