Request for input: very short survey re: UVM Horticulture website

In order to better serve commercial growers, we will be updating the UVM Extension Commercial Horticulture website. The goals of these changes are to increase the website’s usefulness, functionality, and accessibility. Feedback from this survey will provide useful information to aid assessment of these updates. This survey will take approximately 2-5 minutes to complete.

The survey is at:

Please complete by July 7 if possible.

This survey complies with Institutional Review Board policies at the University of Vermont, and because no sensitive data are collected nor are responses attributable to individual respondents, it is exempt from increased privacy protocols under certificate CHRBSS: 18-0332. Questions regarding this survey may be directed to: Terence Bradshaw, tbradsha, (802) 922-2591.

VT Apple and Grape IPM: Much-needed rain, response to May 18 freeze

Good evening:

Here’s another joint apple-grape bulletin. The news of the week is that we finally have a good dose of much-needed rain. Our trees and vines will appreciate this very much after the dry May and early June we experienced. For most sites, this should replenish the moisture that the plants have been begging for, or that you have been working hard to provide via irrigation. It also means that weeds are going to grow especially well, so keep an eye on your groundcover management.

More important is disease management. Apples are basically done with scab, but 2-2.5 inches of rain by the time this is all done means there is no fungicide coverage against summer diseases, and that any scab that did sneak through can easily spread. Grape growers- we’re in peak disease management season. Organic, natural, or conventional- be sure to cover up with your fungicide of choice between the rains. See netreefruit or New England Small Fruit Management Guide for best options.

Insects remain quiet on grapes, aside from some grape tumid gallmaker that has popped up here and there. In apples, codling moth are at a prime time to manage right now in most orchards. Check NEWA for best timing in your orchard.

Finally, I have heard from some apple growers, and suspect that a few grape growers may have heard the same, that Farm Service Agency has reported that because those crops are eligible for federal crop insurance, that any uninsured producers facing crop damage from the May 18 freeze are cannot expect further assistance in un- or under-insured. This is a systemic issue across the region, and the Commissioners and Secretaries of Agriculture across the ten-state region from Maine to Delaware have recently petitioned USDA Secretary of Agriculture for increased support for growers in the region. This is a critical step to receiving support, and should any be passed down to farmers, it will likely come through Farm Service Agency office. That is why it is so important to register with your FSA office that you had damage, so that they may contact you should aid come from the federal level.

Take care and please let me know if you have any needs or questions,


Request to USDA from NEASDA for Freeze Damage Aid 06.14.2023.pdf

VT Apple IPM

Word is getting out in the media about the crop loss from the May 18 freeze. I am trying to manage the messaging a bit to nudge writers to encourage customers to support orchards and other farms this year. We don’t need the public writing the crop off before we even have. On that note, I am hearing a few promising signs that there are some fruit out there, even in some orchards that thought they had zero to work with. Some inland orchards are reporting 10-30% of a crop where we thought there was none. That’s a good thing, even if frost-disfigured fruit only make it into cider. But that also complicates management.

I’m considering apple scab still active in most parts of the state, even if NEWA says otherwise. Extended dry weather pauses ascospore maturity and makes the models less predictable. Next week looks showery and most orchards should see any final spores release in the next significant wetting event. Keeping fungicide protection on now will prevent scab from building and will also reduce the likelihood of other diseases like Botryosphaeria leaf spots and rots and apple blotch or Marssonina building up and causing tree defoliation and other symptoms. These relatively weak fungal diseases are often managed when spraying for scab and summer fruit diseases, so maintaining at least a minimal spray program will help prevent them from becoming established in the orchard to become a problem next season.

Insects still need management. Check NEWA or your min-max thermometer and calculate your degree days to run your models for the important pests now- plum curculio, codling moth, and the leafrollers. PC is nearly done with its egglaying period in most orchards. Codling moth is just about to hatch so next week looks like a good time to manage that pest with targeted treatments. Look to the New England Tree Fruit Management Guide for best materials to consider.

