Apple pollinator workshop in Burlington May 10th, VT pesticide credits and CCA CEUs available

Greetings growers,

I hope this message finds you well. At UVM Extension we have been working on an upcoming in person apple grower workshop to be held in Burlington during the anticipated apple bloom period. It is the first of two on pollinators in fruit production.

Supporting and Monitoring Pollinators in Apples, 4:30-6:30pm, Wednesday May 10, UVM Horticulture Research and Education Center, Burlington VT

Supporting and Monitoring Pollinators in Blueberries, 5:00pm-7pm, Tuesday May 23, Cedar Circle Farm and Education Center, Thetford, VT

I have attached a flyer and the apple meeting agenda for more details. There will be 2 pesticide applicator credits and 1.5 CCA CEU available with meeting participation. Thanks so much for considering and hope to see you there.


Laura Johnson

University of Vermont, Extension Pollinator Support Specialist


327 US Route 302 Suite 1 Berlin, VT 05641

Cell: 802-291-2118


Apple meeting agenda for 5.10.2023 twilight meeting.pdf

Vermont Apple IPM- Tight Cluster

I am leaving for a research conference for the next week, so I am getting out a preemptive notice of things to watch for while I am away. So, while I am discussing disease management, remember to check NEWA to assess actual disease conditions before applying prophylactic sprays in your orchards.

Bud stages have moved pretty rapidly in the past ten days, and we are a good 7-10 days ahead of ‘normal’. In many years I start spraying the orchard on or around earth day. This year I started April 13, and put a second spray on this morning to buy some protection while I’m gone for a week. If you have the notion, you can report your bud stage dates at this link ( to help me keep an eye on things around the state.

Orchards are at or around the tight cluster bud stage in Champlain Valley of Vermont, which means that there is plenty of tissue out there for apple scab to infect, and the disease is in a critical management phase. Orchards should be covered with an effective contact fungicide (mancozeb, captan, sulfur if organic) going into any expected wetting periods. If coverage is questionable going into a wetting event, a postinfection material may be used- Vangard is effective prebloom and during relatively cool weather. There are several others, too- see the New England Tree Fruit Management Guide apple spray table for details. Note that these post-infection materials, including DMIs, SDHIs, Strobilurins, and Anilinopyrimidines, have high potential for the fungus developing resistance to them, so always mix with a protectant and rotate fungicide classes every application. Organic growers have fewer options for postinfection materials. I am not recommending liquid lime sulfur anymore, as it is just too caustic and dangerous to applicators, trees, and equipment. Some materials such as the peroxide (e.g., Oxidate) and bicarbonate (e.g. Armicarb) based fungicides have shown efficacy when applied during infection, as the spores are germinating on wet leaves, but are pretty limited in providing any real control after cuticle penetration has occurred. Bottom line: keep the orchard covered.

There is still time to apply oil to manage mites and scale. I am a proponent for putting oil on as late as possible, up to tight cluster or even pink. The rate should be adjusted down as buds open more: 2-3 gallons per 100 gallons water (straight % in tank, not adjusted for tree for volume or per acre) is good from dormant through green tip; 2 % GT-tight cluster; and 1% as you approach pink. Oil should be put on dilute- slow down and open up your nozzles if you can. For most orchards, 100 gallons of water per acre should be the minimum for applying oil. That means recalibrating your sprayer in many cases.

Trees are approaching their peak energy needs as bloom approaches. Now is a good time to get your first soil-applied nitrogen fertilizer down. In many cases, split applications are more useful than a single application, timed at tight cluster to pink and a second application at petal fall. Without a foliar analysis (which is always the gold standard for developing fertilizer recommendations), growers should err on applying a total of 30-40 pounds of actual nitrogen per acre whether in one or two applications. This is also a good time to apply the foliar tonic of urea (3#/100 gallons), boron (1# solubor or 0.1-0.2 lb actual B/100 gal) and zinc (many materials, use label rates). I wouldn’t mix this tonic with oil, do one and then the other in this next spray or two if needed.

