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December 2006


Once again the Hort Society has put together a great program.  This years speakers will bring great insight on labor issues, chemical stone fruit thinning, peach pests and the latest on sweet cherries.  The goal of WCHS is to provide you with tools to make you a better, more profitable grower.  Don't miss this opportunity!

Grand Mesa Discount in cooperation with CSU is working towards bringing you a periodic update on winter hardiness levels of stone fruit (peach & cherry) buds.  If all goes well, by the time you read this the first tests will have been completed.  Our hope is to have an idea before critical freeze periods what temperature will result in significant bud mortality.  Look for a “Fruit Fax” on your e-mail, or give me a call and I'll fill you in.

At noon on January 4th at the CSU Rogers mesa station there will be a brown bag discussion on peach twig borer.  It will be an informal session reviewing control programs, results (both good and bad)from this last year, and ideas towards the coming season.  Bring a sack lunch and join the discussion!

These generic “Round-up's” just don't work!  I've heard that comment a number of times.  We talk often about rotating chemistry classes with insecticides to avoid “resistance”.  What about resistance with herbicides?  When was the last time you sprayed weeds and didn't have a glyphosate (Roundup) product in the tank?  There's a number of weeds in our area that have developed resistance to a specific herbicide.  If your weed spray program doesn't seem to work as well as it once did try changing materials.  Use a different “class”, leave the glyphosate out and spray with a burn-down product.


“Mistakes are a part of being human. Appreciate your mistakes for what they are: precious life lessons that can only be learned the hard way. Unless it's a fatal mistake, which, at least, others can learn from.”  Al Franken:

Brown Rot.  If you don't have a clue what that is consider your self fortunate!  Around the world it's one of the most destructive stone fruit diseases known. Under optimum conditions, entire fruit can be rotted within 48 hours of infection, often only days before harvest.  The first sign of the disease occurs at bloom with the rapid collapse of blossoms.  Turning brown they become covered in a gummy mass that develops into a grayish/tan spore.  Shoot blight can occur if the fungus girdles the twig.  Fortunately, since Colorado is a superior location to grow fruit (and live) we don't see much of this disease.  But don't fall asleep at the wheel!  IT IS HERE.  I had discussions with several growers this last season that watched their fruit rot “overnight”!  Brown rot overwinters on fruit mummies, stems, and cankers.  Moisture and optimum temperatures (72 -77°F) can cause infection within a few hours!  This is a problem that starts at bloom, builds up (usually undetected) through the summer, then bites you right at harvest.  As you prune this winter keep your eyes open for mummies still hanging in the trees.  At shuck fall you can monitor for the presence of blossom infection. Treatment starts at bloom!  Depending on the severity one to two sprays during bloom will help minimize loss at harvest.  Dr. Larsen will be giving a talk on this pest  at the hort show,  don't miss it!

Interested in learning, or improving your Spanish language skills?  I downloaded a course that focuses on agriculture.  The University of California makes it available free on the web.  If you're interested in a copy of the CD, let me know and I'll make one for you or give you the web address. 


Are you struggling with a pest problem?  Not getting control?  The first item you have to address is driving speed. I can’t tell you how fast you should drive, that changes with orchard configurations and the time of the year. Two miles per hour may be OK through petal fall, but too fast for summer covers when the orchard is in full leaf. If you’re not getting good insect or disease control, my first guess is that you may be driving too fast for conditions. (I am assuming that the timing of the application was correct and the material was appropriate.) An easy and inexpensive way to check your current coverage is to put a 25-lb. bag of Surround WP in 100 gallons of water and spray at your normal speed. After the spray has dried completely, check to see what is not covered. If you’re not happy with the coverage you will have to slow down, prune the tree differently or maybe both. Don’t expect your control to improve until you do something about your coverage.

A WSU Codling Moth Workshop gave out the following as a rough guide: 













It's common to hear, “It's great to finally have a cold winter, maybe it will kill some of our pests.”  Or the opposite, “ We had such a mild winter that everything survived.”  I came across the following info in Destructive and Useful Insects by Metcalf, Flint and Metcalf.  Regarding codling moth: “They remain dormant and are able to withstand low temperatures.  A drop in temperature to – 25°F or below however will kill many larvae.”  I suspect that if winter temps take care of your codling moth problem, your harvest worries will also be over!

At the start of 2007 your “Restricted Use” pesticide card and “Worker Protection Standards” will no longer be administered by the EPA.  The Colorado Department of Ag will take jurisdiction.  Your current RUP card will still be good till the expiration date, at that time you will renew with the state.  With the change will come new fees.  All things considered I think this will be a change for the better.   Check your Hort show program for Mr. John Scott with the Dept of Ag.  He will give a presentation dealing with all the changes.


I hope these holidays will be joyous for you and yours, and that the new year will prosper you in every way!

Larry  234-34

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