At a recent grower meeting at South Coast Research and Extension Center in Irvine, Carol Lovatt gave a talk on the use of gibberellic acid to increase avocado fruit set and yield. The registration for the use only occurred this spring, barely in time for growers to use it, so not many applied it. Then we had this heat wave in July and a lot of fruit, whether it had been treated or not, fell off. A show of hands was asked of the growers present, who had applied it this spring. Of the 100 people or so in attendance, only five raised their hands. Of course, this is not a scientific survey, but most would try it again this coming spring, even though they might not have seen results this year.
The following are guidelines that were provided on how to use it, if you should so choose this coming spring:
Use of ProGibb LV PlusR Plant Growth Regulator on Avocado to Increase Fruit Size and Yield
Professor of Plant Physiology, Emerita, and Professor in the Graduate Division, Department of Botany and Plant Sciences, University of California, Riverside firstname.lastname@example.org
ProGibb LV PlusR. On March 27, 2018, gibberellic acid (GA3) was approved for use on avocado to increase fruit size and yield. The only material registered for this purpose is ProGibb LV PlusR, a low volatile organic compound (LVOC) formulation, manufactured by Valent BioSciences, Corporation (Libertyville, IL). Only this product may be used; the older formulation sold under the name ProGibbR and other generic GA3 products cannot be used. Note: (i)the restricted entry interval is only 4 hours; (ii) the preharvest interval is 0 days; and (iii) ProGibb LV PlusÒ can be used in certified organic orchards.
Application Time. ProGibb LV PlusR is applied as a foliar spray at the cauliflower stage of avocado inflorescence development. The applications should be made when 50% of the trees in the block have 50% of their bloom at the cauliflower stage. This means that 25% of the bloom will be at an earlier stage of inflorescence development and 25% will be approaching bloom (open flowers). If you are unable to make the application at this time, being slightly late in applying the treatment affords better efficacy than being too early. Note: applications made at full bloom are typically not effective.
ProGibb LV PlusR Dose and Dilution Rate. The sprays should be applied like a pesticide spray to give full canopy coverage, especially of the developing inflorescences, but not sprayed to run-off. For ground application, use 12.5 fluid ounces of ProGibb LV PlusR (25 grams active ingredient [g ai]) in 100 gallons of water/acre. For aerial (helicopter) application, use 12.5 fluid ounces (25 g ai) in 75 gallons of water /acre. The maximum allowable dose is 25 g GA3 (active ingredient)/acre. Note: the results of our research documented that lower and higher doses are less effective.
Spray Solution pH. The final pH of the spray solution in our research was between pH 5.5 to 6.0. ProGibb LV PlusR is stable at pH 4.0 to 8.5. The pH of the water used should be adjusted accordingly. Note: prolonged exposure of GA3 to a pH > 8.5 should be avoided to prevent breakdown of the material.
Additional Information on Spray Volume. In our research, for ground applications, we used the same amount of GA3 (25 g ai/acre) but a spray volume of 200 to 250 gallons of water/acre, depending on tree size, to achieve good coverage without causing the material to run-off the tree and with minimum spray volume left in the tank after application. Use of spray volumes greater than label rate of 100 gallons of water/acre for ground application is the decision of the Agricultural Commissioner for each county. Consult with your County Agricultural Commissioner, if you wish to apply ProGibb LV PlusR (25 g ai) in more than 100 gallons of water/acre as a ground spray. For the aerial (helicopter) application, the greatest efficacy was achieved with ProGibb LV PlusR (12.5 fluid ounces, 25 g ai) in 75 gallons of water/ acre.
Wetting Agent. In our research, we used the organosilicone surfactant Silwett L-77R or Widespread MaxR (Loveland Industries, Greely, CO) at a final concentration of 0.05%. Similar pure organosilicone type surfactants are acceptable.
Photo: Cauliflower stage inflorescence. Source: Salazar-García et al., 1998.
Wildlife isn't always restricted to wild spaces.
Avocado orchards and other agricultural landscapes also buzz with species that forage and reproduce in these spaces. Birds and herbivores are able to find food and shelter in these cultivated areas, but what about carnivores? In a study published in PLOS ONE, researchers at the University of Washington have discovered that mammalian carnivores also occupy avocado orchards in southern California.
The authors used motion-activated cameras to observe animals in orchards and in adjacent wild lands in Santa Barbara and Ventura. Avocado orchards were of particular interest due to their location near native vegetation.
Through their investigation, the researchers detected more carnivores in the avocado orchards than in neighboring wild land sites. At least 7 out of the 11 native carnivores in the area were spotted roaming the orchards, including bear, coyotes, gray foxes and bobcats.
