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September 2006


If you had a block(s) of fruit with a pest problem (insect or disease) this season, take a moment SOON and write a few notes.  Record the area, the problem and when it showed up.  Next spring when you put together spray programs a few notes can go along way towards avoiding a repeat.


Here's a tip to improve next year's fruit size now!  Trees move nutrients from the leaves back into the buds and wood prior to leaf drop.  Research in California shows that a foliar spray of urea on peach begins to move into the leaf within two hours, with over 80% of the applied N moving into the leaves within 24 hours.  The efficiency of N recovery through a foliar urea application is four-fold greater than through soil application.   This nitrogen is mobilized and moved into other plant parts such as shoots and buds within one week. It remains there until spring when it is available for early use during cell division (more cells = larger fruit)!   Urea is known to enhance the uptake of other micronutrients when sprayed in combination.  Adding zinc, iron, manganese or any other element your tree requires will help boost bud strength and tree health.  No detrimental effects have been found on winter hardiness, quite the opposite, research has shown that healthy buds with good nutrient reserves are the most winter hardy. Give me a call to talk about rates.


When you choose a material to apply via the foliage, choose wisely!  The material must be soluble and able to pass through the plants many barriers.  Insoluble mineral salts, all oxides, most hydroxides, phosphates, and some sulfates cannot be efficiently absorbed by the plant.  Applications with these formulations simply “paint” the outside of the plant.  That’s the reason  many spray products are formulated as chelates.  The mineral molecule is surrounded by organic molecules to form a protective coat that the plant will absorb.   Once inside, the coat is shed and the mineral becomes available to the plant.   Grand Mesa Discount has chosen to handle Metalosate, Albion Labs line of foliar nutrition products.  They are a highly soluble material formulated around an amino acid chelate.  Amino acids are the basic building blocks of protein and are found in all living things.  Plants recognize amino acids as a food source and will readily absorb them.


“Opinion is that exercise of the human will which helps us to make a decision without information.”

            John Erskine


The most common timing to apply ground fertilizer has been to make an application in the late fall.  Harvest is done, hunting is over, too early to start the honey do’s, too early to prune, why not spread a bit of fertilizer?  Research has shown that uptake and movement into the tree of a dormant application is greatly reduced and subject to winter leaching (recovery of soil-applied N by fruit trees typically ranges from 25-35%, Khemira, 1995).  Moreover, a late fall application will not be available till late, (too late) in the spring, past the cell division period when soil temps warm up.  A dormant application contributes most toward summer vegetative growth.  Consider a different timing.  Mid-August to mid-September most terminal growth has ceased, the temps are still warm and the tree is maintaining a high rate of respiration.  Fertilizer applied at this time, followed by a light irrigation will quickly be moved up into the tree.  It’s then stored, ready for cell division the next spring.   The “sweet spot” to aim for is the period when the tree is between it’s summer work and winter sleep.  Be cautious about late maturing varieties, they stay active later in the season.



Take a walk with your pole saw before the leaves fall.  It's a great time of the year to remove shade from your orchard.  If you can't see through the “thicket” the sun can't either.  Your sprayer can't penetrate those dense areas to deliver fungicides or insecticides to the top of the tree.  A few large cuts here and there can greatly improve sunlight distribution and air movement within the tree!  The fruit buds in the lower part of the tree will reward you for your efforts!


I saw more Coryneum blight this season than I have for several years.   If you found blight marked fruit in your bins, starting your clean up program this fall will go a long way towards a clean crop next year.  You're too late for optimum disease control if you wait until most of the leaves are off the tree.  The first autumn rains can start the spread of the disease.  Infection can also take place in the dormant season if proper moisture and temperature conditions occur.  Spores, spread primarily by splashing water can remain viable several months.  The key to control is PREVENTION.  This is especially true if you’re farming with organic methods.  Establishing a protective barrier with copper is vital to keep Coryneum from germinating and spreading.  Good sprayer coverage is important! The disease usually starts low inside the tree where moisture persists, so be sure and target this area.  How aggressive you need to be with rates and applications depends on if you need to clean up a problem or are just performing routine maintenance.   When you purchase a copper material, look at the percentage of copper in the product.  With some materials you can spend a lot for not much copper.  My preference is still COCS.  It provides you with the most actual copper for the least dollars


“Live life in such a way that you would not be afraid to sell your parrot to the town gossip.” Will Rogers


If green background on Fuji is a problem use Ethephon at 13 oz/400 gal.  Three sprays starting five to six weeks prior to harvest, then a week apart.  Make sure you buffer the spray water.  Air temperature should be at least 60ºF.  This program will produce a nice yellow background without effecting maturity or storage quality.


Every spring I get questions about residual herbicides.  It's usually from growers with furrow irrigation and bad weed pressure.  Fall is the best time to apply next year's residual materials.  These materials need incorporation.  Making a late fall application greatly increases the odds that a rain or snowfall will set them in place.  There's a number of materials available, give me a call this fall to take care of next year's weeds!


Please call with any questions!


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