From Fox Weather by way of CA Avocado Commission, hot weather is forecast for mid- to late- June
This is a time to make sure that trees are adequately hydrated prior to the heat spell. Once trees start losing water through transpiration, it's hard for them to absorb water and heat stress and sunburn damage can result. The trees need to be fully water, so that they can continue to transpire to cool themselves during the heat spells.
And don't forget people in the field:
- Be sure shade is available on demand when the temperature is below 80 degrees F, shade must be provided at all times when the temperature exceeds 80 degrees F, as close as practicable to where employees are working;
- Shade must be provided to all employees on a rest or meal break,except those who choose to take a meal break elsewhere (editor's note: provision of shade as usual may not be consistent with social distancing recommended by various COVID-19 guidance; ag employers implementing heat illness shade requirements can ensure adequate shade consistent with social distancing requirements by staggering meal and rest breaks, but additional shade may be necessary);
- Fresh, pure, and suitably cool water must be made available in sufficient quantities (replenishment is permissible) to allow each employee to drink one quart per hour;
- Water is to be provided as close as practicable to location of work;
- Employees must be trained about heat illness and the Cal/OSHA Heat Illness Prevention (HIP) Standard before they work in conditions where they might be exposed to heat;
- Supervisors must be additionally trained in HIP compliance procedures, emergency responses, and ensuring effective communication to facilitate emergency response.
- A written copy of your HIP program in English and the language understood by the majority of the employees and be available to employees and Cal/OSHA inspectors on request — this is the most frequently-cited part of the HIP standard — and probably the most easily-avoided HIP citation!
- Remember: When temperatures exceed 95 degrees, employers must implement “high heat” procedures, including a mandatory 10 minute break every two hours (meal and rest periods can serve as these breaks, but if employees work beyond eight hours or waive meal or rest periods, you must still ensure the mandatory rest break occurs).
30-Day Weather Outlook for May 31, 2020, to June 22, 2020
Summary- The prevailing pattern is a high pressure ridge from N California westsouthwest or southwestward. Cold fronts coming S through California will tend to extend southwestward from southcentral-S California to the area SW – W of S California.
A long-lived pattern of troughing or low pressure will continue from southwest of Central California to about 25N then extend west toward Hawaii.
The MJO is showing a slow increase in activity over the next two weeks.
CFSDailyAI and CFSv2 suggest some rains primarily in northern California and the Sierras, and into Siskiyou Mountains and southern Oregon at times.
It is early for monsoonal showers and thunderstorms (TSTMS). However, the presence of upper lows may begin to bring tropical moisture northward into SOCAL and the Sierras, despite the lack of a usual summer monsoonal pattern.
Potential Dates of Precipitation (from Fox Weather's CFSDAILYAI system):
Salinas Valley-San Luis Obispo Co- S SierraNV:
Salinas Valley Showers: 6/2-3. Hot spells 6/4, 6/8-9, 6/11-12, 6/14-17, 6/22-27.
San Luis Ob/Edna: Hot spells 6/6, 6/9, 6/12, 6/15-17, 6/20-27th, 7/1.
Southern California Citrus/Avocado Area, San Luis Obispo Co to San Diego Co:
Southern California Citrus/Avocado Area: May 31-June 15.
Santa Barbara, Ventura to San Diego Co: No rainfall of consequence.
Santa Barbara Co: 6/6, 6/12. 6/16-17th, 6/22-26th.
Ventura Co: Hot 6/16-17th, 6/22-26th.
San Diego/Orange: Hot 6/16-17, 6/22-26.
Summary – June 15 – July 15… In Northern and Central California, Hottest: 6/14-17, 6/22,27, 7/1-2.
San Luis Obispo Co... Hottest periods 6/15-17, 6/22-27.
Southern California… Shallow marine layer and hot inland. Hottest: 6/16-17, 6/22-26, 7/1-3.
Seasonal Outlook July 15 – August 31... Northern and Central California overall pattern…. Near normal rainfall (minimal). Above normal temperatures occur during all of July and all of August. Usual thunderstorms (TSTMS) in the central and N Sierra and Plateau.
Southern California: San Luis Obispo Co, Santa Barbara Co, and Ventura to San Diego Counties east through Los Angeles to San Bernardino, Riverside and Imperial Counties…. Our latest guidance is suggesting a hot period in N and Northcentral California during mid-July, but near normal behavior of the marine layer at the SOCAL coast and valley areas. Although cloud amounts should be about normal, temperatures will drift above normal due to warmer sea surface off SOCAL and Baja. Weak troughs and upper lows will intermittently develop and deepen the marine layer as is normal for summer.
