2015 09 14 10.34.28 150x150Trees with kinked or girdled roots do not usually show symptoms until 1-2 years later.

It is the time of the year when many operations plant potted almond trees. Although potted trees are convenient with the year round availability and planting time (almost any month if properly irrigated),  there are a few considerations at planting that must be considered in order to prevent root girdling and future orchard loss.

Root girdling of trees occurs when roots grow in odd directions. These roots wrap over or around other roots or the trunk, eventually preventing the flow of water and nutrients while limiting structural integrity. The problem is usually not noticeable at first, but 6-8 months after planting, the trees begin to show reduced growth. Later, these trees often become victim of wet feet or Phytophthora due to over-irrigation of the tree. Over-irrigation occurs from to the inability to pull water at the same rate due to the constricted xylem and reduced canopy size in comparison to healthy trees. In cases in which the trees survive and are kept through the third leaf, they may snap off at ground level from the shaking process. The issue seems to be more severe with more vigorous rootstocks.

2015 07 30 12.27.471Hull rot can increase the number of stick-tights.

     There have been a lot of reports of poor removal of ‘Nonpareil’ almonds. This issue may be caused by a few different issues, all which require a different management plan. The potential causes as well as some thoughts on management are provided below:

     1. Uneven ripening. Uneven ripening can be caused by several different things. A long, protracted bloom can create a delay in ripening due to the length of time between the first and last fruit that was pollinated and fertilized. Also, vigorous growing conditions can delay the ripening process. These include more than adequate water and nitrogen through the entire growing season. Often, this is observed in younger orchards as they are being “pushed” along with increased water and nutrients. Not much can be done about the long bloom period, but properly timed irrigation and nitrogen applications in the spring (especially early spring) can help reduce excessive vigor.

     2. Hull rot. Once a hull is infected by Rhizopus or Monilinia, a toxin is secreted which leads to the death of fruit wood. As this toxin kills tissues, it can cause them to gum – especially at the peduncle, effectively gluing the nuts to the spur. These nuts are very difficult to remove and hull rot management practices should be utilized to help reduce the occurrence of this disease. In years were humidity is high at the onset of hull split, cultural management practices appear to be less effective.

covercropAlmond grower Gino Favagrossa has been working with cover crops for decades to improve water infiltration in low-permeable soils, but now selects bee-friendly mixes that provide a desirable forage source for bees in his orchard after almond pollination.

     Almond grower Gino Favagrossa plants a cover crop in his orchard not only to improve water infiltration and fix nitrogen, but also to keep bees and his beekeepers happy.

    “Beehive rentals are one of the top three expenses in our budget, and we want to build long-term relationships with our beekeepers that can help guarantee us bees year in and year out,” he said.

    Providing postbloom habitat for bees by planting clover cover crops in his orchard middles gives Favagrossa’s bees a food source between almond pollination and honey production that helps in building those long-term relationships with his beekeepers.

     Given almond industry growth and limited soil moisture due to the ongoing drought, harvest activities are likely to kick up more dust than usual. In an effort to reduce those impacts, Almond Board of California recently hosted a half-day workshop in Modesto to share the latest dustreduction research and techniques, air quality regulations and funding opportunities.

     The event featured experts from UC Davis, San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District, Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and the Almond Board. In addition, representatives from almond harvest equipment manufacturers Exact Corp. and Flory Industries showcased new technology and innovations related to dust reduction.