IN YOUR ORCHARD
and put it to use for next year’s crop. Tasks may pile up after harvest, so be diligent in making this application. If it is applied too late in the season and leaves are falling, the benefit of the application will be lost. Many of the available nutrient sprays include material such as boron, phosphite, and zinc. When these nutrients are applied, they enter through the leaf. The tree then goes through the senescence period, where the tree will pull all the available nutrients from the leaves to store for the dormant period. Applications of Zinc Sulfate used to be popular to “put the trees to sleep.” Nowadays, it is used to reduce inoculum of diseases like scab and rust by removing the leaves from the infected trees. In an orchard that does not have these issues, you would not want to prematurely remove the leaves for a couple of reasons: • Trees continue to go through the photosynthesis process after harvest and are producing carbohydrates, which will be stored for next year’s bloom. • If an application of Zinc Sulfate is made before the plant has entered the leaf senescence period and is still trying to perform photosynthesis, the tree may produce new leaves. These new leaves will remove the stored energy from the plant and most likely lead to a reduced bloom the following year. 6. Soil amendments are another topic that needs to be discussed for the post-harvest timing. In reviewing soil samples with your PCA/CCA, you can decide which product you may or may not need. Ag Lime is used to raise soil pH in acidic situations, and if your soil is low in magnesium, Dolomite may be a better fit. For soils that already have a high pH, you will need to look at applying sulfur to lower the pH. Gypsum is pH neutral and can be used to help reduce soil crusting. The reduced soil crusting will increase water infiltration. 7. Winter Weeds will start showing up soon after harvest. The UC Davis IPM website introduction to weed photo gallery — UC Statewide IPM Program (ucanr.edu) has an excellent photo gallery to help you identify what
Figure 2 Cover Crop Photo by Ben Goudie
weeds you have. (ipm.ucanr.edu/PMG/weeds_intro. html) This, along with talks with your PCA, will give you an understanding of what product will work best for your situation. It is also smart to talk about a pre- emergent application, and how to set it up to be as successful as possible. Cover Crops can also be planted in this post-harvest timing. Broadcast or drill the seed in before your final irrigation or a fall rain— ideally by the end of October. This will lead to a good germination, and growth with winter rains (hopefully!). This will also help you take the next step to qualify for the Triple Diamond Level of Blue Diamond ’s Orchard Stewardship Incentive Program . If you would like more information on the program, please contact your Regional Manager. Lastly, some cultural practices are done in the post-harvest timing. Many fields will need to be floated to smooth out the orchard floor after harvest. Others with high amounts of plant material or clippings may need to be rototilled. Growers may also start to plan winter shaking and decide if it needs to be done. Let me tell you, it does ! A future article will talk about the importance of winter shaking, so stay tuned! In the end take some time to reflect and rest before all the work starts again.
Trent Voss Regional Manager Blue Diamond Growers
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