Scale and Lower Branch Dieback in Almonds

Posted by Gurreet Brar  /   September 13, 2014  /   Posted in Almond  /   4 Comments

Gurreet Brar, UCCE Farm Advisor (Nut Crops), Fresno & Madera Counties

Lower branches killed by high populations of scale (Photo by Gurreet Brar).

Lower branches killed by high populations of scale (Photo by Gurreet Brar).

This summer we observed many cases of lower branch dieback in almond trees (like the one shown in picture). In many cases these symptoms were found to be associated with high scale populations. Diagnosis of such branches revealed that San Jose Scale and Walnut Scale caused lesions beneath the bark resulting in death of the tissue. These scales suck plant juices from the inner bark by inserting their mouthparts into twigs and injecting a toxin. When the populations become high enough, the numerous lesions may coalesce and cause the whole branch to die. Uncontrolled populations can kill branches within 1-3 years. San Jose Scale can be found on most, if not all, almond varieties. Walnut scale seems to like Monterey variety more than the others. Read More

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After a tough year, make key irrigation maintenance a priority.

Posted by Franz Niederholzer  /   August 30, 2014  /   Posted in Almond  /   3 Comments

Written By: Franz Niederholzer, UCCE Farm Advisor, Colusa/Sutter/Yuba Counties

Despite strong nut pricing, the drought is making 2014 a very tough year for growers, their trees, and in many cases, their irrigation systems.  Low quality irrigation water, potentially stressing trees and irrigation systems, was/is applied to many orchards this year that normally received higher quality water.  Irrigation system maintenance, especially cleaning drip lines to ensure uniform and adequate water flow, should be high on the do-to list this fall.  The following is a quick review of key practices to keep drip emitters from clogging.  For more complete information, see the sources listed at the end of the post. Read More

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Water Stress and Varietal Differences

Posted by David Doll  /   August 22, 2014  /   Posted in Almond  /   2 Comments
Leaf drop observed in the almond variety 'Monterey.' Senescence and drop is most likely due to water stress. Photo courtesy of James Nichols.

Leaf drop observed in the almond variety ‘Monterey.’ Senescence and drop is most likely due to water stress. Photo courtesy of James Nichols.

A few visits and emails have highlighted differences in leaf drop patterns observed across varieties within an orchard. Full rows of trees will have yellow leaves that drop in time, characteristic of water stress while other varieties appear unaffected. These “in-field” observations suggest that almond varieties respond differently to the amount of water applied. For example, the variety ‘Monterey’ and ‘Aldrich’ have been observed to show signs of stress before ‘Nonpareil’ trees even though crop load is similar. In these cases, these trees may undergo severe leaf drop while ‘Nonpareil’ appears unaffected. Read More

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Odd weather at harvest, so far

Posted by Franz Niederholzer  /   August 10, 2014  /   Posted in Almond  /   No Comments

Written by Franz Niederholzer, UCCE Farm Advisor, Colusa/Sutter/Yuba Counties

Conditioned nuts in Colusa County

Conditioned ‘Nonpareil’ nuts at harvest,  Colusa County

So far, the weather in the Sacramento Valley has been unusually moist early in the 2014 harvest season.  Higher humidity and rain last week (Aug 4-5 = 0.1-0.6”) slowed nut drying just as the season began.  A chance of thundershowers is forecast for the coming week (Aug 11-15), so we won’t spring right back to the usual August weather – hot and dry.  Growers anxious to get nuts up and out of the orchard will have to wait longer than expected to deliver a dry, quality crop.  Wet nuts are more vulnerable to damage (chipped, broken and embedded shell), which can reduce return to grower. Read More

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