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.
Q: Each year I question whether I'm putting straw mulch on my strawberries too early. Some years, I've waited too long (usually due to hunting season) - then we get snow and I can't get it on at all, so I'd like to mulch as early as I can. I've seen an assortment of recommendations – what should I go by? Thanks.
Early-season yield and packout predictions are useful for growers and packers to plan for adequate harvest labor and storage space, to obtain the appropriate numbers of bins for harvest, and to develop an orderly marketing plan. Fruit yield is a function of numbers of fruit per acre and the size of those fruit. To accurately predict yield, one must have an accurate estimate of the average number of fruit per acre and average fruit size. If one would like to predict fruit packout, then an estimate of the distribution of fruit size is also needed. Obtaining accurate estimates of fruit numbers and fruit size requires appropriate sampling schemes. The purpose of this article is to review the information in the scientific literature on estimating yield and fruit size along with suggestions for next steps.
Stinger, a selective, postemergence herbicide for control of broadleaf weeds, is now labeled for use on apples. It is especially effective against thistles, dandelion, nightshades, and goldenrod, with some activity against clovers. Its mode of action is somewhat similar to 2,4-D, acting as a synthetic auxin, and it is in the same HRAC category as triclopyr (Garlon®).
Like many people, you may have fallen into the trap of thinking, “I am a farmer, not a business person.” However, consider the amount of money you handle in a year – most small business owners would like to handle that much money in a year’s time. You are a business person, and as such, you need to plan for success!
Penn State Extension has planned nine educational meetings for tree fruit growers throughout Pennsylvania. The meetings are designed to address current challenges with the latest research based information.
Vole populations exhibit distinctive population fluctuations of approximately 4 year cycles, and based on reports from around the state, this may be an “up” year. One of the last tasks in getting the orchards ready for winter is planning your strategy to control voles and prevent their damage.
Based on vole monitoring reports from the Penn State Fruit Research and Extension Center in Biglerville, 2013 may have been an ideal year for vole reproduction in orchards. Late fall is an important time to place bait for voles because this practice helps reduce populations before the onset of winter, when vole damage is most severe and snow cover precludes the use of toxicants. Timing influences the success of control programs. Wet weather reduces the effectiveness of toxicants. Therefore, try to place the bait when the weather is likely to be fair and dry for at least three days. Baits are most effective when naturally occurring foods are limited.
There are many types of tree nuts that grow in Pennsylvania, especially in the southern and eastern parts of the state. If you’d like to grow nuts to add to your product selection, you are more likely to be successful with a little planning and careful selection of the types of nuts you plant.
Apple fruit will withstand up to 4 hours at 28°F before serious injury occurs, but it is difficult to give a hard and fast rule to predict injury based upon minimum temperatures and duration, as the recovery depends not only on the extent of freezing, but also the rate of thawing.
To reduce apple scab risk for next season, growers are encouraged to spray a fall application of urea as close to leaf drop as possible. Additional disease management strategies are also discussed.
A new website developed by Penn State Extension specialists is designed to be a one-stop resource for those seeking information on the Health Insurance Marketplace, which was created under the federal Affordable Care Act. The Health Insurance Marketplace is a unique opportunity for small businesses, previously uninsured consumers, and others to shop for health insurance and compare plans at one location.
Researchers and growers explain management methods for BMSB such as insecticides, trap cropping, physical barriers, and organic and biological control techniques—in a new video.
The Penn State Extension Integrated Pest Management web site has a Spotted Wing Drosophila (SWD) page. This web page contains links to some very good SWD publications, including updated Penn State Fact Sheets on the fruit pest.
Last January, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a draft Produce Safety Rule as required under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) of 2011. This proposed regulation would establish mandatory practices that farmers must take to prevent microbial contamination of fresh produce. The proposed standards include requirements for controlling potential food safety hazards in areas where contamination is most likely to occur including farm worker hygiene, the use of soil supplements containing animal manure, and sanitation conditions for buildings, equipment and tools. Common questions are addressed in this article.