Recently I was asked why an irrigation schedule could be projected for almond and citrus in the Central Valley (Almonds:http://cekern.ucanr.edu/Irrigation_Management/Almond_Drip_-_Microsprinkler_-
_Flood_Weekly_ET/Citrus: http://cekern.ucanr.edu/Irrigation_Management/Citrus_ET_by_age/ ) and why the same couldn't be done for the main avocado growing areas. Here was my response:
Generating a generic irrigation schedule for avocados along the coast is very difficult and if done would be terribly misleading. Scheduling gets really hairy along the coast where avocados are grown. As you get further from the coast the water demand (ETo) increases in many months, typically increasing in the summer. This can be most pronounced in the late winter/spring when the fog along the coast really causes a contrast between coastal and inland conditions. May in Ventura, the sun comes out for about 2 hours and in Fillmore 20 miles inland it may be 90 F at 4 PM. The fog is a major determinant for irrigation demand and it varies daily, monthly and year to year from Monterey to San Diego. So fog can throw off an irrigation schedule.
The next variable to area-wide scheduling is the topography where avocados are grown, usually slopes to improve air and water drainage. Depending on the aspect and slope position, the ETo can vary tremendously depending on the sky conditions and what those conditions are depending on the time of day (such as foggy in the morning and clear in the afternoon). So west and south facing will always be higher than north and east. The top of the slope that intercepts more wind than the bottom and will have higher ETo than the bottom of the slope. And if the trees intercept more evaporative conditions midday when the sun comes out, it will be much higher than the east side in the morning when fog is dripping off the trees (zero evaporative demand). Then as you go south from Monterey to San Diego the ETo goes up, just because of latitude and sun interception. These conditions are very different from Fresno where ETo in July is 0.6 inches per day and is the same until Sept, the sky is clear most days and trees are grown on fairly flat ground.
Now throw in rainfall. Almonds are deciduous and only count on the value of rainfall as that which is stored in the rooting zone going into spring when leaves are come out. Avocados rely on winter rain for transpiration and salt leaching. In a good year a significant portion of the total yearly ETcrop can be subtracted from the irrigation demand. In a low/no rainfall year that all needs to be made up by supplemental irrigation.
An almond grower in the Valley might be able to go onto a calendar, set the clock if they have water on demand and walk away. That's never going to happen in a coastal avocado orchard. Depending on where the avocado is grown and the ETo at that site, applied water might vary from 1.5 ac-ft per acre to 3.5. This will depend on rainfall (when and how much), water quality (which determines leaching requirement) and the system delivery (system efficiency). This system issue can be further complicated by whether the delivery is on-demand or whether a certain amount will be delivered at a certain date for a certain length of time - 24 hours or 48. This makes it difficult for the grower to put on exactly what ETo and other issues the trees would demand. In this case, the delivery system determines the schedule.
So this is why there's no chart showing ET demand for coastal avocados where the bulk are grown in California.
A CIMIS (CA Irrigation Management Information System) DWR weather station for calculating crop water requirement.
There is some variability in citrus susceptibility to both the psyllid (Westbrook et al and Hall et al) and the bacterial infection (Shokrollah et al and Stover and Mc Collum). It is not fully clear at this point which of these species would be best to include in a breeding program, but both scions (http://www.concitver.com/3erEIIC2011/Viernes_23_sep/Ed_Stover/Ed_Stover.pdf) and rootstocks (http://www.flcitrusmutual.com/files/4cbb1e3c-1e1f-4b04-a.pdf) are being evaluated.
Some varieties like Australian Finger Lime (Microcitrus australasica) might show more resistance/tolerance to HLB than other species. At the UC Citrus Variety Collection website, it's possible to see the wide range of citrus species that are available for breeding and the commercial availability of those species. The collection is a view into the different materials that breeders can select from, in order to improve resistance to this citrus disease.
Citrus Variety Collection
Australian Finger Lime Collection and Availability
Susceptibility to Infestation by Asian Citrus Psyllid
Catherine J. Westbrook1, David G. Hall2, Ed Stover, and Yong Ping Duan
D. Hall, C. Westbrook, Y.-P. Duan, E. Stover, R. Lee and M. Richardson http://citrusagents.ifas.ufl.edu/events/fl_citrus2011/Hall%20ACP%20IR%20Citrus%20Expo%202011.pdf
Susceptibility to HLB
Hajivand Shokrollah, Thohirah Lee Abdullah, Kamaruzaman Sijam,Siti Nor Akmar Abdullah and
Nur Ashikin Psyquay Abdullah
Ed Stoverand Greg McCollum
Australian Finger Lime Fruit
Australian Finger Lime Tree
- Author: Sonia Rios
Many growers seem like they will never win the never ending battle with ants, they're everywhere! Conversely, ants travel through soil and help loosen it improving quality, allowing water, air, and nutrients to flow freely through it. They also decompose dead plant and animal matter and can even feed on other insects. However, ants sometimes chew crop twigs and tender bark, damage irrigation tubing, and can annoy and harm workers. You can find ants traveling alongside your trees, the ground, or irrigation lines and build their nests underground.
