With hot, dry winds, the question came up this week about whether the hot temperatures or the low humidity would affect pollen viability. It turns out that both day and night time temperatures will affect pollen tube growth. That in ‘Hass' approximately 48 hours about 50 deg F is needed to complete pollen tube growth and fertilization. If temperatures drop at night to below 50, there's not enough time for fertilization to occur. As temperatures increase, fertilization occurs more easily. In the tropics, there can be high temperatures and high humidities and good fruit set. But this question was not about fertilization, but how long the pollen would remain viable at high temperatures and low humidities. Work was done Loupassaki and Vasilakis for the World Avocado Congress III Proceedings and they basically found that when humidity dropped below 40%, viability was very low. This last week we have seen humidities below 10%. It probably means that even with bee visitation, non-viable pollen is being delivered to the flowers. When humidities come back up, there will probably be good fertilization, as long as we have decent day and night time temperatures.
Many years ago Gary Bender, down in San Diego, went to the Gulf Region of the Middle East to help establish an avocado orchard. The trees flowered, but never set fruit.
- Author: Iqbal Pittalwala
We've been getting reports of coast live oak decline along the coast, well, here's one of the causes:
RIVERSIDE, Calif. — A fungus associated with the western oak bark beetle is causing a decline in coast live oak trees in Southern California by spreading “foamy bark canker disease.”
“We have found declining coast live oak trees throughout urban landscapes in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, Santa Barbara, Ventura and Monterey counties,” said Akif Eskalen, an assistant specialist in cooperative extension in the Department of Plant Pathology and Microbiology at the University of California, Riverside.
Eskalen recovered the fungal species, Geosmithia pallida, from tissues of infected coast live oak trees and performed pathogenicity tests on it in his laboratory at UC Riverside. The tests showed that the fungus is pathogenic to coast live oak seedlings and produces symptoms of foamy canker.
The western oak bark beetle, which spreads the fungus, is a small beetle — about 2 millimeters long — that burrows through the bark of the coast live oak tree, excavating shallow tunnels under the bark across the grain of wood. Brown in color, this beetle is native to California. Female beetles lay their eggs in the tunnels. It is not known at this time if the beetle infects trees other than coast live oak trees.
Symptoms of foamy bark canker disease include wet discoloration on the trunk and main branches of the infected coast live oak tree. This discoloration surrounds the entry holes that the western oak bark beetle makes to burrow into the tree. Multiple holes can often be seen on an infected tree.
“When you peel back the outer bark of the infected area, you see bark (phloem) necrosis surrounding the entry hole,” Eskalen said. “As the disease advances, a reddish sap may be seen oozing from the entry hole, followed by a prolific foamy liquid. This foamy liquid, the cause of which remains unknown, may run as far as two feet down the trunk.”
Eskalen explained that when the infection is at an advanced stage, the coast live oak tree dies. Currently, no control methods are in place to control the fungus or the beetle.
If you suspect your coast live oak tree has the symptoms described above, please contact your local farm advisor, pest control advisor, county agricultural commissioner's office or Eskalen at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We had a pretty mild winter, in spite of the freeze damage that occurred in the Central Valley. Now we are seeing what happens when there's not enough chilling to break bud. There is erratic flowering and leaf out. This can be quite pronounced in such trees as peach and apricots, apples and pears. There can be well developed fruit, flowers and a leaf flush all occurring at the same time. We select low chill varieties when we know the climate where we live won't regularly get a certain amount of cold sufficient to cause an even bloom. But sometimes it just doesn't get cold enough for a long enough period. Even 'Hass' avocado requires about 50 hours below 45 deg to properly leaf out. This is happening to some of our native trees as well, such as sycamore
Below is a photo of a confused peach taken by Lynn Wunderlich
Two years ago we set out to study the impact of native bees on avocado fruit set. We applied for several grants unsuccessfully and turned to growers to see if there was interest. We raised $6,000 to start the project and have established 4 sites in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties. in the meantime have gotten a Sustainable Agricultural Research and Extension grant. This grant does not start until October 2014. We need bridging funds to continue this study. Below is the original request from growers for funds. If you would help contribute it will keep this study going until the larger grant comes through. Thank you.
Dr. Gordon Frankie at UC Berkeley is teaming with Dr. Ben Faber from the Ventura County UCCE Extension to jointly work on a pollination study for avocados. Dr. Frankie is studying how to increase native bee pollinators in avocado orchards. To do this, we plan on surveying the native bees that are in the area, identify the plants that they are foraging on and then plant those species in orchards to lure indigenous bees + pollinators in to the orchards. These plants will also be monitored for their attractiveness to beneficial insects which could control avocado thrips, persea mite along with other pests. We will need some startup money to cover the costs of native plants plus travel for Dr. Frankie and his assistant to be able to come down to monitor the project. They are ready and willing to come do this important study. We have applied for UC grants and will apply to CA Avocado Commission and CDFA Specialty Crops for money, but we will not see that money until summer 2014 at the earliest. We need your help. It would help to plant the natives before the winter rains. They need the rain to bloom; so the sooner you can help, the sooner we can plant. We are trying to cobble together donations of about $3,000. Thank you in advance. Any contributions are tax deductible and can be made to: UC Berkeley Foundation (with a notation at the bottom of the check: Gordon Frankie Bee Lab) and sent to Dept of Environmental Sciences, UC Berkeley, 130 Mulford Hall #3114, Berkeley, CA 94720.
- Author: Oleg Daugovish