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(originally published July 2017)


Farm advisors and professionals in orchard water management emphasize that tools to determine soil moisture in relation to water holding capacity of the soils and tree water stress in your walnut orchards are critical to irrigation decisions.

Allan Fulton, University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE) irrigation and water resources advisor in Tehama County, said, many walnut growers and managers in the Central Valley are using some combination of soil moisture sensors, water budgeting, and tree stress indicators to determine initial irrigation needs and they also use them to make sure trees have adequate moisture throughout the growing season.

 WCN Almond Dust Control 903

(originally published July 2017)

Good, thorough dust control has many benefits from reducing  topsoil erosion, to mite control, to safety. 

Dust control is not just at harvest.  It goes through the entire season, according to David Doll, University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE) farm advisor for Merced County.

“I think many people focus at harvest because of how much dust you throw out just through the harvesting process,” Doll said, but if good practices are employed earlier, it will also reduce dust at harvest, which is better for the trees.

Franz Niederholzer, UCCE farm advisor for Colusa, Yuba, and Sutter Counties, said, dust control is an environmental, safety and even a pest control issue.


May Spray

(originally published June 2017)

As almond growers prepare for hullsplit sprays, it is time to review best practices for the most effective treatment program that follows an IPM approach and resistance management for treating navel orangeworm (NOW) and spider mites.

David Haviland, UC Cooperative Extension entomologist in Kern County, said this approach includes monitoring to determine navel orangeworm treatment timing, monitoring of mites and natural enemies to determine the need for a miticide, using selective chemistries, and rotating among pesticide modes of action to minimize pesticide resistance.

Navel Orangeworm

Cultural practices are the first line of defense against NOW. Prompt harvest and pickup, followed by removal and destruction of mummy nuts, is an essential first step in controlling NOW; hullsplit sprays are generally only about 50% effective because larvae are protected once they enter the hull to feed. Growers may have gotten a boost in their cultural control this year following unprecedented moisture through spring.

WCN walnut 3

(originally published December 2017)

There was a time when people thought the world was flat. There was also a time when people thought walnuts could only be grown in class one soil. Both “facts” have been proven wrong.

According to Bill Krueger, emeritus University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE) Glenn County farm advisor, “research and grower experience has shown with the right preparation and planting system, walnuts can be successfully grown on less-than-ideal soils.”

He went on to say, in the process of planning and planting a walnut orchard, soil evaluation is the place to start.

Katherine Pope, UCCE area orchard systems advisor for Sacramento, Solano and Yolo counties, said, whether planting a new orchard or replanting, getting things off to a good start is essential when considering the investment cost required to develop a successful orchard.