Hello Wisconsin Fruit News subscribers, and welcome back to Notes from The Field: A Grower’s Perspective. This week Steve Louis (Oakwood Fruit Farm) and I had our fifth chat in between heat waves and severe thunderstorm warnings across southern Wisconsin.
This is a busy time of year at Oakwood Fruit Farm! Thinning in the orchard has been limited by the inconsistent weather patterns. Steve is observing a little June drop in the orchard with the larger crop this year. At this point in mid-June fruits are anywhere from 20-mm to golf ball-sized. Bitter pit prevention continues for Honeycrisp apples with regular calcium applications in the orchard. With the recent heat wave, Oakwood is prioritizing the establishment of irrigation for new plantings and making sure everything is ready to go in case there is a dry spell. Steve shared some excellent advice as we head into another week of high temperatures “Don’t let it get too dry before irrigation, don’t try to refill a deficit, apply early and on the front end.” To stay ahead of your irrigation needs, this is the time to check wells, pumps, and lines for breakage that may have occurred during the colder months.
Pest activity is just beginning to ramp up with the warmer weather. With mating disruption out at Oakwood, Steve is monitoring coddling moth flights (1st generation), and according to his scout, small numbers have already been observed. Disease prevention continues to be a top priority. Many growers have already completed an Apogee application or two to reduce vigor and minimize the risk for fire blight infections. We had a very warm summer last year and many experienced significant fire blight infections. This is an important time to start scouting your orchard for fire blight strikes. To read more about in-season cultural and chemical controls for fire blight, check out this article. Hail and extreme winds are always a concern at this time of the year, and some locations have already faced these issues over the last couple weeks. These events could result in trauma blight which is a very destructive phase of fire blight. Injuries caused by these weather events can provide an entry point for the fire blight pathogen. Continue to walk your orchard for any signs of damage or potential sites of infection. We should soon be passing most scab risks, and Oakwood will soon be pulling back fungicide rates for scab.
Next week, Steve is starting to think about next year! Yes, it’s time to start preparing for return bloom by beginning applications of NAA. Applying return bloom sprays too late may increase the possible risk of premature ripening in early varieties (i.e., Honeycrisp). To read more about practices that promote return bloom check out this article from a previous issue of WI Fruit News.
That’s all for now! Check out the notes from my next chat with Steve Louis in the 7th issue of Wisconsin Fruit News on July 1.
Missed the notes from my last chat with Steve?? Check them out here!
The mention of a product is NOT an endorsement. This article series is NOT intended to provide recommendations; simply to hear from other growers about in-season tasks on their farm. Always follow the instructions on product labels and consult weather stations (ex. NEWA) in your area for current weather forecast and disease prediction models.This article was posted in Notes from the Field and tagged Leslie Holland, Notes from the Field, Steve Louis.