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Posts Tagged: almonds

'A' is for Almonds and 'B' is for Bees and Bradford Pear Blossoms

Benicia resident Gordon Hough captured this image of a bee nectaring on a Pyrus calleryana (Bradford pear or another cultivar) at the Benicia State Recreation Area on Monday, Jan. 21, as identified by Daniel Potter, UC Davis professor of plant sciences.

No, it's not Valentine's Day, yet. Yes, the almonds are blooming. No, it's not spring. But it looks like spring in Benicia. The almonds are blooming in the Benicia (Calif.) State Recreation Area. Some are on the road at the entrance to the park. Other trees are also blooming. Benicia...

Benicia resident Gordon Hough captured this image of a bee nectaring on a Pyrus calleryana (Bradford pear or another cultivar) at the Benicia State Recreation Area on Monday, Jan. 21, as identified by Daniel Potter, UC Davis professor of plant sciences.
Benicia resident Gordon Hough captured this image of a bee nectaring on a Pyrus calleryana (Bradford pear or another cultivar) at the Benicia State Recreation Area on Monday, Jan. 21, as identified by Daniel Potter, UC Davis professor of plant sciences.

Benicia resident Gordon Hough captured this image of a bee nectaring on a Pyrus calleryana (Bradford pear or another cultivar) at the Benicia State Recreation Area on Monday, Jan. 21, as identified by Daniel Potter, UC Davis professor of plant sciences.

Almonds are blooming in Benicia. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Almonds are blooming in Benicia. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Almonds are blooming in Benicia. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

UC Cooperative Extension farm advisors launch “Growing the Valley” podcast

UCCE advisors Phoebe Gordon, left, and Luke Milliron are the hosts of the new 'Growing the Valley' podcast.

A new UC Cooperative Extension podcast that focuses on growing orchard crops in the San Joaquin and Sacramento valleys is now available free at http://growingthevalleypodcast.com, Apple iTunes and Google Play Music. The hosts are Phoebe Gordon, UCCE orchard systems advisor in Madera and...

Posted on Friday, June 8, 2018 at 9:29 AM
Tags: Almonds (68), Figs (3), orchard (9), Peaches - Cling (2), Pistachios (16), podcast (1), Prunes (3), Walnuts (21)
Focus Area Tags: Agriculture

Mandarin drought tips featured in final video of drought series

Because periodic droughts will always be a part of life in California, the UC California Institute for Water Resources (CIWR) produced a series of videos to maintain drought awareness and planning, even in years when water is more abundant.

The final video of the three-part series, which focuses on drought strategies for citrus, was launched April 6 on the UCTV Sustainable California channel. The first episode, which centered on alfalfa production, premiered Feb. 2 on the UCTV Sustainable California channel. The second video, on almonds, was launched March 2 on Sustainable California. A trailer with clips from all three episodes is here.  

The videos are inspired by a collection of 19 drought tips produced by CIWR in collaboration with UC Agriculture and Natural Resources researchers during the drought of 2010-16. The tips cover a broad spectrum of California crops, from alfalfa to walnuts. Topics also include salt management, use of graywater in urban landscapes, and the use of shallow groundwater for crop production. 

The drought tips collection and the drought tip videos were sponsored by the California Department of Water Resources. Following are links to each of the videos:

Drought strategies for alfalfa

The CIWR drought tip series opens with Cannon Michael of Bowles Farming in Los Banos. The alfalfa grower works with UCCE specialist Dan Putnam. “There's a lot of misunderstanding about alfalfa as a crop,” Michael said. “It does take water to grow it, as with anything, but you get multiple harvests of it every year.”

Drought management for California almonds

The second episode features almond producer Raj of Meena farms. He works with David Doll, UCCE advisor in Merced County. “One positive of this drought,” Meena said, “is that it has forced us all to be more efficient in how we use our water.”

