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February 2013


Need Seed?


Did you know that Cropworx is the largest supplier of seed on the West Slope?  We carry a wide array of cover crops, grass pasture mixes, alfalfas, small grains and corn seed.  Whatever your seed needs, we can fill your planter!  For over twenty years Bob Starr has been watching the performance and success of different varieties of seed planted in our area.  If you have a question on what to plant, or when to plant it, or how to plant it…..give Bob a call!


Conference Comments

Winter is the time for trade shows and seminars.  Every year I hear a few comments worthy of a note to reflect on at a later time.  Here’s a few:

 Tim Smith, WSU Extension–   

  • Without fumigation there is a consistent 20% - 50% reduction in yield over non-fumigated plots.

  • It takes more than 5 years of a field being fallow to = fumigation.

  • ANY perennial benefits from fumigation.

Diane Alston, Utah State –

  • From Dr. Alston’s talk on Western Cherry Fruit Fly.

  • Adults emerge from May to as late as October.

  • There is a single generation per year. 

  • At ~1060DD there will be 3% emergence with mature females present. 

  • Bright yellow traps with ammonium carbonate lure work the best for trapping WCFF. 

  • GF-120 on a bi-weekly schedule failed to prevent infested fruit,  GF-120 at a 20% solution weekly worked best for WCFF.

Greg Reighard, Clemson University -

  • Make sure that during the 3 – 4 week pre-harvest period of peaches there is NO irrigation deficit.

  • Trees pull water from the top 12” of soil, below that the available water is lost to the subsoil.

  • From pre-bloom to +/- 30 days past bloom the tree depends on stored carbohydrates to function, after this point the new season’s leaves begin to export carbohydrates to support the tree.  (This is the reason I’m such a believer in building reserves in the Fall and foliar feeding early Spring –LT)

  • Non showy varieties (such as Red Haven) pollinate before the bloom opens, showy types (such as Suncrest) pollinate the day the flower opens. (This information was presented during a chemical thinning discussion and the importance of timing - LT)

  • Fruit size lost early in the Spring cannot be made up later in the season. (Last season I came across a section of Cresthaven in my orchard that had been missed at thinning.  I called Kevin Day at the Kearney Ag center U of Ca. to ask him the questions, “How late in the season can thinning be done and still impact size at harvest?  At what point does thinning just become a pre-harvest cleanup? What does the research say? His response was that the research has never been done on those specific questions, but he believed that thinning post pit hardening gave no additional benefit on size. I decided to flag a few trees and thin them on July 31st, 21 days before harvest.  At harvest there was no visual difference in size between the thinned and the un-thinned. – LT)

  • It’s not spacing that determines final fruit size, it’s the number of fruit per tree. (In other words, if the bottom is blanked out by frost, leave the top heavier with fruit numbers – LT)

  • Peaches need at least 40 leaves per fruit to size properly.

  • To effectively bloom thin peaches you must remove 40 – 45% of the bloom.

  • You need a minimum of 30% sunlight on fruit and leaves to produce quality fruit. (Look for dappled sunlight on the orchard floor at mid-day during mid-summer – LT)

At our Hort show Greg Reighard spent a bit of time talking about the affect of post bloom temperatures on fruit size at harvest.  The gist of the talk was that warm/hot temps following bloom related to smaller fruit size at harvest.  Conversely cool temps following bloom result in larger fruit at harvest.  The research behind this information was conducted by Dr. Ted DeJong with the University of California at Davis.  The following is a link to the full research:


"On every question of construction, let us carry ourselves back to the time when the Constitution was adopted, recollect the spirit manifested in the debates, and instead of trying what meaning may be squeezed out of the text, or invented against it, conform to the probable one in which it was passed."                                    — Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to William Johnson, June 12, 1823



On the Web

Here’s a few internet links worth a look:   - A great site full of research information from the University of California             system.       - Pest fact sheets      - The Colorado/Utah spray guide


The Good? The Bad?  Or just ugly?

A number of years ago I posted a question on an internet discussion site regarding the European Earwig and how to control them in an orchard setting.  I was a bit surprised by the response that my question generated.  Not a single response about materials to use and when to apply them. Instead a flood of tongue lashings came my way for wanting to kill a great friend in the orchard!  Don’t you know what a terrific predator they are?  These little guys help keep the system in balance.  What’s wrong with you???  My guess is that the folks responding don’t make their living growing tree ripe peaches.

Thanks to the work of Diane Alston (and crew) at Utah State University controlling earwigs is getting easier.  During last month’s Western Colorado Hort convention Dr. Alston shared the following information from their research.

  • Earwig populations consist of adult males and females, 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th instar nymphs.

  • Adult females overwinter in a reproductive diapause (growth or development is suspended and physiological activity is diminished).

  • In spring females will tend up to two egg clutches with 30 to 50 eggs in each.

  • 1st & 2nd instar nymphs remain in the nest.

  • 3rd & 4th instar nymphs are present in the orchard from late May/early June until Fall.

  • Earwigs are effective predators of aphids, scale, psyllids, maggots and mites.

  • Their dispersal range from the nest is approximately 25 feet.

  • Most fruit damage occurs immediately prior to harvest of ripe fruit.

  • Suggested control: a single application of Lambda-cyhalothrin (Warrior) @ 1200-1300DD or approximately 2-3 weeks pre-harvest.

  • USU’s factsheet on earwigs -


Seducing Earwigs

Last season Certis introduced a new insecticide bait called Seduce that has Spinosad as the active ingredient.  This certified organic insecticide has a carbohydrate base that acts as a bait to attract pests to feed on the material.  The current label lists use on Earwig and Cutworms.   Last season Seduce was used in a few local stone fruit blocks.  The results were promising and provided a bit of insight on how to best use the product.  The applications made earlier in the season at lower rates seemed to give as good or better control as later applications at twice the amount (more on this topic in the next paragraph).  Certis is in the process of adding ants to the label.  This is great news to those fighting grape mealy bug since ants tend mealybug colonies for their own benefit.  In so doing ants protect mealybug colonies from natural predation.  Seduce bait placed in vineyard locations with mealy bug problems will greatly assist with natural predation.   If this product is of interest to you please give me a call so we can put together a program.


I’ve added the degree day range for Earwigs to the biophenometers I place in the fruit growing areas every season.  By using Dr. Alston’s development model I should be able to track their emergence and development.  This will allow for more accurate control timing.  I believe there may be two points during the season when control is best achieved.  Stay tuned for more, or give me a call to discuss this. 


“And if we think that laws designed to prevent crime can indeed make the world a safer place, we should ask ourselves this: How exactly, is the world made a safer place by making self-control and responsibility irrelevant?”  ― Jeff Snyder (Nation of Cowards)


Questions on any of this?  Please give me a call!

Larry  970-234-3424

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