July began on a quiet note in the almond orchards of Sara Savary’s growers. A PCA with Crop Care Associates, based in Fresno, Calif., most of the orchards she works with are in Madera County.
Both the trees and prospects for this year’s nut crop look good at this point, following a large nut drop in May. Given the number of newly-developing nuts on the tree then — probably more than they could sustain — Savary wasn’t surprised.
“The nuts look nice now and are sizing well,” she says. “Because of the weather earlier this year, hull split will be late. It will probably be mid-July before the early varieties reach that stage. Sprays for navel orangeworm will be applied before any hull split is noticed.”
Timely fungicide applications this spring have kept disease pressures low, she says. “Considering all the rain we had, I expected to see more disease. Although others probably put on more fungicide sprays that I did, most of our trees have had no late-season diseases, like rust or anthracnose. We let them go through the late rains without any treatments.”
Through the end of June there was no need for her growers to spray for the Pacific spider mite, but with temperatures climbing into the low 100s in early July, she was keeping watch in the orchards for any mite activity.
“Usually, if they haven’t really shown up by now, often they aren’t a problem,” she says. “But, if they do come up, we’ll treat them with our hull split spray.”
So far, Savary has seen no threats from other common pests, such as grasshoppers, leaf-footed plant bugs or stink bugs.
Despite all the rains this season, her growers are providing their trees typical amounts of water at the customary times.
“With crop size as big as it is, most growers are following their normal irrigation regime. In the meantime, we’re waiting for hull split and looking ahead to harvest.”