The southern fire ant (Figure 2.) is light reddish brown with a black abdomen. Active in the morning and early evening and do not trail. May swarm out of nests if disturbed and can inflict painful stings.
Native gray ants (Figure 3.) are gray and considerably larger than the other two species. They nest in topsoil or under rocks and debris and move in irregular patterns. In contrast to Argentine and fire ants, the native gray ant is solitary and its importance in disrupting biological control is often underestimated. Red imported fire ant is new to California and can make large, dome-shaped mounds. They feed on almost any plant or animal material.
Avocados & Citrus
Ants are pests primarily because they disrupt biological control of other pests, especially that of the Tamarixia radiata, which is a natural predator for the Asian Citrus Psyllid. Ants are also a big problem in young trees causing trunk damage as well as feed on honeydew excreted by various soft scales, mealybugs, cottony cushion scales, whiteflies, and aphids. As part of this relationship, they also protect these insects from their natural enemies, thus interrupting biological control of the honeydew-producing pests. In the process of keeping most natural enemies away, they also protect other pests, such as California red scale, that profit from the lack of natural enemies. Argentine and native gray ants are the most common ant species that aggressively protect pest insects. In addition, Argentine ants and red imported fire ants can plug up irrigation sprinklers. Red imported fire ants directly damage plants by chewing twigs and tender bark of newly planted trees; they also sting people working in the orchard and may cause allergic reactions and sometimes trips to the emergency room.
For more information on ants in avocados, please visit the UC IPM website:
For more information on ants in citrus, please visit the UC IPM website:
Ant management requires diligent efforts and the combined use of mechanical, cultural, sanitation, and often chemical control methods. Ant populations peak in mid-summer through early fall, therefore the best time to bait is late winter to early spring when ant numbers are relatively low. Bait effectiveness varies with ant species, availability of alternative food, active ingredient, type of bait, and the time of year. To determine which bait to use, offer a small quantity of each of several baits and observe which is preferred by the ants.
For information on ants in general, please visit the UC IPM website:
The Citrus Research Board in conjunction with the University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE) held their annual grower seminar on Tuesday, June 30, 2015 at the University of California, Riverside (UCR) Palm Desert Center. Seminars also took place in Santa Paula, CA on June 25th and in Exeter, CA on July 1st. Speakers from all over the state from different agencies shared their knowledge and expertise with the group.
Mark Hoddle, a Biological Control Specialist at UCR gave an update of the biological control of Asian citrus psyllid (ACP). The ACP's natural enemy, Tamarixia radiata has been successful since its release in Southern California in 2011. The Tamarixia kills the ACP nymphs either by parasitizing them (i.e., females eggs laid underneath ACP nymphs and the parasitoid larvae burrow into the nymph to feed which kills the pest) or by host feeding (i.e., female parasitoids stab the nymph with their ovipositor, a tube that they use to lay eggs, and they feed on the body juices that leak from these wounds. This kills the nymph too). Hoddle reminded us, in order for this biocontrol program to continue to be successful, ant populations must be controlled. ACP nymphs produce a white, sugary waste product called honeydew, a good carbohydrate source for the ants, therefore, the ants will protect the nymphs from Tamarixia. His current research showed that when an ant population is reduced, parasitism control increases significantly. Hoddle and his lab will be testing different organic and conventional pesticides for their efficacy against Argentine ants in citrus orchards.
For example, he is in the works of helping produce a more effective ant-bait by working on a biodegradable hydrogel. These hydgrogels are made from algae and crab shells. The material is engineered to encapsulate a 25% sucrose solution with a tiny amount of pesticide and ant pheromone. The liquid bait "leaks" onto the surface of the hydrogel, ants drink it, take it to the nest and slowly intoxicate the queen and nest mates. The baits, about the size of a jellybean, will be engineered to have a certain life time before they "dissolve". He anticipates these jellybean like baits being able to be broadcasted under trees (like you would slug/snail pellets) and the pheromone will attract the ants to them. Once they start to feed, the ants will lay down their own trails to the baits. Mark Hoddle is also the director of the Center for Invasive Species Research, for more information regarding his work on biocontrol, please visit: http://cisr.ucr.edu/.
