20 Mar Springtime in the Field
Out in the groves, West Pak field experts Ralph Gonzalez and Andrew Gabryszak share the latest cultural report and tell us what’s next as we enter spring and ramp up the California season.
Pruning, Planting, Etc.
With some good rains, a strong market, and a lot of fruit on the trees, many growers are looking to take some size off the trees and relieve them of extra weight. This does two things. It gives the trees a chance to focus their energy on the remaining fruit to size and also to flower. The other is that it puts a little capital in the bank.
According to Southern Field Manager Andrew Gabryszak, the chance for frost is all but gone, so if you were planning on redeveloping a section of your grove, now is the time for planting. After the rains, ground prep will be easier, and you should be ready to go when your trees arrive.
“Growers that have not pruned yet should initiate that process after the current wet pattern subsides. Most groves in the north have started budding and are in the cauliflower stage, and some growers are making plans to apply foliar,” said West Pak Northern California Field Manager Ralph Gonzalez.
“Branch pruning is still an option at this time, and as hard as it is to cut flowers off the tree, it can still be done without harming the flower cycle as long as you do not remove more than 25% of the foliage. Bees, Zutano pollen, bloom sprays, and Pro Gib should be getting lined up as the bloom is advancing rapidly,” added Andrew.
Over the next three months, the focus will be on maximizing the fruit set for next season. Ralph advises growers to walk their groves regularly to ensure proper irrigation and nutrition, both vital to maximizing fruit set.
Getting Ahead of Pest Control
With the cool weather and the start of blooming, the onset of Scirtothrips Persea is possible. The cool, moist weather is conducive to the life cycle of these pests. In May and June, as flowering expires, new leaf flush and fruitlets attract pests at unacceptable levels. Growers are advised to keep in contact with their PCA to stay on top of things.