Apple orchards with reduced
It's been a tough spring, and the weekend of April 28-29 brought
cold temperatures that caused extensive bud damage, in addition
to previous cold events. It will be difficult to tell if any crop
will set until fruit set in the middle to late May, possibly June
in later districts. Until then, here are some thoughts to consider:
- Apple scab infections need to be prevented until the
end of primary scab season. Maintain protection on new growth
to reduce overwintering inoculum and keep trees in good health
for next year. Verify there are no scab lesions before reducing
your fungicide program.
- Powdery mildew can cause extensive damage to susceptible
varieties like Gala, Honeycrisp, Jonagold, Idared, Cortland, Paulared,
etc. Choose fungicides that will control scab as well as powdery
mildew, and continue until terminal bud set.
- Fire blight is a big risk as the weather changes to hot
and humid. Run MaryBlyt or CougarBlight, and apply streptomycin
when risk is high. Watch for rattail bloom, and keep those blossoms
protected. Apogee, when used the higher rates, starting at king
bloom petal fall, helps in reducing fire blight damage.
- Direct insects like plum curculio, Oriental fruit moth, Oblique-banded
leaf roller and codling moth, if left uncontrolled,
might become resident in the orchard, and difficult to manage
next year. Monitor for sustained moth catch and follow recommendations
on pages 48, 50 and 59 of Pub.
360. One or perhaps two insecticides may be required if mating
disruption has not been applied.
- Indirect pests like European red mite can be controlled
by predators if insecticides are reduced. Monitor for both European
red mite and beneficial insects to decide, but don't let populations
explode. Trees can tolerate a higher mite population under low
crop load. If oil was applied before egg hatch, season-long control
- Young trees should be monitored for leafhoppers, aphids, apple
leaf curling midge and Oriental fruit moth (which can deform trees),
Remove fire blight strikes at least weekly.
- Apogee could be very useful this year to control the
tree's growth if crop is reduced. First application should go
on now when new shoots are 1-2" (2-5 mm) long, and repeat
applications every 2 weeks, until 2 weeks before terminal bud
set. In this early season, you will likely need to apply one more
Apogee spray that usual. Apogee, when used at the higher rates
will help reduce shoot blight infections, and make terminals less
attractive to OBLR. At the very least, try some Apogee on high
value blocks to learn more about how to use it in a low crop year.
- With the reduced crop load, vegetative growth may be
excessive. Summer pruning will be required to check this growth.
This cultural practice will open up the canopy for good air circulation
for disease management and allow spray penetration into the tree.
In areas where only partial crop loss has occurred, and some fruit
will be salvageable through spot picking, a regular pest management
program should be maintained
For more information:
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