First, UVM Extension Farm Viability Program has posted a page of resources for farm businesses related to emergency loans, grants, and other updates from state agencies: http://blog.uvm.edu/farmvia/?p=1805. Of particular interest to the framing community is the Paycheck Protection Program which provides low-interest, forgiveable loans to small businesses to cover payroll, mortgage interest, rent, and utilities. The direct link to that program is: https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/coronavirus-relief-options/paycheck-protection-program-ppp.
In walking the orchards at the UVM Hort Farm yesterday, I saw a lot of swollen, delayed-dormant buds, but only none yet at silver tip. Given the warm weather expected next week, I would expect to see at least some cultivars reach green tip in the next seven days. If you have green tissue on your farm already, please send me a note to let me know. Thus begins the disease management season.
If you’re still pruning, you should wrap up what you can and get your brush pushed to make room for sprayer access. I am a believer in using copper at green tip for disease management. The timing of this spray is very important- too soon (no green tissue showing) and you risk ‘wasting’ some of the effectiveness of the material against apple scab when susceptible tissue isn’t present. Too late (beyond ½” green tip) and you risk fruit russeting, which can be quite severe. Given that, it’s better to err a bit on the early side, but you should have green tissue showing in the orchard before applying. Copper applied at green tip will give about seven days’ protection against apple scab.
Copper’s primary benefit is in reducing overwintering populations of fire blight bacteria. Even though we saqw minimal amounts of this disease last year, fire blight has become a regular disease to manage in Vermont, and a multi-pronged approach will be needed to keep it at bay. Copper should be applied to all trees in the orchard, not just susceptible varieties, and in as dilute a spray as possible. The specific copper material is less critical than the amount of metallic copper that is applied in the spray, and copper sulfate, copper hydroxide, copper oxychloride sulfate products all will be effective when used at label rates. A good primer on spring copper applications to pome fruit by Dr. David Rosenberger can be found in the March 28, 2011 issue of Scaffolds. Addition of one quart oil per 100 gallons can help improve penetration into bark crevasses where fire blight may reside. However, this could be a good time to apply a full oil spray to manage overwintering mites, and a 2% solution is recommended at this timing. Oil and copper products are compatible for tank mixing at this time of the year, but likelihood of phytotoxicity increases as more green tissue emerges. One benefit of applying oil in your first spray is that it allows more time for it to degrade or wash off before incompatible fungicides such as Captan and sulfur may be used as primary scab season ramps up. Avoid the oil if you’re within a few days (before or after the spray) of a frost to reduce chances of damage to tree tissues.
Now that the ground is clear and firming up, it also would be a good idea to perform spring orchard sanitation to reduce overwintering scab inoculum. Leaf shredding with a flail mower is an effective practice that also may be used to reduce small pruning wood to mulch, but the mower must be kept low in order to lift and grind leaves that harbor overwintering inoculum. Alternatively, there is still time to apply urea (40 lbs/100 gal water/acre) to leaf litter which aids in decomposition and breakdown of inoculum. Leaves should be wetted thoroughly and the majority of material directed into the tree row.
Good luck with the beginning of the season and please reach out if you need anything.
Where trade names or commercial products are used for identification,
no discrimination is intended and no endorsement is implied.
Always read the label before using any pesticide.
The label is the legal document for the product use.
Disregard any information in this message if it is in conflict with the
The UVM Tree Fruit and Viticulture Program is supported by the
University of Vermont Agriculture Experiment Station, a USDA NIFA E-IPM
Grant, and USDA Risk Management Agency Funds.