Having delicious avocados handy may explain why some omnivores such as bears and raccoons are present in the area, however, little is known about why animals like bobcats and mountain lions might leave their wild habitat for cultivated land. One possibility is that the orchards provide water and fruits for herbivores, and an increased herbivore population could translate to more prey for the carnivores. The orchards may also serve as shelter, offering forest cover similar to oak woodlands in the area.
These native species cannot always persist in protected reserves, so it is important to learn how cultivated lands can serve their lifestyle and behaviors. The carnivores may not be searching for the perfect guacamole ingredient; however there is no doubt that the avocado orchards are serving as a habitat for a wide range of species.
Citation: Nogeire TM, Davis FW, Duggan JM, Crooks KR, Boydston EE (2013) Carnivore Use of Avocado Orchards across an Agricultural-Wildland Gradient. PLoS ONE 8(7): e68025. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0068025
- Author: Guy B Kyser
A recent request from the San Diego area has prompted the reposting of this blog by Guy Kyser, UC Davis Plant Sciences Specialist
A neighbor asked me to identify a robust perennial that keeps coming up in his garden. It had long, tropical-looking leaves and floppy racemes with small white flowers. This was a new one for me. Turned out it was common pokeweed (Phytolacca americana), a native of eastern North America. In the south some people eat it (poke salad), and a few southerners probably brought it west as a garden vegetable. But the whole plant is toxic if improperly prepared, so it's the fugu of weeds.
A couple of weeks later my daughter brought home a stalk of purple berries and asked if she could eat them. “No,” I said, “they contain numerous saponins and oxalates.” I began to wonder if there's more pokeweed around than I realized.
Then Gillies Robertson of Yolo RCD sent photos of a purple-berried plant found along a slough near Grimes. Common pokeweed again.
Pokeweed is in the Phytolaccaceae. This weed can grow to 10 feet tall. It dies back in winter then reemerges from the ground in spring, growing from a fat fleshy storage root. The leaves are large, 3 inches to a foot long and 1 to 5 inches wide, often with reddish stalks and lower veins. From August to October, pokeweed produces racemes of white flowers followed by reddish-purple berries. In its natural state, all parts of the plant, especially the root, are toxic to humans. Birds can eat the berries but sometimes act funny afterwards.
This plant can be found in most of the contiguous states. In drier regions, it prefers gardens and irrigated areas. Southerners with pokeweed experience suggest controlling it by digging up as much of the taproot as possible and/or by cutting off the stalks and painting the stubs with concentrated glyphosate (e.g. Roundup). Either way, treatments will probably have to be repeated until the plant's storage reserves are worn down. And it's a good idea to deal with pokeweed before it produces berries and seeds.
Since this is the first year I've seen it, and since I suddenly ran into it in three locations within a few weeks, I'm guessing that the common pokeweed population is expanding. This plant seems robust enough to cause some trouble if it becomes established in natural riparian areas.
So, this weekend we had some hot weather and the damage from that heat is apparent in all kinds of plants. Sycamores, cottonwoods and willow in the Santa Clara River bottom look torched. Redwoods in the landscape look like a new disease has hit them.
Even old coast live oak in Ojai have been toasted. Orchards have been hit also with been hit without exception. This has been a widespread weather phenomenon like a major freeze. And the trees should be treated as if they have been freeze damaged.
So, what to do with the avocados and citrus that have been hit? Well, if it's just a slight toasting, nothing. They will grow out of it. It's a setback. The growing points, the terminal buds, have been damaged and in the case of avocados those may not flower next spring. If the damage is not extensive, the whole canopy has not been damaged, then flowering should be sufficient for a good crop next year. If the whole canopy has been hit, it's likely that flowering will be minimal next year.
If the trees have lost significant portions of the canopy, though, the heat damage is not the problem, it's the sunburn damage that is going to happen that is the problem. It's the loss of the leaves that transpire and cool the tree that lead to this kind of damage that can kill small trees and lead to significant branch loss in older trees.
The leaves act like the radiator in a car. They move water through the tree and that water movement carries off the heat that accumulates in the branches and stems. When water flow stops, the bark heats up and tissue is damaged. The worst-case scenario occurs when a “renovated” tree that has been brought down to 6 feet in January and since then there has been new growth all over the tree. The heat fries that new growth and now the whole tree structure is exposed to sunburn damage.
The branches exposed to the sun need to be protected with whitewash. The whitewash needs to be WHITE, not grey. It needs to be able to reflect the sun and prevent the surface from heating. The tops of branches and the west and south sides need to be the most protected, so it often involved hand work. And it needs to be done soon after the canopy loss. That wood heats up fast and damage occurs soon after it heats up.