Looking further ahead into Sept – Nov, Dry and persistently warmer than normal conditions develop during the late Sept through Nov Santa Ana season.
Alan Fox...Fox Weather, LLC
Copyright © 2020, Fox Weather, LLC, Used by permission.
These are hard days for navel oranges. Drought stress. Salt stress due to drought. Then a heat wave in July that messed the trees up. And now we head into a weird fall with maybe rain. Maybe no rain. Maybe a little rain. This is ripe for navel splitting. This time of year when they are starting to build sugar, they are also ripe for splitting.
Years of drought, and a stressed tree are a perfect set up for navel oranges and fruit splitting.
The days have turned cooler and suddenly out of nowhere there is rain. That wonderful stuff comes down and all seems right with the world, but then you notice the navel fruit are splitting. Rats! No, a dehydrated fruit that has taken on more water than its skin can take in and the fruit splits. This is called an abiotic disease. Not really a disease but a problem brought on by environmental conditions.
Fruit splitting is a long-standing problem in most areas where navel oranges are grown. In some years, the number of split fruit is high; in other years it is low. Splitting in navel oranges usually occurs on green fruit between September and November. In some years, splitting may also occur in Valencia oranges but it is less of a problem than in navel oranges.
Several factors contribute to fruit splitting. Studies indicate that changes in weather including temperature, relative humidity and wind may have more effect on fruit splitting than anything else. The amount of water in a citrus tree changes due to weather conditions and this causes the fruit to shrink and swell as water is lost or gained. If the water content changes too much or too rapidly the rind may split. In navel oranges the split usually occurs near the navel, which is a weak point in the rind.
Proper irrigation and other cultural practices can help reduce fruit splitting. Maintaining adequate but not excessive soil moisture is very important. A large area of soil around a tree should be watered since roots normally grow somewhat beyond the edge of the canopy. Wet the soil to a depth of at least 2 feet then allow it to become somewhat dry in the top few inches before irrigating again. Applying a layer of coarse organic mulch under a tree beginning at least a foot from the trunk can help conserve soil moisture and encourage feeder roots to grow closer to the surface.
If trees are fertilized, apply the correct amount of plant food and water thoroughly after it is applied. If the soil is dry, first irrigate, then apply fertilizer and irrigate again.
Fire, Flood, Freeze, Fytophthora. It seems like there is disaster around every corner these days. This can be tough for tree growers with a lot of investment in the ground. There has been a special USDA crop insurance available for ‘Hass' avocado growers for several years. For a reasonable amount, a considerable amount of disaster insurance can be obtained:
This program is not available for non ‘Hass' avocado, although that may change in the future. It is also not available for many other perennial crops like pomegranates and persimmons and may only be available for some crops like blueberry and citrus in some counties and not in others.
However,there is disaster insurance available for many fruit crops in all counties in California. This program is The Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP), administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA). It provides financial assistance to producers of noninsurable crops against natural disasters that result in lower yields or crop losses.
The 2014 Farm Bill specifies that an individual's average adjusted gross income (AGI) cannot exceed $900,000 to be eligible for NAP payments.
Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program
Tree Assistance Program
2018 NAP Application Closing Dates
Unfortunately, the closing dates for crops like pomegranates, persimmons, and blueberries closed October 1, 2017 for this year, but avocados and citrus are still open until February 2018.
For more information about the program, contact:
Santa Barbara-Ventura County | Farm Service Agency
920 East Stowell RD | Santa Maria, CA 93454
(: (805)928-9269 Ex. 2 |Fax: (844)206-7008
The National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) is seeking input from growers across the nation concerning crop insurance. NCAT is hosting an online survey, which takes 20 – 30 minutes to complete, that will compile grower and rancher opinions, attitudes and concerns regarding crop insurance. The results will remain anonymous and will be used to shape crop insurance recommendations that NCAT, in partnership with a number of other agricultural organizations, will present to the United States Department of Agriculture concerning organic, diversified and specialty crop producers.
NCAT will pay those who complete the survey $20.
Growers interested in participating in the anonymous crop insurance survey can do so by clicking on this link.
Last Sunday was forecast as 20% chance of rain in Ventura, but it didn't happen. Today, Friday it was supposed to rain, but it's barely a drizzle. My car's dust has just been redistributed. Could a better prediction be forecast? According to Cliff Mass it certainly could.
According to Mass, other countries like the UK and the European Union have invested heavily in computing power that allows greater prediction of local weather. In fact, the EU can forecast weather in the US better than National Weather Service. The problem at the Service is not for lack of imagination and smarts but a lack of funding for super computers that can do the improved predictions.
