“We are finding mite populations in a few blocks. In one block, we saw a decent amount of damage along a dusty end row, and we were able to make a border spray. We found small amounts of mites on a couple of other ranches. Overall, though, we haven’t had considerable mite pressure this year.
“Over the next week, growers will be applying the last of their nitrogen for the season. Areas that are deficient will receive one more potash application.
“All but a few growers made a mummy spray. Adult counts were high, and a few orchards had high egg counts, as well. Navel orangeworm populations were sporadic, and we saw a decline after we sprayed.
“Almond development is progressing. Nonpareil is almost 100% filled in, and pollinators range from 50% to 75% filled.
“Overall, this has been a light bug year in pistachios, and we haven’t had to treat any blocks for true bugs. Starting this weekend, we will make mealybug sprays where needed. They are approaching the crawler stage, which is the most effective time to treat the next generation. These treatments overlap with the hatch of frosted scale, so we’re able to make one application for both.
“Fertility is going strong and trees look healthy.
“Walnut growers completed their first round of fertilizer applications over the last two to three weeks. They will apply another round in two to four weeks. The Serr crop is the biggest we have seen in a long time. Tulare and Chandler are sizing up excellently, as well. A big crop will be great for growers because the price has been unstable lately.
“Cotton is growing well, and we’re mainly treating for weeds. Acreage is way down this year between price and the water situation. Growers delayed planting due to the late rains.
“Tomato growers are cleaning up thrips in most blocks. Leafhopper pressure is minimal. Early bloom and crop set look good. Weeds are an issue, and chopping crews have been moving through fields. Powdery mildew is showing in early blocks and treatment has started. Fertility is in full swing, as well.
“Grapes are post-bloom with no signs of mildew.”
Franz Niederholzer, UC Farm Advisor, Colusa, Sutter and Yuba Counties
“Scattered showers fell across the Sacramento Valley early this week, with totals from less than a tenth of an inch to a half-inch. Cloudy skies and variable rain are in the forecast for this weekend (5/16-17) and into Tuesday. The rest of the month looks seasonably cool with no heat waves in the long-range forecast.
“Sprayers are applying fungicides in almonds if they didn’t already go out last weekend. With this rain forecast, the main concerns are summer diseases like rust and anthracnose. Scab and alternaria also are concerns on ranches with a history of diseases, although I haven’t seen any significant issues yet.
“Navel orangeworm egg counts are as expected. We’ve found them in some traps every week since late April. However, we do not see them in every trap every week. Growers who decided on a May spray for NOW this week may be combining it with their fungicide sprays. Timing can be tricky since the flight lasts far longer than any insecticide does.
“The almond crop looks tremendous and nuts are well into kernel fill. We are in the final stretch for nitrogen applications. Maintaining adequate potassium in the orchard will be essential for delivering a good crop next year, given the large 2020 harvest. Almonds use potassium up to hull spilt, so we still have time to make an application if spring leaf samples show lower-than-acceptable potassium levels. Orchards deficient in potassium this year will produce fewer flowers next February.
“Monitor moisture to ensure you’re matching irrigation to the orchard’s water needs. Predicted orchard water use for the coming week is 85% of normal and last week’s ET numbers were normal or just under it. Assume that only 50% of rainfall actually is available to the plants. ET values for all tree crops in both north and south Sacramento Valley are available on line.
“Also, sample irrigation water for water quality issues like salinity, chloride, boron and bicarbonates.
“Between the rain last weekend and what’s in the forecast this weekend, walnuts could be set up for walnut blight and botryosphaeria infections – if a bactericide for blight or a fungicide for botryosphaeria haven’t been applied.
“The walnut crop I’ve seen looks good, with doubles and some triples. We are approaching the first nitrogen application. Husk fly traps can begin going in place on June 1.
“Growers have been shaker-thinning prunes. Rust can be a concern for prunes, so consider applying a rust-control material.”
Sara Savary, PCA, Crop Care Associates, Fresno
“In almonds, growers are slowly finishing treatments for leaffooted plant bug and stink bug. The damage kept increasing every week in individual blocks, which warranted a spray. Stink bug damage turned up more in blocks near alfalfa fields. We found the first leaffooted bugs in blocks close to riparian areas.
“Growers who were spraying navel orangeworms included a material for leaffooted bug where needed. My growers didn’t do mummy sprays because they tend to control them pretty well with mummy shaking and sanitation.
“The high temperatures last week helped increase our degree days and didn’t seem to chase away the beneficials. We did see a slowdown in mite activity. Where we were finding mites, we also found beneficials.
“Alternaria always develops in a few of our blocks, and we will apply a fungicide in those cases. Along with a history of pressure, these tend to be orchards with dense canopies and sprinklers.
“We detected downy mildew in one walnut block and will continue to monitor that.
“The codling moths’ first hatch and flight, the 1A, started last week and continued into this week. Next week, we expect another hatch and flight, the 1B. Ivanhoe and Tulare tend to be more susceptible to the first flight, and we sprayed last week. Chandlers don’t seem to warrant a spray until the second flight. We did find a more noticeable drop with last week’s warmer temperatures.
“Peach harvest started in the early varieties, and that will transition into the white peaches next. Grapes are halfway done with bloom, depending on varieties. Growers are applying gibberellic acid to thin the bunches and adjust the berry size.”
Rodney Ratzlaff, PCA/CCA, Nutrien, Merced
“Weather seems to be on a roller coaster ride, with some temperatures this last weekend nearing 100, then this weekend (5/16-17), the forecast calls for highs in the 70s and the possibility of a few rain showers on Sunday to Tuesday.
“Except for a couple of days with extreme heat, the weather has been fair for new growth, and most of the trees I’m looking at are growing well despite the large crop. I’m measuring anywhere from 8 inches of new growth to well over a foot of it.