Fruit Bud Stages
As I write this in late March, all fruit buds in the Durham area seem dormant: apple, peach, blueberry, raspberry.
NEWA Weather Station Setup & Info Retrieval
Some of you know that Cheryl Smith, Becky Sideman and George Hamilton wrote and received a Specialty Crop block grant last year from the NH Department of Agriculture, Markets and Food. The purpose was to bring NEWA [Network for Environment and Weather Applications] weather stations to New Hampshire. The money arrived well into the growing season, and by December 31, Cheryl Smith had received equipment and set up stations in six counties:
Belknap (Moulton farm, Meredith)
Carroll (County farm, Ossipee)
Merrimack (State forest nursery, Boscawen)
Rockingham (County farm, Brentwood)
Strafford (UNH Woodman farm, Durham)
Sullivan (Alyson’s orchard, Walpole)
There is already one NEWA site that Brookdale Fruit Farm (Hollis) bought and installed in their orchard earlier. There is another privately-owned system on River Road in Bridgewater. Cheryl hopes that the equipment will be set up in Cheshire, Coos, Grafton and Hillsborough counties by some time in April-May (depending on snow cover and frozen soils).
Why were those sites chosen? We wanted one site per county, a mix of county farms and growers, a mix of crops, and the sites must have certain data access and transmission requirements (basically, fast, reliable access to internet).
If you haven’t tried accessing information from these sites, you ought to try it now, before the growing season gets too busy. The six sites are up and running. In addition to seeing what the weather information was for your site(s) of interest, you can learn how many degree days have accumulated (set the biofix first) for various insect or pathogen models.
Last year we had significant problems with fireblight in New Hampshire orchards. The NEWA system has a FB predictive model to assess risk. Cheryl uses this information to send out alerts. A few NH orchards had codling moth problems last year. NEWA can predict when each codling moth generation begins, to help you determine when risky periods occur. Some of you would benefit from knowing when San Jose scale crawlers emerge. The site can predict that as well. Cheryl and Alan already use NEWA to look at apple scab risk.
To begin using the system, point your computer’s internet browser to NEWA’s home page www.newa.cornell.edu On the screen you’ll see a map with lots of green “leaf” icons. Those are weather stations. Use the + and – buttons on the lower right of the map to enlarge or shrink the map, to find the sites of interest to you. (You could use an airport if that is nearby, but a station next to the tarmac might not be the best for some applications… like determining how long leaves were wet.)
Do you need to set biofixes? Yes, for some models, you’ll have to do that. For example, last week when Alan clicked on the Durham station and selected apple scab, the system gave him the opportunity to enter the date for green tip stage. Since this was before green tip had occurred, he switched tasks and asked to look at the weather data. It has lots of options to explore.
Take a look, and we think you’ll find it easy and helpful
Written by Alan Eaton and Cheryl Smith
Higher-Than Average Gypsy Moth Numbers for 2017
Formerly, gypsy moth populations in New England followed rough cycles of highs and lows, with about 10 to 11 years between high points. Then the fungus Entomophthora entomophaga (a pathogen that hits mostly gypsy moth and other caterpillars in its family) took hold, and we no longer had enough gypsy moth caterpillars to cause widespread defoliation. But in really dry years, the fungus does poorly. So I anticipate that we will see some individual spots with gypsy moth buildup, especially in Rockingham and eastern Hillsborough Counties. That is, unless the rains return and knock down larval numbers in June. If you see the egg masses, that suggests you’ll have caterpillars this year. Egg masses should hatch in late April.
Another Prediction: High Peach Leaf Curl Incidence in 2017
We had almost no peach crop last year, so that means there were relatively few fungicides sprayed on peach trees last year. Those conditions cause an increase in problems with peach leaf curl. If done at the correct time, spraying certain fungicides (Bravo, C-O-C-S, Echo, Ferbam, Kocide, Badge, Ziram…) will control the disease. One time to have done that was last fall, at the time of leaf fall. If you did not make an application then, and you’ve had peach leaf curl problems before, you should consider a spring application this year, before bud swell. Sprays made shortly after buds started swelling might provide partial control. My photo shows the distorted, thickened & discolored leaves affected by peach leaf curl disease.
