- Author: Cheryl Wilen
IPM Natural Resources Extension Coordinator
Endemic and Invasive Pests and Diseases Strategic Initiative LeaderUC Statewide IPM Program & UCCE
- You need to get a Remote Pilot Airman Certificate (FAA Part 107) if you are going to do anything commercial with it. That includes even if you are using it on a job where you will not be paid.
- You can use it for scouting but you can't fly it over people (unless you get a waiver). You also always have to have it in your or an assistant's (the spotter with radio communication) line of sight.
- Even if you have a drone that is capable of doing a spray application, the Dept. of Pesticide Regulation currently requires that the drone pilot have an Airman's Certificate (Pilot's license). This is addition to the Pest Control Aircraft Pilot Certificate from DPR. However, things may change in 2018. See pages 3-47 to 3-52 in http://www.cdpr.ca.gov/docs/enforce/compend/vol_1/entirerep.pdf
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- Author: Ben Faber
After the fires, the question has come up of whether an orchard should be replanted or topworked in the field, possibly to a new variety. This has been an issue in the past and was addressed in a little study nearly 20 years ago. The study still bears relevance today and applies to both avocado and citrus. The availability of avocado trees for replanting is in serious short supply, so replanting may not be an option at this point.
There are many changes going on in the citrus industry and one opportunity is the conversion of an orchard to another variety of citrus. If this is a consideration, then the question becomes one of whether the orchard should be topworked or replanted with new nursery trees. If the trees are healthy and under 20 years of age (it is possible to topwork older trees) and the new scion is compatible with the interstock or rootstock, then topworking can come into production sooner than a new replant. If the planting density needs to be changed or serious soil preparation or a new irrigation system needs to be installed, then replanting might be the preferred choice.
The chance to convert is also dependent on the availability of new trees and budwood. New varieties can often be in short supply. It's best to make sure that for either option that the material is there. For topworking, T-budding is more conservative of material than stick grafting. If topworking is chosen, then it must be decided whether to graft the scaffold branches or the stump. Stump grafting makes for a lower tree, but scaffold grafting reduces the risk of losing the topworked tree from damage to the graft from birds, pests, wind or frost.
It is often assumed that topworking is cheaper than replanting, but as the following example shows, it probably is not. In Santa Paula, ‘Olinda' Valencias on ‘Carrizo' rootstock were converted to scions ‘Allen' Eureka lemon, or ‘Powell' late navel. In 1998 and 2000, the ‘Olinda's were interplanted with either ‘Allen' on ‘Macrophylla' or late navel ‘Powell' or ‘Chislett' (on either ‘Carrizo or ‘C-35' rootstocks). The ‘Olinda's were topworked in 2002 and 2003 to one of the new scions. In a few cases, ‘Allen' was stump grafted, but most trees were scaffold grafted.
Several steps are required for topworking that will ensure success. These are listed below:
• Get a reputable person to do the work.
• Time of year is critical for grafting. Spring is best.
• Leave a nurse limb.
• Decide to stump or scaffold graft.
o Stump grafting requires only 3 – 4 buds or sticks
o Scaffold grafting requires 2 buds per scaffold. Consider winds since even one-year old unions are very tender.
• Sequence of events
o Line up budwood
o Remove top of tree and stack brush
o Whitewash trunks
o Paint cutoff surfaces
o Insert grafts
o Wrap grafts with plastic tape
o Place white paper bag over grafts and tape in place
o Keep after ants and snails
o Shred brush
o Remove bags when shoots start growing through them.
o Bi-monthly, in first year, brush out water sprouts. Less often in the next 2 years
Much of this work can be contracted with the grafter, who usually assures some level of performance, something like 90% take. It is up to the grower to ensure that pests do not take out the grafts.
The costs of topworking are associated with the costs of the budwood (as much as $3 per tree), the act of grafting (depending on stump or scaffold, $8-10 per tree) and water sprout removal. Sprout removal is six times in year one, eight times in year two and only four times in year three. At a labor rate of $12 per hour, sprout removal costs $7.20 per tree.
A like for like comparison of topworking versus replanting based on 2002 data is shown below.