VT Grape IPM- Vintage 2023 is picking up steam

By now vineyards should have shown the effects of the May 18 freeze event (and a little damage here and there from the less severe May 26 frost that some sites may have seen) and it appears that, by and large, all is not lost. That isn’t to say that there isn’t extensive, and sometimes massive damage in many vineyards. In some cases secondary or even tertiary shoots are pushing, in some cases we don’t’ even have that. But it does sound like there will be wine from much of the state. Here are some management considerations to think about moving ahead.

First, keep up on your disease management. We are entering the immediate prebloom period where all of the major early season diseases are active. It’s (finally) been wet but not a soaking rain for the past week and next week looks showery. Keep your fungicide coverage on, even if you don’t think you’ll have a crop. Obviously no shoots means no tissues to protect, but even fruitless shoots will be susceptible to disease and unmanaged disease this year will become a big headache next year as you’ll have a large overwintering inoculum.

Next, keep an eye on water. I know most grapes in Vermont are not irrigated but in a year like this. At the UVM Horticulture Center we have received just over an inch of rain in the past month. That’s not enough for sufficient growth and production.

Finally, you should now be looking at any canopy management that the vineyard needs. In areas with little freeze damage, this is the time to thin shoots down to 4-6 per foot of canopy. That foot can be on a cane, cordon, or other structure. The cordons or canes may have been compromised and not pushing any shoots, you may be seeing growth coming from the head at the top of the vine trunk. If that zone, which we may say is about one foot, is all you have that is pushing buds, then I would leave more than the 4-6 that the above formula would call for, but rather leave double that. You will need to be tying and training canes in the next few weeks to manage that growth and reduce shading and moisture buildup. If you decide that the vine needs to be rebuilt from the ground up, keep an eye out for shoots that emerge from the root zone (non-grafted vines only) to train up as new trunks. I know the tissues low to the ground are among the most vulnerable in a frost, but the root system may be a source of new shoots produced from hidden or adventitious buds.

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Meeting for Local Orchardists (Putney, VT, June 14)

Sorry I won’t be able to make this but anyone from the fruit industry who wants to share your experiences relating to the May 18 freeze is welcome to join. And if you haven’t contacted FSA yet, be sure to do so. -TB


Local orchardists and other growers are invited to a meeting on June 14 at 7:30 pm at Green Mt Orchards , West Hill Rd, Putney, Vt. with State Sen. Wendy Harrison and State Rep. Mike Mrowicki along with UVM Agriculure Extension Agent Vern Grubinger.

The meeting is for local food producers to share about their losses from the severe freeze that occurred in May. Estimates are that almost all of the local apple and peach crops have been wiped out for this year. Other growers have also experienced losses and your local legislators want tom assess the damage and try and find ways to help.

The meeting is open to the public. Any grower who has experienced a loss is encouraged to attend or to contact by email; Sen. Harrison wharrison or Rep. Mrowicki mmrowicki

Mike Mrowicki

Vermont State Representative
Windham4 District- Putney& Dummerston

Important: Crop Damage Reporting to FSA Offices

Good morning:

I spoke with USDA Farm Service Agency officials last week and they are receiving relatively few reports of the crop damage from the May 18 freeze event. We are anticipating some form of federal assistance to come, which will likely be administered through FSA offices.

Please contact your FSA office (details attached) as soon as possible to indicate potential crop loss on your farm. You do not need to file a detailed report, just to get on the list.



FSA Service Center Directory.pdf

VT Apple IPM

It’s finally looking like there’s a better than zero chance for rain in the next few days. Everyone, regardless of the status of your apple crop, should be covered going into this (hopeful) rain event. If you have fruit, plum curculio is likely your main pest of concern right now, we’re about a week away from codling moth egg hatch. Keep an eye on your fruit set and if fruit are still clustered up, consider a thinner.

Be careful (or just don’t) with spraying in heat. I’ve done a good bit of damage to fruit and foliage when spraying over 85°. Best window if you can cover the orchard quickly enough is once it starts cooling down tonight through tomorrow. The front coming through will bring wind.

That’s all for now- I have a sprayer to set up.