Shaking has almost been completed throughout many almond orchards. Through this process, a lot of stress has been placed on orchard trees. Trees may have also been damaged throughout the duration of the growing season or during the harvesting process. After harvest is completed, it is helpful to walk the orchard and observe for problematic areas.
Things to look for include: Shaker or other mechanical damage that may lead to infection by Ceratocystis, mite damage or webbing in trees, areas containing a large amount of stick-tights, excessive leaf defoliation due to either mite infestation or lack of water, gumming of the trunks or scaffolds, areas affected by Hull-rot, and/or areas of poor nut pick-up.
To find out how to prevent these problems, look for patterns. Does the damage appear in any specific locations, such as at the end of irrigation runs, near irrigation valves, areas of different soil textures, or near orchard borders? Were shaker damaged trees shook at the beginning or end of the day? Is only one variety affected?
Identifying these patterns will provide valuable clues about what went wrong and allow corrective practices for the coming year.
Check out the Almond Doctor: A Web site discussing almond production with weekly updates can be found at http://www.thealmonddoctor.com/. Topics have included field diagnosis of problems, production practices, integrated pest management, and news updates regarding almond production.