VT Apple IPM: Green tip this week?

At this time of the year, we should always be keeping an eye on the weather in the week ahead, and the shift toward warmer temperatures this week suggests that we may be seeing the first signs of green tissue on trees in many sites in Vermont. Green tip indicates the beginning of the growing season, and is an important biofix for apple scab models. Keep checking your trees daily and note the date when 50% of buds on ‘McIntosh’ have opened enough to see green tissue from the side. That date should be used in NEWA to mark your biofix for apple scab ascospore maturity.

Potential for apple scab infection increases with temperatures as more ascospores mature to be released in rain events. In the early season. Not many spores are mature, and if you had good scab control last year, i.e., no visible lesions all season, then the small percentage of mature spores in a low inoculum situation may give you some early season breathing room. But if you did have a problem with scab last year, or a neighboring orchard harbors substantial inoculum, you should be ready early in the season to protect your trees. Copper is the standard, first spray of the year in virtually all orchard, as it helps to reduce fire blight inoculum and is a moderate fungicide against scab that can cover the first infection event for that disease.

But copper is a tricky material- it must be on the plant and not washed-off by the time fire blight cankers are oozing with the onset of warm weather, but if applied too late, copper ions on developing buds can cause fruit russeting. I would plan on applying copper to any orchard that had any amount of fire blight last year and which is showing green tissue or at least solid silver tip as soon as you have a suitable spray window. If possible, I would plan on applying copper to any orchard, period, that is between silver tip and half-inch green in the next 7-10 days. There is a pile of materials out there and for all intents and purposes for this delayed dormant spray any of them are effective as long as you are applying a good full rate of copper ions. The standard dry materials like Champ, C-O-C-S, Cuprofix, Kocide, etc. will give you the best bang for the buck here, and I would apply the full label rate for any of them and thoroughly spray the whole orchard. The only caveat I offer is if phenology advances rapidly before you can get out there and the trees are at 1/2” green tip, in that case, I would apply a low to middle rate. After 1/2” green tip, unless you don’t care about fruit finish (e.g., cider fruit), I would avoid copper.

This isn’t a bad time to get oil on, either, but the rate should be 2% by volume and coverage absolutely thorough to soak overwintering mite eggs, scale, and aphids. If time is of the essence, focus on copper first.

There is still time to do some sanitation in the orchard by flail mowing leaves and fine brush, and/or applying a coarse urea spray (44 lb feed grade urea in 100 gal water applied per acre, directed at the leaf litter) to speed decomposition and reduce apple scab inoculum.

Keep an eye on NEWA regularly as we enter into the 2023 season. Up-to-date spray tables may be found in the New England Tree Fruit Management Guide available online at and shortly in hard copy format.

April 1- not fooling anyone, spring is around the corner

I am writing a somewhat rare joint apple-grape bulletin today to start off the 2023 season. This year marks my 29th season growing apples in New England, and 18th (I think) growing grapes. That’s a long time to be at it, when just before that I was convinced that I left farming behind when I left the dairy farm and headed off to college. Such is the way things go. I hesitate, however, to continue to call myself a farmer, particularly as the letters after my name and number of words in my title grows. Suffice to say that, despite the changes in duty I’ve had over the years, I remain committed to Vermont specialty crop growers, and look forward to the season ahead. My former colleague and mentor Lorraine Berkett always said we needed to be ready for the growing season by April 1. Like many, I am not ready, but the season will come to us as it does, and I plan to use these notes to help us all get through it together.

This season I have an excellent team working with me on both crops that I have research and Extension responsibilities for. My two graduate students, Bethany Pelletier and Eli Wilson, will be helping me out both by conducting their own research and teaching activities and by helping to be eyes and ears on farm both with me and with undergraduate students we will host this summer. You can expect to see their bylines a bit as they share their experiences with the community. I also have a new operations manager at the farm, Brian Vaughan, who will help me out with spraying and other work at the UVM farm, once we get him set up with his applicator’s license.