So in the case of both the lemon and navels it costs a bit more to topwork, but the results are earlier production. Here the topworked trees gain the economic advantage. For example, if cultural costs were $1000 per acre per year (20 by 20 ft. spacing) and, conservatively, two years are saved, the maintenance savings per tree would be $18. In the above study the time advantage appears even greater. Three-year old topworked lemons produce about the same as 6-year old replants. Two year old topworked navels have a significantly larger canopy than six-year old replant navels and appear to have about the same fruit set for the coming year.
- Author: Jim Downer
All the media are full of stories about the impending El Nino effects and possible flooding rains in California. As I write this, it is the day before our first significant storm (Jan. 4) with a 100% chance of rain throughout Ventura county for tomorrow. Still long range forecasts for Jan and Feb show near normal or less than normal rainfall possibilities for the Avocado growing areas of California. The “real rain”, they say, will come in March. Although nobody can accurately predict the occurrence of rain, we are certainly due for an increased rain year based on statistical models and estimates of the El Nino effect by NOAA, JPL and NASA. If heavy rains are in the near future, nurserymen and growers will need to take measures to protect their operations from the many and disastrous effects of downpours. Physical displacement of soil as erosion and loss of soil are common during heavy rains. While runoff water should not leave agricultural properties, it has to move somewhere when rains come, so ditches should be cleared of weeds and other obstructions to permit efficient flow of water. Most operations will have already done this by now. So what can be expected when the rains come and after they leave? It will likely be a banner year for diseases both biotic and abiotic.
Many pathogens are splash inoculated from plant to plant or soil to plant, so it is imperative to prevent the development of flooded or puddled ground near growing areas. Now or between storms would be a great time to lay down additional gravel under container beds or other outside nursery areas. Keeping containers off soil, either with a gravel or fiber mat and gravel system is imperative when trying to control Phytophthora in nurseries. Compacted walkways and beds may become saturated this winter and create ideal sporulation conditions for Oomycetes or water molds which may then move in water flows to new areas of the nursery causing infections where never seen before. Consider boardwalks or additional gravel in known low spots and walkways so that workers don't move infested mud from one part of a nursery to another. For citrus and avocado growers it is vital to give water a place to go on flat or low lying areas. When we get the expected deluges, trees can suffocate from extended soil saturation and defoliate rapidly due to anoxic conditions.
For Phytophthora sensitive crops, it may be wise to increase the calcium by adding additional gypsum now to reduce sporulation and potential spread of disease. It is also wise to use preventative fungicides such as mefenoxam, and phosphorous acid to increase plant readiness for Phytophthora increases following wet weather.
This is also a great time for woody plant growers to prune any diseased or dead materials from plants ahead of winter rains because many Ascomycete canker fungi that cause disease in woody plants will have inoculum in dead twigs. This has been a banner year for Botryosphaeira fungi which have caused canker diseases in citrus, avocado and ornamentals at record levels due to drought stress. When rain comes, spores are splashed to new plants and can cause new infections. Since this is an El Nino year, it is warm, and warm rains are best for disease promotion. Remove inoculum now, cull and remove weak, diseased or dead plants ahead of the rains to cut down on disease spread. Even though it may be inappropriate to plant some crops now, it is always a good time to remove weak trees, plow diseased row crops and chip up the waste to be used as mulch.
With rains often come strong winds. Greenhouse and tunnel growers should consider the effects of wind this winter on their operations and possible crop loss from this damage. Tunnel houses used in berry and other production are at risk but other greenhouse materials such as polycarbonate sheeting can be detached by wind. Now is a great time to inspect and repair these structures or apply new sheeting as necessary. Wind can also move woody plants to rub against each other, causing injury to the main stem or fruit if tightly spaced. Trees that are blown over due to high winds can be damaged and devalued. Spend time now inspecting trellis systems and staking of woody plants to minimize damage that may be coming.
Outdoor nurseries that have planting media storage piles should start now to downsize these piles or provide new tarps in advance of wet weather. Greenhouse operations with media stored outside should ensure that bales are properly covered with new tarps to prevent saturation of the media. Media bales should be stored off the ground on raised pallets to avoid contamination with soil or mud flows.
The challenge of a wet and potentially stormy winter is to envision what excess water can do in your operation and then try to prepare. Flooding conditions create a time of potential pathogen movement and the best protection for plants is to keep them elevated above the mud and keep workers from spreading it with the movement of machinery or foot traffic. It is also useful to imagine invasion of soil from adjacent land owners who may have diseases or weeds not on your own property. Money spent now on infrastructure will prevent disease loss later this spring or summer.