Midsummer orchard management

By Terence Bradshaw

High summer is here, the time that apple growers can relax (a little), maybe go away for a few days, and just get ready for money to fall off the trees. While that’s a bit of an exaggeration, this has always been one of my favorite times in the apple season, as we watch the fruit size up with a lot less work than earlier in the season.

Pest management: thinks are pretty simple now. Insects drive your fungicide sprays, as there is room to stretch the latter out on a 2-3 week schedule depending on rain. If you still have active scab in the orchard, captan every 10-14 days is still on the menu, but leaves and fruit are becoming more resistant to new infections, and existing lesions should be burning out. Sooty botch. Fly speck, and fruit rots should be the main targets, select your material of choice based on the New England Tree Fruit Management Guide.

As for insects, that really depends on things farm by farm. Some orchards have already seen sufficient trap captures to trigger an apple maggot fly spray, check your traps and be ready to treat when average trap captures hit one per block for non-baited traps or five for baited traps.

Second generation codling moth are just flying now, so egg hatch is still a few weeks away. Obliquebanded leafroller, if they are a problem in your orchard, could be treated any time now but I’d plan on scheduling that with your maggot spray.

Every spray tank should include some calcium product at this time of year. For Honeycrisp and Cortland especially, you may need to make some passes with just calcium to keep bitter pit at bay.

Now through mid-August is the time to collect leaves for foliar nutrient sampling. The UVM Agriculture and Environmental Testing Lab can provide analysis, but at this time their output does not generate fertility recommendations. The following are potential options of labs for analysis. It is recommended that you contact the lab for instructions and costs before samples are sent. Plus, it is important to confirm that they will send recommendations along with the analysis.

(1) University of Maine Analytical Lab: http://anlab.umesci.maine.edu/
(2) University of Massachusetts Soil and Tissue Testing Lab: http://www.umass.edu/plsoils/soiltest/
(3) Cornell Nutrient Analysis Lab: http://cnal.cals.cornell.edu/

Finally, anyone interested in seeing what we’re up to in our research orchards can attend the UVM Hort Farm research day on August 6. I sent a flyer in a previous email this morning. We’ll only be covering apples from 10:30-11:15, but there will be plenty to see along the tour route and you can always chat with me before/after, at least until I need to get ready for my next stop. http://www.uvm.edu/~hortfarm/documents/20190806_UVM_HREC_ResearchDay.pdf

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