Irrigating citrus with limited water

The series finale features Lisa Brenneis of Churchill-Brenneis Orchard in the Ojai Valley of Ventura County. She worked with UCCE advisor Ben Faber to install a new water-efficient irrigation system. “Irrigation is the only job we really have to do,” Brenneis said, “and we have to get it as right as we can.”

UCCE advisor Ben Faber is featured in the CIWR video on drought strategies in California mandarin production.

For a complete list of drought tips, see http://ucanr.edu/drought-tips.

Posted on Friday, April 6, 2018 at 7:33 AM
Tags: alfalfa (36), almonds (68), Dan Putnum (1), David Doll (26)
Focus Area Tags: Agriculture

Roof rats unnerve farm workers, damage orchard crops

Roof rats are causing damage in nut and tree fruit orchards.

Monitor for rodent activity and use bait stations before the growing season to prevent problems, UC ANR scientists recommend.

Roof rats are running rampant in California orchards this year, according to UC Agriculture and Natural Resources scientists.

“In pistachio and other nut orchards, roof rats are burrowing and nesting in the ground where they're chewing on irrigation lines, causing extensive damage,” said Rachael Long, UC Cooperative Extension advisor. “They are also nesting in citrus trees, feeding on the fruit and terrifying field workers when they jump out as people are picking fruit. The chewing pests are also girdling citrus limbs, causing branch dieback.” 

Rats like to eat fresh avocados.
The wet winter of 2017 led to lots of weed seeds for rats to eat. “Last season, rats were also nibbling on pomegranates, avocados, and other fruit and nut crops, rendering them unmarketable,” Long said.

Holes in the ground around the base of pistachio trees throughout a Yolo County orchard puzzled the grower.

“We looked for ground squirrels, but never saw any,” Long said. “We set up game cameras, but only got birds and rabbits. We put rodent bait in the holes, but the digging didn't stop.”

Long, the pest detective, cracked the case by consulting Niamh Quinn, UC Cooperative Extension human-wildlife interactions advisor based in Irvine. “She informed us that the damage we were seeing was from roof rats.”

Burrowing roof rats sounds like an oxymoron. While roof rats generally don't burrow in urban environments, their country cousins have been known to burrow.

“It's not true that they don't burrow,” Quinn said. “When I worked as staff research associate for Roger Baldwin, UC Cooperative Extension wildlife specialist, that is mostly what we studied, burrowing roof rats in orchards.”

Roof rats are nocturnal animals that climb in trees and burrow underground.

Control measures

Baldwin said, “It seems to be a good year for rats in a number of different areas and crops throughout the state. I've received more questions and comments about rats this year than perhaps the last 10 years combined. As for bait application, putting bait down burrow systems for rats doesn't usually work too well, so I'm not surprised that approach didn't work. Growers will likely have better luck with bait stations in the trees.”

Because the rats climb, Baldwin suggests attaching bait stations to tree branches.

“In addition, elevating the bait stations will eliminate access to bait for many protected mammal species, such as kangaroo rats,” Long said. “The bait diphacinone grain can be purchased from some ag commissioners' offices. This is what Roger Baldwin said they tested and it worked.”

As for the bait stations, they should be designed so that there isn't any spillage for nontarget animals to eat, Long said. 

When roof rat outbreaks occur, rodenticides are often needed to prevent crop damage. However, timing is critical as diphacinone use is highly restrictive and not allowed during the growing season, which is beginning as the weather warms. 

“Check the product label for application instructions,” Long reminds growers. “It's the law.”

Because roof rats climb, UC Cooperative Extension wildlife specialist Roger Baldwin recommends attaching bait stations to tree branches.

Identifying the pest

Roof rat holes are typically 3 to 4 inches in diameter.
One way for growers to identify whether they have roof rats is by the size of the burrows. The nocturnal pests are active above ground in trees and below ground.

“Roof rats can forage away from their nest, so you won't likely find signs of their activity, such as rat droppings outside their burrow, to help identify them,” Long said.

