The apple blossoms are open and conditions are soon to be optimal for fire blight infection. Keep an eye on the weather for favorable temperatures and moisture since forecasts indicate May 9th to 12th (and possibly beyond) to be an infection period. Blossoms need to be protected.
Brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) started emerging from overwintering shelters. In the majority of orchards no stink bug control activities are required at this time. If hand applied mating disruption materials are planned for the control of codling moth, Oriental fruit moth, dogwood borer, peach tree borer or lesser peach tree borer, now is a time to place dispensers in orchards.
Recently, there has been a lot of press related to pollinator health, and some troubling information indicates that certain fungicides, when used during bloom, can negatively affect the health of honey bees. This is a complicated problem with the solutions relying on understanding the detailed relationships among chemicals, pollinators and pest management needs. It is not prudent to treat this topic with a broad brush with statements such as "All neonicotinoid insecticides are bad for all pollinator species," or "No fungicides should be sprayed during bloom." Research is on-going, and we do not know all of the details yet.
Apple scab spores continue to rapidly mature and be released. With the expected rainfall accumulations predicted for tonight to Wednesday night to be at least three inches, the stage could be set for a severe apple scab infection period. Growers are encouraged to apply a spray prior to rainfall, particularly to susceptible cultivars and areas known for high scab inoculum.
Early season apple disease management is primarily directed at controlling scab. At 39°F, 28 hours of continuous wetting are required for infection, while at 61 to 75°F, only 6 hours are required. The Revised Mills Table in this article will help you calculate apple scab infection periods.
The 2014 spring temperatures—the lowest Degree Day accumulations in the last 10+ years—are keeping development of most insects at a slower pace than experienced during previous seasons. So far, all insect biofixes are later than in the past. It appears the lower temperatures, which are slowing the growth of plants, are also helpful in lowering the initial spring pressure from brown marmorated stink bugs.
The importance of knowing the weed species present and the extent of the spread can provide you with valuable insight on possible control strategies. The Penn State Center for Turfgrass Science developed this interactive site to help growers identify weed species. The chemical recommendations are not for tree fruit, and you will need to refer to Penn State fruit production guides for control options.
Weeds can surprise you with the amount of competition they create in the springtime, especially when they've been protected under snow or plastic and row covers. Here we'll discuss control of some of our common winter annual weed problems, and also two perennials.
Due to low winter temperatures and spring frosts, some peach varieties may have no crop this year. Below are some considerations for managing trees with no crop.
Significant damage to cherry flower buds was observed following the freezing temperatures last week. While some of this damage may have occurred during the winter, most appears to be recent.
I received a phone call from Dr. Greg Peck at Virginia Tech’s lab in Winchester, VA following last week’s freezing temperatures. Greg said that he was seeing a surprising amount of freeze injury to apple flower pistils. I mentioned that our minimum temperatures hadn’t dropped below the critical values for apple buds between half inch green and tight cluster, (23° F and 27°F, respectively).
Apple scab spores continue to rapidly mature and discharge. Rain and thunderstorms are forecasted for Tuesday, April 22, 2014, and combined with temperatures in the upper 60s to low 70s, these are once again great conditions for scab infection. Apple cultivars with green tissue need to be protected.
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!