A call from a small grower, surprised at the sudden decline of the avocado trees. It must be a disease was the grower's thought. Well driving up to the site, there were numerous trees with canopies indicating drought stress. In fact most of the trees looked like they had had the water turned off. When I got to the orchard, all the trees had a similar look (see photo below). The fringe of the canopy had turned brown/red where the leaves had collapsed rapidly, while the interior leaves were often still green. All the trees had a similar cast. It turns out the water district had required a cutback just when temperatures were going into the 100's. NO water, no cooling effect of transpiration and the outer fringe of leaves collapsed. This is called the “clothesline” effect. It's like a sheet on a clothesline where the margins of the sheet dry first and gradually the body of the sheet dries. The same thing happens in a canopy. The outside leaves are the first to dry out and then the rest of the canopy goes. When you see a whole orchard go down suddenly, that does not fit into a disease pattern. There's usually an epicenter where it starts – where it's colder, wetter, dryer, hotter, more overgrown, etc. and spreads out from there if it is going to spread. It turns out that the automatic irrigation system had gone down and the grower hadn't noticed until too late. When you see reddish tinged leaves, it means the leaves went down fast. When they are brown, it means they slowly went down over weeks or months.
With all the dead points in the tree, it is now open to disease – twig/leaf blight caused by one of the Botryosphaerias. These decay fungi are everywhere in an orchard decaying organic material on the orchard floor. With the dead material in the tree, now the tree becomes a potential feast for the fungi. The dead stuff has to come out, or the fungus will start eating into the tree. I suggested that instead of pruning out all those little points of death, that they cut back the whole canopy to major scaffold branches. In doing so, it would rapidly and cheaply remove the dead material and reduce the water demand.
Published in the Los Angeles Times from Aug. 6 to Aug. 7, 2016 - See more at: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/latimes/obituary.aspx?pid=180988990#sthash.UTYo4NSS.dpuf
ATTENTION: All Cherimoya Producers (and friends),
"Deliciousness itself", Mark Twain
The California Cherimoya Association is sponsoring a knowledge sharing meeting.
Time: Saturday, March 12, 2016, 12:00 to 2 p.m.
Place: California Tropics Packinghouse
6950 Casitas Pass Rd. (Highway 192)
Topics: Pollination and fruit set
Ant (and other pest) control
Other commercial production interests
Cost: No charge but reservations are appreciated. Bring your own lunch.
For more information contact: Scott Van Der Kar, email@example.com or (805) 684-7900
Please pass this invitation on to others who may be interested
The latest cost of production study done on oranges came out recently.
It applies to the San Joaquin parts of the Valley for sure, but many of the assumptions are true for evergreen tree crops in general. The cost of weed control, or fertilizing are not going to be different. Pest and disease control are going to be very different if you are a navel orange grower in Bakersfield or a cherimoya grower in Santa Barbara. The key to these studies are the different issues/categories a grower should be addressing and the studies provide a framework for that study. Also it gives general costs for different inputs, such as urea and glyphosate to make a comparison to what you might be paying
A recent trip to Spain was an opportunity to look at their cherimoya production practices. One of the most interesting is their ability to manage the tree through pruning to produce fruit off-season (in spring) when the prices are the highest. IN California our low period of production is in the summer. The climate in Spain along the Mediterranean coast is warmer and more humid than coastal California, so most tree crops are about two months advanced in their production. So in the text I refer to a period when something is done and then follow it with another date. The one in parenthesis is the probable time in California if the date in Spain is used. So, to produce fruit in spring (summer) in March/April when prices are high:
Remove all shoots from the previous year in March (May)
With the new shoots, prune them back 6 inches in length around July 15 (September 15)
Pollinate the flowers that are produced in the period of August to September (Sept/Nov)
Pick fruit in March/April (June/Aug)
Fruit is produced when prices are higher
Generally fewer seeds than at other periods
In some cases there is higher sugar content in the off-season frui
Not always consistent with all cultivars
Off-season fruit often has black spots in the pulp
May see increased leaf drop
In some cultivars, the skin is more prone to abrasion, and this is already a very delicate fruit
There are other fruit species that fruiting date can be manipulated by pruning, such as evergreen blueberries, guava, lime, mango and carambola (star fruit). Always it is to find a better market for the fruit.