Speaking of pesticide rules, the Vermont Pesticide Rules were updated for the first time in over 30 years this past winter and the new rules went into effect in February. Every grower should review the rules here. The changes are a bit too long to summarize here, but include standardization of classifications; new rules for applicators; new standards for recordkeeping; standards for protection to pollinators (or particular interest to fruit growers, more to come on this); and changes to transportation and storage requirements. A summary of the regulation changes may be found in the Spring 2023 Vermont Pesticide Applicator Report, starting on page 3. That report also includes a refresher on the updated Worker Protection Standards rules that you should refresh yourselves with before the growing season commences.

I will put in a separate and distinct comment here- I don’t care if your operation uses organic, non-organic, or other materials, becoming a licensed applicator ensures that you have been trained, maintain training, and are tested on your knowledge of safe use of agricultural chemicals. Everyone in our community should be trained, licensed, and hold ourselves to the highest standards to maintain environmental quality and ours’ and our workers’ and families’ safety as we protect our crops.

I’ll wrap up with a suggestion to get your ducks in a row for the season that will rapidly be here. Besides getting up-to-speed on regulations and requirements, we should be cleaning, testing, and calibrating our sprayers; checking and ordering inventory; finishing up pruning; performing orchard and vineyard sanitation by shredding leaf litter and brush; and getting set up with a weather station and monitoring program for your farm so that you can make informed and wise decisions rather than rely on gut instinct in the season ahead.

Here’s to a good spring and great growing season overall.

Free Virtual Stone Fruit Webinar. Sign Up Today!

DEC Credits Available


Virtual Stone Fruit Webinar

March 16, 2023

Location: virtual via Zoom

Date: Thursday March 16, 2023, 1:00 PM – 2:30 PM

Cost: Free

Register Here

CCE LOFP and CCE ENYCHP are cohosting a virtual stone fruit webinar on March 16th. We will first hear from Dr. Brett Blaauw from the University of Georgia/Clemson University on the use of mating disruption for peach tree borers. We will then hear from Dr. Terence Robinson as he gives his recommendations from growing sweet cherries on dwarfing rootstocks under rain covers in New York.

There is a free event.

This program is eligible for .75 DEC credits in categories 1A, 10, and 22.

To receive credits, you must:

  1. Enter your ID number during registration
  2. Send a photocopy of your applicator ID to Janet van Zoeren at jev67 or 585 797 8368
  3. Attend the entire webinar
  4. Complete the Qualtrics surveys at the beginning and end of the meeting

Please reach out to Mike Basedow at mrb254 or 518 410 6823 with any questions on this event.

Click here to register for this event

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Follow up from 2023 VTFGA / UVM Fruit Grower meeting

Good morning:

After finally getting my old server password liberated, I am happy to post the pdfs of the slides from the 127th Vermont Apple Growers’ meeting (a shorter title seems okay here).



News from UVM Fruit Team and expectations for 2022

Dr. Terence Bradshaw

Updates to Vermont Pesticide Policy

Steve Dwinell, Director, Public Health & Agricultural Resource Management Division

Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets

Back to Basics: Core Integrated Pest Management Concepts

Dr. Terence Bradshaw

Back to Basics: Integrated Pest Management Strategies for Managing Insect Pests

Dr. Jaime Piñero, UMASS Fruit Program

Novel Strategies for Managing Insect Pests

Dr. Jaime Piñero, UMASS Fruit Program

Disease Management in Vermont Orchards

Dr. Srdjan Acimovic, Virginia Tech

Risk Management for Retail Farm Operations

Stuart Farnham, Frazer Insurance Agency

Thanks again for a good meeting, and I am sorry about the lack or a streamed / recorded option.


Webinar on spotted lanternfly Feb 21, 2023

Feb. 21, 12:00 – 1:00: Webinar: Spotted Lanternfly

It is just a matter of time before spotted lanternfly makes its way to Vermont. Brian Walsh, Penn State Extension, will describe how this invasive leafhopper has impacted municipalities in the northeast and provide information to share with your communities. Register here.

Hosted by Vermont Urban & Community Forestry Council

Upcoming VTFGA annual conference

Good morning,

It’s been too long since we have gotten together as friends and as an industry to catch up and share knowledge to ensure the sustainability of Vermont apples.

The 127th annual VTFGA conference is less than three weeks away. We’ll be meeting in person at the American Legion in Middlebury on Friday, February 17th. If you plan on attending it would help with our planning if you registered soon. Register online ( or use the paper form attached to this email. Walk in registration is an option but not preferred.

Attending the meeting qualifies attendees for 3 VT pesticide credits.

Your membership to VTFGA includes an annual membership and listing to DIG IN VERMONT (, a $50 value. Also included in a VTFGA membership is a listing on the Vermont Apples webpage ( Your dues also help pay for fall marketing campaigns.

This year’s program includes a broad range of material that is relevant to all levels, scales, and types of farms: intensive Integrated Pest Management series by Terry Bradshaw, UVM, Jaime Pinero, UMASS, and Srdjan Acimovic, Virginia Tech; updates on pesticide programs by new Steve Dwinell, Director of Public Health and Agricultural Resource Management Division at Vermont Agency of Agriculture; changes and opportunities to weigh in on apple crop insurance program by Colleen Kisselburgh; a review of liability considerations for pick-your-own farms by Stuart Farnham; and a review of licensing considerations for farm kitchens and other processors.

Thank you,

Jim Bove, VTFGA President

Terry Bradshaw, UVM Fruit Program

2023 127th Meeting Agenda.pdf
VTFGA 2023 Meeting Registration Form.pdf

Open now: University of Vermont Fruit Team Orchard Productivity and Costs of Production Survey

Please share freely with your networks.

University of Vermont Fruit Team Orchard Productivity and Costs of Production Survey

University of Vermont Plant and Soil Science M.S. student Joseph Leahy is conducting a survey designed to collect important information on apple production in New England and surrounding states. Data collected in this survey will be used to fulfill the objectives or research and outreach projects funded by USDA and Vermont Agriculture Experiment Station. The intent of this survey is to evaluate past and present apple production in Vermont and the surrounding region and to guide future research and outreach programming. All data will be kept confidential and cannot be linked back to any individual operation. 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. This survey should take 20-30 minutes to complete. Respondents will need to have basic financial information on hand to complete the survey.

Every respondent will be entered to win a $100 Tractor Supply gift card. Please respond by February 15, 2023

117th Annual UVM Fruit / VTFGA Meeting – February 17th, 2023

The 2023 Vermont Tree Fruit Growers Association and UVM Fruit Program Annual Meeting will be Live and In-Person on February, 17, 2023 in Middlebury, VT. Registration is live at this link: Attached is the detailed Meeting Agenda as well as a registration/membership form for those who want to pay by mail/check.

Please register at your earliest convenience. This helps us plan for lunch, which is being catered by Pratt’s Store and Deli in Bridport. There will be coffee, tea, cider, bagels and cream cheese available in the morning. Lunch is lasagna (meat and veggie), caesar salad, garlic bread, broccoli salad, and cookies and brownies.

You may have a problem using the online registration when using a device with a small display (i.e an IPAD). If so, please use a device with a larger display screen (i.e. a laptop).

Registration questions should go to James Bove: jbovevt

Program questions please email me: tbradsha

-Terry and Jim

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 label.

The UVM Tree Fruit and Viticulture Program is supported by the University of Vermont Agriculture Experiment Station, UVM Extension, USDA NIFA E-IPM Program, and USDA Risk Management Agency.

UVM Extension helps individuals and communities put research-based knowledge to work. University of Vermont Extension, and U.S. Department of Agriculture, cooperating, offer education and employment to everyone without regard to race, color, national origin, gender, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, and marital or familial status.

VTFGA 2023 Meeting Registration Form.pdf
2023 127th Meeting Agenda.pdf