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Fruit Times

May 6, 2016

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.

Most important scab infection period of the season this week: protect your trees! Photo: K. Peter
May 3, 2016

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.

May 3, 2016

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.

May 2, 2016

Understanding insecticide modes of action may not be easy but following the IRAC MoA Classification for resistance management is as simple as rotating the numbers.

The release of overwintering apple scab spores will be peaking soon: protect your trees. Photo: K. Peter
April 29, 2016

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.

April 29, 2016

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.

Oriental fruit moth injured shoot. Photo: Greg Krawczyk
April 29, 2016

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.

In apples boron is commonly applied as a foliar spray either early in the spring or as a postharvest application. Photo: T. Baugher
April 29, 2016

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.

The tall spindle was developed as an offshoot of the slender spindle training system to take advantage of increased canopy volume by increasing tree height.
April 29, 2016

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.

Well-Feathered Fuji/V6 at planting. Photo: R. Crassweller
April 29, 2016

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.

Botrytis cinerea sporulation on a ripe strawberry.  Scott Bauer, USDA Agricultural Research Service, Bugwood.org
April 29, 2016

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.

April 26, 2016

Mike Basedow recently joined Penn State Extension in Adams County as an Extension Tree Fruit Assistant.

April 25, 2016

The Orchard Spray Record-Keeping Spreadsheet for 2016 has been updated and is available online.

April 25, 2016

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.

Oriental fruit moth larva(e) (Grapholita molesta). Photo: Clemson University, USDA Cooperative Extension Slide Series, Bugwood.org
April 22, 2016

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.

Spotted wing drosophila male (upper right on berry) and female (lower left). Photo by Kathy Demchak
April 19, 2016

Spotted wing drosophila, or Drosophila suzukii, lays eggs in such valuable soft-skinned fruit as raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, strawberries and cherries. The eggs develop into larvae, leaving the fruit unmarketable.

April 18, 2016

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.

In spite of the cold injury evident on these spur leaves, the apple flowers are viable. Spur leaf health will be an important consideration later in the season when growers adjust crop load. Photo: E. Winzeler.
April 15, 2016

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!

Photo: green fruitworm (Orthosia hibisci), Whitney Cranshaw, Bugwood.org
April 14, 2016

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.

April 12, 2016

In a previous article, I had mentioned Closer (sulfoxaflor) insecticide as being registered for use on strawberries. It had been for a while, but last fall EPA issued a cancellation order for the product, after the federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals found that EPA improperly approved the registration.