13 Nov End of Year Field Report
Transitioning from a mild summer into a fairly dry fall, the West Pak field team has a few tips to keep your crops at peak health and ready for the banner year ahead of us.
According to Southern Field Manager Andrew Gabryszak, the trees are looking great in the south this fall, having survived the summer with no significant heat storms or water restrictions. He does say that now is not the time to skimp on irrigation as a quick Santa Ana winds can come out of nowhere and shock the trees if they are under-watered.
Northern Field Manager Mike Harberson agrees and points out that the northern regions of California tend to get hit harder by these eastern winds, which start in September and carry through into December. In fact, there have already been some flareups in his region in the 40-50 mph range.
Both field pros acknowledge that growers should have fall fertilization underway based on ongoing soil and leaf analysis. Mid-November is the time to inject trees that need either buffered or non-buffered acid. Girdling should also take place in November, giving the trees a two-week break in between injecting and girdling.
There’s definitely a threat of cold in the winter months, especially in the low-lying areas of the North. Mike recommends that if growers do have wind machines that they fire them up and make sure that they are operating beforehand. Also, growers should start erosion control measures now, and get the roads ready for the winter rains that are likely to hit in December.
Some fall plantings are taking place in areas that are free of frost or freeze. Andy points out that pruning and thinning are hard to do at this time with the amount of fruit on the trees. He does suggest that branches should be selected now for pruning in January or February if you are on a branch-pruning schedule. Also, sections for redevelopment should be chosen if you have trees available for the spring.
And the good news with the bugs: their numbers are minimal after a recent big looper flare up and die off. Even the growers that skipped spraying did not see the critters as a significant concern.