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.