Ground squirrels are active during the day, so they are more likely to be seen, dig holes about 4 inches in diameter and forage above ground near their burrows. Vole and mouse holes are 1- to 2-inches in diameter. Roof rat holes are typically 3 to 4 inches in diameter and might have nut shells in front of them, for example pistachio or almond shells. Rabbits will feed on seedling crops, but do not dig burrows.

Ground squirrels are active during the day and their burrows are 4 inches or more in diameter.
Roof rats are prolific breeders that reproduce year-round, according to Baldwin. Females typically have three to five litters per year with five to eight young, enabling their populations to rapidly increase. The omnivores feed on a wide variety of plant and animal materials, allowing them to adapt to any environment, including urban and agricultural lands.

“Rats are sneaky and hard to spot,” Long said. “If you see damage, including digging in the soil but no wildlife, suspect rats.”

For more information on controlling roof rats, download Quinn and Baldwin's free UC ANR publication 8513, Managing Roof Rats and Deer Mice in Nut and Fruit Orchards at http://anrcatalog.ucanr.edu/Details.aspx?itemNo=8513.

For more information about ground squirrels, download the free UC IPM Best Management Guidelines http://www.groundsquirrelbmp.com or UC IPM Pest Note http://ipm.ucanr.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn7438.html.

 

Posted on Friday, March 9, 2018 at 3:11 PM
Focus Area Tags: Agriculture Pest Management

Almond and Walnut Pest Management Guidelines revised just in time for the holidays

‘Tis the season for baking lots of tasty treats. Breads, cookies, cakes, and candy are just a few that come to mind. What makes many of these treats so tasty is the addition of almonds or walnuts to the list of ingredients.

In California, we are lucky to be at the center of almond and walnut production. According to the California Department of Food and Agriculture's (CDFA's) latest Agricultural Statistics Review, more than 99 percent of the almonds and walnuts produced in the United States are grown in California.

Almond and walnut growers work tirelessly to supply enough nuts to not only satisfy domestic demand, but also for export. Worldwide, almonds rank as the largest specialty crop export. California is the top almond producer in the world, accounting for about 80 percent of all almonds grown. For walnuts, California ranks as the second largest producer in the world. To keep up with this demand, almond and walnut growers must be constantly aware of pests, diseases, and abiotic problems that can affect the tree and growing nuts.

California is the top almond producer in the world, accounting for about 80% of all almonds grown. (Photo: Jack Kelly Clark)

The University of California Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program (UC IPM) has recently published revised Pest Management Guidelines for almonds and walnuts, helping growers prevent and manage pest problems with the most up-to-date information.

Revisions in the Almond Pest Management Guidelines include:

  • A new section on bacterial spot, a new disease of almond in California found in the Sacramento and northern San Joaquin valleys
  • A renamed section on fruit russeting, revised from the old powdery mildew section
  • Significant revisions made to the management section of navel orangeworm, one of the major pests attacking California almonds
  • Improvements on how to do dormant spur sampling section with easier-to-understand information on monitoring and thresholds
Bacterial spot on almond, a new disease of almond in California. (Photo: Brent A. Holtz)

Revisions in the Walnut Pest Management Guidelines include:

  • Updated information on the association between walnut twig beetle and thousand cankers disease
  • New sections for Botryosphaeria and Phomopsis cankers, branch wilt, and paradox canker
  • Significant changes to the walnut husk fly management section
Male (left) and female walnut twig beetles. (Photo: Larry L. Strand)

Both the almond and walnut revised Pest Management Guidelines also include updated information on fungicide efficacy, weed management, and vertebrate management.

Authored by University of California specialists and advisors, the Pest Management Guidelines are UC's official guidelines for monitoring and managing pests in California crops. For more information on pest management in these or other crops, visit the UC IPM website.

Posted on Tuesday, December 19, 2017 at 11:03 AM
Tags: almonds (68), pests (8), walnuts (21)

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