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Don't delay during dormancy

December 4, 2019
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By John Wood, Certis USA Regional Manager, CA South Central Valley

The UC-IPM classifies dormancy as the stage when leaf fall begins and ending when bud growth resumes. This period usually begins around December 1st, so congratulations everyone, we have officially made it through the 2019 growing season! 

I’ve brought you dormancy tips recently, but now that we are officially here, I’d like to drill down on a few that I think are of utmost importance for a successful dormancy.

Dormancy is a critical period for pest management. You simply cannot ignore your IPM during dormancy without setting yourself up for major issues in the 2020 season.

Here are some steps that I recommend to keep your IPM working for you during dormancy:

We all know how dramatic the effects that navel orangeworm (NOW) can have on tree nut crops. In dormancy, you can be proactive in fighting the spread of NOW by examining for mummy nuts, which can allow NOW larvae to overwinter. According to UC-IPM, you want to ensure that you’re counting mummy nuts early to allow enough time to kill the larvae before bloom. 

It is recommended that you examine at least 20 trees per block and remove mummies if you find an average of two or more per tree.

While you are out in your orchard looking for mummy nuts, there are a couple of other things you can also be looking for and doing.

First, in addition to looking up in your trees for mummy nuts, be sure to also be looking down in your orchard floors for signs of weeds that may have escaped your growing season program. This will help you better plan for control applications in the spring. Getting ahead of weeds is always preferred, and starting early is the best way to accomplish that.

Also, if you are pulling mummy nuts, definitely take the opportunity to start taking spur and twig samples as well. These crucial samples will help you determine if you need a dormant treatment to control scales, scabs or mites. Remember that you can find evidence of scale and mites on spurs. Scab evidence can be found on twigs.

I think that the sampling information from UC-IPM is quite helpful. They even give you a handy chart that you can print and track your samples so there is no question if you need a treatment for your orchard. 

If you and your PCA decide that a dormant spray is needed, never fear. Dormant treatments can be quite effective since there are no leaves on the trees to interfere with contact.

Certis USA’s Kocide® copper fungicide line of products can be your most powerful weapon in dormancy. Its trusted, proven and reliable results in reducing inoculum and protecting against Bacterial Blast, Bacterial Canker and Coryneum Blight (Shot Hole) simply cannot be beat.

Start planning now for a Kocide® application in January or early February and you’ll get the solid, foundational protection you need for 2020. 

Dormancy is a period of rest, both for your trees and for you, but it’s also a critical time in your IPM program. Stay vigilant as you rest and you won’t regret the efforts in 2020.

Remember, too, that I always love hearing from you at asktheexpert@certisusa.com. If you have a dormancy routine that works great for your farm, definitely reach out.

This series is part of a partnership with Tree Nut Farm Press. You can read the original here.

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