Sunday, December 3, 2017

SJ Valley Almond Growers Checking To-Do List Twice

The holidays are fast approaching and everyone knows ol’ St. Nick is making his list and checking it twice.

So too are Valley almond growers. They’re also are making their list and checking it twice to ensure all the late fall and early winter chores on the to-do list are completed as almonds head into the dormant season.

“This is a good time to get your work done in the orchards before the winter rains arrive and the ground gets too muddy,” says field scout Jenna Mayfield. “Growers also should follow best management practices to prepare their orchards for next season.”

Jenna offers her own list of chores:

·         * Survey the trees to make sure there are no more than two mummy nuts per tree by February 1. Jenna points out University of California researchers have found ignoring winter mummy nut sanitation leads to higher populations of overwintering navel orangeworm and greater kernel damage at harvest time.

·         * Inspect drip irrigation lines and sprinkler heads and make the necessary repairs. Growers don’t want to wait until they start irrigating next season and discover their drip lines are damaged.

Now is the time to repair drip systems.
·        *  Fix the potholes on access roads. Growers can scrap the dirt and level to smooth the roadway.
·         * Remove loose or broken bark caused by shakers. These nooks could become winter havens for pests.
·       *   Survey the orchard floor for weeds and identify those that were not controlled by a fall preemergent treatment. Record the findings. UC Integrated Pest Management says growers should consider applying a post-emergent treatment in January.

Here are other chores identified by UC IPM:

·         * Take a dormant spur sample for scale and mite eggs from now until mid-January. Make sure to record the findings. Treat if necessary.
·        *  Check trees for hiding places for peach twig borer. If treatment is needed, use a more environmentally friendly material or put off treatment until bloom.
·        *  Monitor for rust in orchards with almond varieties that keep their leaves. Treatment would come in the spring.
Growers have a long to-do list for winter chores.
·      *    Watch for gophers and mound-building activity.
By following these practices, Jenna says, growers will enhance their pest control activities while avoiding environmental problems related to pesticide use. It’s time to get to work because there’s only 17 working days before winter.

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