Apple scab spores are rapidly maturing and beginning to discharge. Combined with the rain and temperatures in the 60s, these are great conditions for scab infection. Early season apple cultivars with green tissue need to be protected.
If not already completed, copper sprays are encouraged for fungal and bacterial disease control. Scab spores have not yet been released. Excellent resources are available for growers for resistance management this season.
In the March 19, 2014 Federal Register the Environmental Protection Agency issued proposed changes to the Agricultural Worker Protection Standard (WPS). The intent of these changes is increase protections from pesticide exposure for the nation’s two million agricultural workers and their families.
There is a need to figure out novel disease management strategies necessary for staying one step ahead of postharvest decay pathogens. Evaluating wild apples for resistance to postharvest diseases, understanding fungi causing decay in storage, and finding alternatives for controlling rots are briefly discussed.
The 2014 edition of the Commercial Vegetable Production Recommendations guide is now available on-line. The guide contains up-to-date research-based information on growing vegetables sustainably.
As you begin thinking about your IPM scouting program for the new season, consider the value of field guide for proper identification of orchard pests and beneficials. The Tree Fruit Field Guide to Insect, Mite, and Disease Pests and Natural Enemies of Eastern North America includes 500 color photos, actual size drawings of pests, over 20 pages of diagnostic keys.
Upon occasion, commercial growers try to find information on growing an alternative crop and find that there just isn't much information available. One crop that has received a lot of good press lately has been Goji berry. We have very little experience with this crop here, so were fortunate enough to get some information from others who have.
Our berry good question this month brought to mind a number of other questions about fertilization that we are frequently asked. So more questions and answers follow this first question from Sarah Blevins, S.J. Blevins Berries, etc. Thanks for asking, Sarah!
Penn State was the first institution in the country to put its production guide up on line in the mid-1990s. The new 2014-2015 Tree Fruit Production Guide is available as a hard copy and also as a pdf with a table of contents hot linked to the appropriate sections in the guide and all the URLs to additional reference material also hot linked. To save postage, purchase a copy of the production guide at one of the 9 spring twilight meetings for fruit growers!
As stated on the pesticide label – the sprayer needs calibrated before you spray! The challenge with air blast sprayer (ABS) calibration is accurately and efficiently collecting and comparing nozzle output.
Since temperatures got as low as -6˚F locally this winter, we evaluated bud mortality of four varieties of peach growing in Adams County on Feb. 26, 2014. Given the colder sub-zero temperatures experienced this winter in parts of western and northern Pennsylvania, it is likely that flower bud mortality may be higher in these regions.
We continue to see some below zero temperatures that were preceded by warmer temperatures. During the past 30 days, there were 3 dates with temperatures below 0°F.
The Orchard Spray Record-Keeping Spreadsheet has been updated and is available at the Penn State Tree Fruit Production website (http://extension.psu.edu/plants/tree-fruit). New features include the addition of FRAC codes and pages for supplying additional information required by processors.
At the Mid-Atlantic Fruit and Vegetable Convention this year, the State Horticultural Association of Pennsylvania (SHAP) asked researchers to display posters so everyone can see the results of grower-funded research and extension projects. Industry support not only allows researchers and extension personnel to solve industry problems, but industry funding is becoming a requirement for hiring applied researchers and extension workers.
The 2014-2015 Penn State Tree Fruit Production Guide has been updated for the 2014 growing season. In our goal to make the guide as comprehensive as possible we have added sections on postharvest disease control, marketing, the Geneva rootstock series and native pollinators.
One option for avoiding injury from spotted wing drosophila is to plant earlier-maturing varieties. This article discusses some cultivars that might fit the bill.
A must-have investment for folks in the tree fruit business is the recently released Compendium of Apple and Pear Diseases and Pests, Second Edition. The first edition was published in 1990 and the second edition has evolved to be nearly double in size. My one word review of the second edition: awesome.
Just about a year ago Rich Marini posted a good article on the Effect of Pruning on Cold Hardiness of Fruit Trees (link below). In the article he talks about the effect of early winter pruning on cold hardiness. I have firsthand experience at Rock Springs on the effects of December pruning on peaches. In my tree fruit class one of the laboratory exercises is to have the students learn to prune peaches. Unfortunately, due to the time the course is offered it is necessary to prune the trees in December. Photo A shows the damage I usually observe the next spring from our pruning lessons in December.
Strawberry is an herbaceous perennial plant and it is fairly susceptible to low winter temperatures. An understanding of the cold acclimation process is important to delay mulch application until the plants have acclimated but before plants are exposed to injurious temperatures.
The "Berry Good Question" column is being re-launched as a joint Cornell/Penn State effort.