Prune off Peach Mummies?
I asked David Rosenberger if it was worthwhile to prune off peach mummies, while I was pruning my apple trees. I don’t have many, so it would be easy. He said that on the cruel, frozen tundra of New Hampshire, Brown rot fungus does not overwinter well in fruit mummies, so dropping them might help, but probably isn’t necessary.
Prune off Cedar-Apple Rust Galls?
The fungus that causes cedar-apple rust has to switch hosts each year. Spores from rust lesions on apple leaves infect redcedar, and spores from redcedar infect apples. So if you have a redcedar tree with galls on it, and you also grow apple varieties that are susceptible to the disease, it is worthwhile to remove & burn or bury the galls, before much apple leaf tissue emerges. But you may consider just cutting down the redcedar tree, especially if it is tall and has a lot of galls. Either way works to break the infection cycle. The manuals say that the spores from galls on redcedar can travel a long ways. If you grow susceptible varieties such as Gala, Golden delicious, Jonathan, Jonagold, Mutsu, Prima or Rome, we often suggest removing any red cedar trees (even tiny ones) within 500 feet of your apples.
In New Hampshire, the seacoast region has the greatest risk of winter moth problems. Elsewhere, a close relative (bruce spanworm) is common, but rarely causes serious problems. Winter moth overwinters as eggs on trees (esp oaks, maples). The eggs turn blue just before they hatch. The tiny caterpillars that hatch out of the eggs feed on leaves, and often they spin out long strands of silk, and get blown into other trees & bushes nearby… like your apples or blueberries. The insects are not particularly difficult to kill, but they often escape our notice before they cause damage. Egg hatch usually occurs as buds are swelling open and the first tiny leaves are emerging.
Another New Insect
It has been a few months since we had an announcement about a new insect, so I guess we are overdue. A European fly that attacks cherries (wild and domestic) was detected in Missisaugua, Ontario in 2016. It is called the European cherry fruit fly. Yes, it is similar to our native cherry fruit fly, but has a slightly different wing band pattern, and a yellow dot on its thorax. To my knowledge it has not yet been found in the USA, but we have the climate and hosts for it to thrive in New England. For cherry growers, its appearance will change a few things. Our State Entomologist Piera Siegert and her staff at the New Hampshire Department of Agriculture, Markets and Food are planning to set traps for it at several NH sites this year. The insect hits mid and late season cherries, and prefers fruit that are in full sun.
2017 New England Tree Fruit Management Guide
We do not plan to print and distribute the 2017 guide. Instead, we have been working on creating an on-line version, which is mobile-friendly. I wrote a chapter on vertebrate pests, and George Hamilton wrote one on sprayer calibration. Our New England colleagues have been busy writing about pathogens, insects and other concerns. We hope that it will be ready for you and accessible soon. When it is ready, I’ll provide you a link. Until then, we’ll depend on the older version.
Just announced! The guide should be ready next week. Read it here: http://netreefruit.org
Fruit Pest Update Telephone
I plan to set up the first message March 28th to 30th, and expect to record a new message every Tuesday. Most messages last three minutes, but sometimes when things are really busy, one stretches to four minutes. The telephone number is unchanged (862-3763) and you can call it any time of day or night that interests you. As usual, I’ll cover fruit pest information and will include announcements of events that might be of interest. I’ll keep it running continuously through mid-September, possibly later. I started this service in 1979, when the NH fruit growers’ association purchased equipment to get it started.
2017 Fruit-Related Events:
There are many events that might be of interest on our events calendar. Among them are our usual mix of spring pruning demonstrations, some of which have already gone by. Some events require registration or have fees, so you can see more details on our events calendar.
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