Friday, July 20, 2007

Honeycrisp 'yellows'

I still get calls about this 'disorder' if you want to call it that. Honeycrisp foliage has this propensity to turn a mottled yellow by mid-July on some trees, and it is endemic to wherever Honeycrisp is grown. Weak trees with a light crop are most likely to exhibit the symptoms. Annual, moderate bearing -- with good fruit thinning every year -- should minimze it. Keep the nutrient status of the trees up to snuff too. I have written about this before way back in 2000, and here is a good picture of what the Honeycrisp 'yellows' looks like. The disorder should not be confused with potato leafhopper injury, which looks similar. But you'll get the 'yellows' with no PLH in sight. Studies have shown that it is likely caused by an inability of the tree to mobilize starch. So, don't worry about it too much if you have it, but it is a sign that you may want to make sure the trees are in good health. Oh, and check out the video. Ciao.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Peach harvest starts

Well, it has been no more than a week since cherry harvest ended -- with Balaton, Regina, and Sweetheart -- than peach harvest has begun. Today, we picked PF-1, pictured on the left, which is the first ripening peach from Paul Friday's Flamin'Fury peaches. PF-1 looks good for an early peach. There were a few split pits, but color was good and the fruit are attractive if not a bit small. I would say maturity is a little uneven so you have to pick carefully. (You can keep track of my 2007 peach harvest date here.) I want to compare this to Earlystar (formerly FA-101) which I may 1st-pick tomorrow or Monday at the latest. You should remember that as peaches ripen, they become far more susceptible to brown rot, particularly with this warm, humid, rainy weather we are having. At least two or three fungicide sprays need to be applied in the two to three weeks prior to harvest. Brown rot fungicide workhorses include Captan, Indar, Orbit, and Elite. The latter three are all SI fungicides, and it would not hurt to rotate with Captan. Pristine is also a very new option and would be good to rotate with either Captan or the SI's too. All-in-all it looks like an excellent peach harvest coming up in Massachusetts. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Back to work

I have just returned from Cape Cod after a few days of R&R to a little rain and fog. Welcome to my blog, an attempt to keep interested tree fruit growers in Massachusetts up-to-date with what is on my mind as I go about my job and what is currently happening at the UMass Cold Spring Orchard in terms of pest management, horticulture, and marketing the fruit we grow. I hope to update daily, and be sure to leave a comment or contribution as you see fit. Thanks.