So what else needs to be done? No canopy, no water loss, so it's necessary to manage the water differently. With no leaves, there is no water moving from soil through the tree, so it just sits there, and the ground stays wet. Perfect conditions for root rot.
Growers who were watering their trees knowing that a heat spell was coming, did the right thing. It probably reduced the severity of the damage, but even growers who had water on before the heat and it was running during the heat have had damage. With canopy damage and loss, applied water needs to be restricted to just enough to get tree recovery without creating a wet, soggy condition. And with tree recovery, it's going to need a continually changing irrigation schedule as new growth occurs.
So now more than ever, water to the tree's growing needs. And the normal fertilizer program needs to be adjusted. There's probably sufficient nutrients in the soil from prior fertilization that nothing new needs to be applied.
And don't' prune the trees. Leave the hanging leaves there. They will help protect the tree from sunburn, but the extent of the damage is not clear. Let the tree push new growth and that will tell you sometime in the future 3-6 months, even a year from this event, when to do significant pruning.
Phlood, Phyre, Phrost, Fytophthora and Phahrenheit continue to plague our industry. It seems like we are always coping with some natural and some unnatural issues affecting agriculture. Oh, yeah and pH.
Photo: Heat singed new avocado growth.
Dogs can detect agricultural diseases early
Study shows dogs can sniff out laurel wilt-infected avocado trees well in advance
A study out of Florida International University evaluates the use of scent-discriminating canines for the detection of laurel wilt-affected wood from avocado trees. Julian Mendel, Kenneth G. Furton, and DeEtta Mills have ferreted out a possible solution to a serious issue in one corner of the horticultural industry, and then ascertained the extent to which this solution is effective.
The results of this study are presented in their article "An Evaluation of Scent-discriminating Canines for Rapid Response to Agricultural Diseases" published in the latest issue of HortTechnology.
Laurel wilt disease has resulted in the death of more than 300 million laurel trees in the United States alone. One affected plant is the commercially important avocado tree, the second-largest tree crop in Florida behind citrus. This disease has had a devastating effect on the industry in South Florida in past harvest seasons, and two larger avocado industries in Mexico and California are naturally worried that this disease, if it hits their crops, could spread fast enough to destroy their seasons.
Once affected by laurel wilt disease, trees succumb soon after infection. Once external symptoms are evident, this disease is very difficult to control and contain as the pathogen can spread to adjacent trees via root grafting. Until now, there has been no viable, cost-effective method of early diagnosis and treatment.
Laurel wilt is the consequence of an invasive species--the redbay ambrosia beetle--originally from Asia, which was inadvertently introduced into the United States in untreated wooden packing material.
But as with so many ailments, early detection can be instrumental in deterring a widespread infection. The use of scent-discriminating dogs has shown to offer the avocado industry legitimate signs of hope in their fight against the spread of such a profit-crusher throughout their groves.
Three dogs were trained and studied for their ability to detect the early presence of laurel wilt by scent. At present, canines are extensively used in law enforcement and forensics in the location of missing persons, explosives, drugs, weapons, and ammunition. More directly applicable, dogs have demonstrated the ability to detect invasive species of spotted knapweed, brown tree snakes, desert tortoises, and various cancers.
The highly sensitive canine olfactory system is capable of detecting odor concentrations at exceedingly minute 1 to 2 parts per trillion. The authors believe it likely, with properly directed training, that these dogs could use their natural talents to service the protective needs of the potentially ailing avocado industry.
During the course of the study, 229 trials were performed, and only 12 of those yielded false alerts. It was observed that dogs are indeed capable of high levels of relevant performance, even in harsh weather conditions such as high heat and humidity. The study provided proof that dogs can detect agricultural diseases such as laurel wilt and can be a powerful management tool if the disease is caught in its earliest stages.
About the valuable service provided by these dogs, Mills adds, "It is the best 'technology' so far that can detect a diseased tree before external symptoms are visible. The old saying that 'dogs are man's best friend' reaches far beyond a personal bond with their handler and trainer. It is depicted in their excitement every day as they deploy to the groves. Man's best friend may even help save an industry."
The complete article is available on the ASHS HortTechnology electronic journal web site: http://horttech.
Also a great article on dog-sniffing bee hives for foul brood. Go DOGS!
Cobra, a 3-year-old Belgian Malinois, is trained to detect laurel wilt-diseased trees before the visible symptoms are seen. She and two other Dutch Shepherd canines detect asymptomatic, but infected trees. Once a diseased tree is identified, these "agri-dogs" will sit, indicating a positive alert./h1>