Dozens of fires throughout the Central Coast have left ash residue on many crops that some PCAs say may be impacting insecticide efficacy.
Efren Calaya says some Salinas Valley vegetable growers — particularly those with crops under drip that don’t get overheard sprinkling — saw significant ash deposits on their crops.
“We’ve had ash rain the last month or two, and we’re having a hell of a time getting control on two spot and some of the other pests we’re dealing with in those fields.”
Calaya said some loads of strawberries that were grown under drip were rejected due to the amount of ash on them, and he suspects the residue may be neutralizing fungicides and insecticides.
“We’ve been washing off plants with water and surfactants to get the ash off, then coming back in and reapplying pesticides where we can. But we’re running out of ammunition because we have to abide by the label for maximum use. It has been pretty challenging.”
Blazes were nearly extinguished in Monterey County and other Salinas Valley areas hit by dozens of wildfires since June.