2014 Growing Season Welcome

April 1, 2014

Terence Bradshaw, UVM Tree Fruit and Viticulture Specialist

As I write this at the beginning of the first week of April, it looks like Spring will finally be arriving, but in a form I remember as a kid- a long month of fluctuating temperatures, plenty of ice and slush, and trees showing signs of waking up from their slumber near the end of the month. I’ve always considered April 1 as the day that the growing season officially starts, and many years, that’s about when we get into the field with a tractor for the first time of the year cleaning up prunings. Not this year, but it will come soon enough.

As many growers know, I have assumed responsibility for the UVM Apple and Grape program from the retiring Lorraine Berkett who has served in this role for over 30 years. Lorraine has been an excellent resource for our grower community, with her dual background in entomology and plant pathology, and her work has certainly helped Vermont growers maintain sustainability while managing pests on the orchard. My background is more diverse: I am neither an entomologist nor plant pathologist, yet I have worked with Lorraine for nearly 20 years at UVM and that experience will inform my newsletters to you. In addition, I have been the default horticulturalist with the program for nearly 10 years, so my reports will contain more information from that area. As a jack-of-all-trades, I will rely on my observations from the UVM orchards and vineyard and any I visit, as well as information from regional experts to offer a well-rounded outreach program that supports our tree fruit industry.

In my new appointment at UVM, I do not have a formal Extension component, but I have received a USDA Extension-IPM grant to provide outreach services to apple and grape growers in the state. Feel free to contact me with your questions during the season, preferably by email (tbradsha). I will be issuing regular email and blog updates (see below) during the season, with less of a reliance on the traditional newsletter format where information is held until compiled together in a regularly scheduled issue. Let me know if this system is working out as the season goes on, I appreciate and need to feedback.

New UVM Fruit Website

My colleague Sarah Kingsley-Richards has been hard at work setting up a new website for our programs and migrating content over. Our old websites (http://orchard.uvm.edu, http://pss.uvm.edu/grape) were designed in the early 1990s and 2000s, respectively, and have served us well. However, web standards have moved on, and it was time to get our information together into a more usable format. In addition, the website for our Organic Apple Production project, http://www.uvm.edu/~organica, has existed in isolation since its launch in 2006. Each of those sites will remain for the time being as archive sites, but will no longer be updated.

The new site, http://www.uvm.edu/~fruit, will serve as a gateway for small fruit, tree fruit, and grape producer information. The small fruit tab will direct users to Vern Grubinger’s Vermont Vegetable and Berry page, while tree fruit and viticulture information will be housed within the site itself. We don’t have everything migrated over from the old sites yet, but this should be your first source for any new information coming from our program.

We also have developed a companion blog site, skingsle to get on the list. The latest blog posts will be featured on the homepage of the UVM Fruit website to help users keep abreast of any new information. Blog posts are sorted by categories that can be selected on the right side of the main blog page.

Both the UVM Fruit website and blog feature responsive web design. That means that the sites will adapt to fit various screen sizes, whether on a desktop computer, tablet, or smartphone. Work on this site redesign is funded with a grant obtained through the Vermont Specialty Crops Block Grants Program.

Finally, another site of importance for fruit growers is the Cornell Network for Environment and Weather Applications (NEWA) site, http://newa.cornell.edu. Vermont has been a partner with Cornell on this site since 2010. The site collects weather data from stations located at farms and airports to generate real-time pest management models that can help growers make decisions in the field. The Vermont NEWA network consists of eight weather stations located on farms (Calais, Dummerston, East Dorset, Putney, Saxtons River, Shoreham, South Burlington, and South Hero) and six airports (Bennington, Burlington, Montpelier, Morrisville, Rutland, and Springfield). On-farm stations feature temperature, relative humidity, rainfall, and leaf wetness sensors, which allow users to run all models on the site. Airport stations lack leaf wetness sensors, so some models, such as apple scab, will not run. Users should select the site closest to their farm, with the caveat that local meso- and microclimates may affect the actual weather conditions on your farm. Remember, however, it is only a model, and will serve as one piece of information in your decision-making process. Site and station reliability are very good, but internet connectivity and station readiness can occasionally be fussy, so you should have a good knowledge of your pest management decisions on your farm rather than relying solely on NEWA to make you decisions for you.

2014 New England Tree Fruit Guide is Available Now

The 2014 New England Tree Fruit Management Guide is available for order now. This guide represents the work of IPM professionals throughout New England, and is our primary resource for IPM and general production information available to growers. If you think your old guide will cut it, it won’t. There have been numerous changes in product registrations and recommendation in recent years, and an up-to-date guide is your best investment in helping to keep your management program up-to-date.

Guides are $40 each, delivered. We are not set up to accept credit cards, so interested growers can print this email out and send a check for $40 payable to “University of Vermont” (nothing else goes on the to: line) to:

Sarah Kingsley-Richards
UVM Plant & Soil Science Dept
63 Carrigan Dr
Burlington, VT 05405

Please give your:

Name: _________________________

Orchard Name: _________________________

Mailing Address: __________________________

Summer course at UVM on Orchard and Vineyard Management

Registration is open now for PSS 195: Sustainable Orchard and Vineyard Management, offered at the University of Vermont this summer. Classes will be taught on Tuesdays and Thursdays 9:00 am- 3:00 pm from June 16-July 11. Students will learn principles and practices of commercial orchard and vineyard crop production, including: site selection and preparation; cold hardiness development; varietal selection; tree and vine training and trellising systems; cold hardiness development; nutrient, water and pest management; harvest and postharvest considerations. Special emphasis will be placed on environmental and economic sustainability of fruit production systems.

The course will cover both orchard and vineyard crops suitable for production in northern New England, and students will have opportunities to explore specific crops in greater depth if they so wish. At each course meeting, we will apply knowledge of integrated horticultural and pest management practices in a real farm setting.

Registration is open to both undergraduate and non-credit students. For more information, contact Instructor Terence Bradshaw (contact information is listed below) or go to: