As I write on this first day of autumn most Delta county growers are busy with apple harvest, while our peach growing Mesa county neighbors are up above us elk hunting! Sometimes I wonder if I settled into the wrong area.
Although harvest is a busy time of year, it’s also the best time to plan changes for next year. Whether you’re in the middle of picking or just finished, take a couple of hours and walk your orchard with a pad and pen, think about what worked and what didn’t. How was your fruit size? Did it color well? Did you have a particular pest problem? Can’t find the trees amongst the weeds??? Is the lack of extension growth due to water or nutrition? Did Coryneum blight or powdery mildew take too big a bite out of your pack out? Each one of us can develop a list that’s unique to our operation. WRITE THEM DOWN! Tape your list on the February page of next year’s calendar. Don’t repeat the same mistakes!!! Several hours spent performing this task can be the most profitable ones you spend all year!
“The measure of success is not whether you have a tough problem to deal with, but whether it’s the same problem you had last year.” John Foster Dulles
It’s time to get a jump on next year’s powdery mildew problem. If you have a particular block that has been plagued by mildew then consider a post harvest AQ10 application. By applying AQ10 after harvest, you can infest the overwintering stage of powdery mildew known as the cleistothecia. The AQ10 organism will overwinter in the cleistothecia and become active in the spring preventing the release of spores. Timing is anytime after harvest, but before the cleistothecia harden off for the winter and can no longer be infected. Cleistothecia can be seen through a hand lens and when they have turned black they are hardened off for the winter. Rate: ½ ounce per acre on grapes, 1 ounce per acre on all other crops.
It’s Round Up time again. Fall is the best time to control tough perennial weeds like morning glory, quackgrass, and mallow. Perennial weeds are sending nutrients to the roots for storage. A Round Up application this fall will take care of them, as well as fall germinated annuals such as blue mustard (delay until they’re up) and keep your herbicide strip clean well into next spring. Remember that the more concentrated you can apply Round Up the more effective it is. A CAUTION: remember that at this time of year your trees are also moving nutrients into their roots… be careful not to spray suckers at the base of the tree.
Fall is also a great time to apply residual herbicides. The key factors in safe and effective weed control are calibration, uniform coverage and timely incorporation. An application in the next couple of months will be incorporated with the first rain or snow. There are a number of herbicides available for trees of all kinds and ages. A middle of the road rate will normally keep the herbicide strip free of most weeds for the summer. Give us a call and we’ll tailor a program for your block.
Did fireblight strike at your place? Now while it’s easy to see the blight strikes is a good time to make a quick trip through and cut out affected limbs. Sanitation is one of the keys to reducing fireblight in your orchard.
Coryneum Blight: Spread and germination of this disease begins with the first cool, wet weather of early fall. Apricots, peaches, and nectarines should be covered while the weather is still normally warm and dry. The objective is to have a fungicide barrier on the twig before the spore arrives, carried by early fall rains. Good coverage is important. Use COCS or Kocide, lower rates should be adequate in clean orchards, if you had leaf or fruit symptoms, use the higher rate.
A close mowing will hasten the decay of fruit left behind in the orchard, removing a food source for mouse build up. I saw a mature block of goldens get pushed this year due to girdling by mice. If you have a sod cover throughout your block, check for runways and nests. Herbicide strips and mouse bait will keep them in control.
Ramik @ 1-2 tablespoons per 8’-12’ of tree row; or ZP Bait @ 6-10 lbs per acre
Are you an online surfing orchardist? If so take a look at the following site that comes from New Zealand. www.hortnet.co.nz Let me know of your favorite sites (weather, horticultural, etc..) and I’ll pass them along.
Give us a call, better yet, stop by the store for a visit. There’s always a cup of coffee or a cold pop.