Victoria Hornbaker, from the California Citrus Pest & Disease Prevention Program Manager and grower Curtis Pate, also the grower liaison from Imperial gave updates on the current ACP management areas (Fig. 1). Curtis, reminded the growers, ACP is attracted to bright colors, such as yellow. Yellow is a common color for most safety vests and jackets, this creates an issue because most people that own one of these pieces of clothing are unaware that they can very well be unknowingly transporting this pest to different locations (Fig. 2). Basic measures such as rolling up vehicle windows, shaking off clothing
Lori Berger, with the UC Statewide Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Program gave an update on the Chlorpyrifos Critical Use Project (Fig. 3). The project is a multi-year effort to identify the pest management needs and practices for use of Chlorpyrifos in important crops in California. To accomplish this goal, Department of Pesticide regulation (DPR) contracted with UC IPM program to convene industry leaders to work together to create commodity specific guidelines for specific cropping systems. Chlorpyrifos is used on critical citrus pests such as ants, ACP, scales, bud mite, leafminers and many other arthropods. Growers are required to now obtain a restricted materials permit from their local County Agricultural Commission since DPR has designated the insecticide for restricted use in California as of July 1, 2015. The permit conditions may include buffer zones near sensitive sites, good management practices to reduce drift or offsite movement into the air and measures to reduce runoff into surface waters. For Southern California growers, a more in depth meeting will be held at the San Diego Farm Bureau in Escondido on September 15, 2015, more information on this meeting will available in the near future. DPR hours for laws and regulations will be available. More information on the Chlorpyrifos Critical Use Project can be found at: http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/IPMPROJECT/CDPR_Chlorpyrifos_critical_use_report.pdf.
Ben Faber, a UCCE Farm advisor from Ventura/Santa Barbra County gave a great presentation on how to interpret soils/water/leaf analyses and managing water in a drought. Soil and water reports are best used for identifying problems in: 1) pH (power of hydrogen); 2) salinity (how much salt is in the soil); 4) chloride (Cl-); 5) sodium (Na+); 6) boron (B); and 7) sodium adsorption ration. Most of the issues listed can be managed by leaching. Unfortunately, there are no definite measurements for fertility management of perennial crops, however, understanding the fundamentals of interpreting analyses is key for a healthy producing grove. For example, when one is handed a report, many may get overwhelmed by the sight of all these things that are reported. Many of those numbers are only on there because they are required to be there by law and may not have an importance to you as grower when it comes to management decisions. You may ask yourself, what is really important in all this? Faber, gave the growers a quick review, for example, in a water analyses we would want to look for look for some basic ranges in: Boron, this element should be no higher than 1 parts per million (ppm), sodium and chloride no higher than 100 ppm, and the TDS (total dissolved solids), this may also be known to some as EC (electrical conductivity), should be no higher than 1,000 ppm. Simple, right?
When dealing with pH, it is always best to balance that out before one plants trees. Trying to balance the pH after a crop has been established can be challenging and you may run the risk of injuring or killing your trees in the process. Those that would like to learn more on soils/water/leaf analyses and managing water in a drought, you can visit Ben Faber's UCCE County website: http://ceventura.ucanr.edu/Com_Ag/Subtropical/.
Neil McRoberts. Professor of Plant Pathology from UC Davis had interactive question and answer session with the audience, gathering grower's views on approaches of control for ACP/ Huanglongbing, also known as citrus greening disease. The answers to this survey will be helpful in creating a management plan to better help growers with their ACP treatment and preventative planning. Michelle Richey, assistant Director of Food Safety from Ott and Davison Consulting also gave a quick update on Food Safety and Good Agricultural Practices certification. She stressed on how important it is to keep records of everything that happens in a business and to have them accessible.
We had a great turn out and hope to see more growers at next year's Southern California meeting.
This is a great website to view plant nutrient symptoms by plant or by nutrient. It is of ornamental plants, but hey, once you can see it on one plant you will something very similar on avocado, lemon, apple, almond, lychee or whatever alphabetic fruit you work with. Kudos to University of Florida. Of course once you see what iron deficiency looks like, you'll be able to identify it on most other plants:
Below is Boron toxicity from a grower who got too excited about correcting B deficiency,