No matter where they grow in California, June is a month when avocados are being watered on a regular schedule. How regular that schedule is should be carefully reviewed by the irrigator. In 1991-'92, right along the coast in a Ventura irrigation plot, we applied 32" of water, but in '92-'93 we put on only 26". Same trees, nearly the same size, but a 23% difference in applied amounts dictated by differences in water demand due to different weather. The irrigation schedule we use is driven by tensiometers and a CIMIS weather station. The station generates reference evapotranspiration values which tell us how much water to apply at an irrigation, and the tensiometers are used to verify whether the trees are doing well by the schedule. Irrigation on a fixed schedule, such as once a week for 24 hours, is going to guarantee that on average you will be either under or over irrigating at each irrigation. Using some soil-based measure, such as a soil probe or tensiometer can assure an irrigator that trees are getting the appropriate amount of water when they need it. If you haven't done so, the irrigation calculator available at the Avovcadosource.com website can be quite useful in guiding an irrigation schedule - http://www.avocadosource.com/tools/IrrigationCalculator.asp - check it out. You also need to correct for salinity accumulation.
In orchards which have not closed canopy yet, weeding is an ongoing activity. In a research plot, we are using tensiometers to monitor the effects of weeds, bare soil and chipped yard waste mulch around trees. In weedy plots soil moisture profile rapidly show 30-40 cbars of tension at 6", whereas the bare and mulched plots can go much longer before showing 40 cbars. Centibars is a measure of moisture tension, the higher the value, the drier the soil. As trees get older they make their own leaf mulch and shade which limit weed growth. There is no question that a cover crop can improve soil conditions through reduced erosion, improved water infiltration, and possible reduced disease and pest problems. These soil improvements tend to improve tree growth and orchard productivity. But, if water is the primary issue, weeds and a cover crop can add considerably to water use in an orchard, especially a young one. Weed control through the use of mulches and herbicides can effectively reduce the water requirements of trees.
June is still a good time to replant an orchard. The soils are warm enough to give the trees a good start and there is enough fine weather left for them to establish before winter comes. Late plantings (September, October) are discouraged because the root-shocked plant sits in a cold, wet soil through the winter and becomes a prime candidate for root diseases. Especially in a replant situation, it is a good idea to start them off with a fungicide with one of the phosphonate products, to give them some protection until they get established. The best time for to apply the material to do its job on older trees is when there is a good root flush of growth which occurs after the leaf flush in spring and fall.
When replanting, try as much as possible to avoid interplanting between older trees. The different water requirements of the young and old trees is such that one or both will be stressed because they need different schedules - less but more frequent for the young trees. Attempts can be made to put together a system where the older trees remain on the 10 or 15 gpm mircosprinkler and the young trees are put on a 1 gpm dripper. This still cannot be an ideal situation, since the needs for application frequency are still different between the small and big trees. The best thing to do is to clear out trees within an irrigation block and replant, or replumb a block with a new valve so that small new block can be irrigated differently from the older trees. Where clonal rootstocks fail in a root rot replant situation, it is invariably where water control is lacking or poor.
As we all know, this has been a long dry spell in the avocado growing areas along the coast. With the levels of salt in our waters, it's important to have some kind of a leaching program to ensure that salts do not accumulate in the root zone. Each winter, rain leaches the accumulated salts from the previous irrigation season and starts the orchard off to a good start. These years it hasn't happened and one of the things that can affect the trees is a stress. This is a salt stress that is most pronounced at the end of irrigation lines and where low pressure results in low output, often at the top of the hill. Any irrigation system that has poor distribution uniformity is going to have areas where less water than average is applied.
One of the responses of the trees to salt stress is to exhibit cankers in the branches. These can be silver dollar-sized cankers running in a line up the branch or as diffuse white spots in the branches. The first symptom is related to bacterial canker and the second is to black streak. These are not killer diseases, but they are reflective of the tree being under stress. As soon as the irrigation schedule is corrected, these symptoms can clear up in several months. If the schedule is not corrected the tress will begin losing leaves and sunburn can result. The symptoms of these two problems can be viewed at the UC Integrated Pest Management website - http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/r8100611.html and http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/r8100311.html.
Again these are primarily stress-related diseases and the way to correct the situation is to improve irrigation distribution uniformity and the irrigation schedule. If it goes on too long it can cause problems especially in young trees. When you boil down farming to the basics, the most important activity in the orchard is ensuring proper irrigation.