Almond Matters: Bloom Weather Brings Issues

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In today’s Almond Matters, brought to you by Valent USA Corporation, bloom weather has caused some problems around the state. Rains have hit orchards hard and we may not know to what extent until later in the season.

The weather has not cooperated entirely with almond bloom this season. “We started out with bloom down in the south valley and the weather was good, but then it started raining right around a quarter of the way through bloom,” Field Market Development Specialist Todd Burkdoll said. “It was full blown rain for about four or five days off-and-on. It was wet and cold conditions so the bees weren’t flying. Then you have the amplification of problems with the fungicides and disease potential with monilinia and blossom blight.”

How much damage the weather caused is unknown and growers may not see the full impact until later in the season. “You’re probably not going to be able to really evaluate fruit set until another three or four weeks and even then you’re going to have some drop come about April or May,” Burkdoll said.

Fungus issues are a bigger concern this year for growers and Burkdoll said the amount of rain the state saw before bloom made it hard for growers to take precautions. “The biggest problem with fungicides this year was that the fields were already wet. We had a really wet January and February and so consequently, guys couldn’t get in with ground rakes,” he said. “We knew the rain was coming and it was going to be about five or six days of off-and-on rain and aerial applications were going to be the way to get stuff out. But then there is not enough planes and helicopters to fly all of those acres…Some guys are going to have to come back in and do some catch up.”

The weather also put a strain on weed management. Again, some growers were unable to get herbicide applications out before the rain. “If you didn’t get in early and get your pre-emergent herbicides down, now you are going to have to deal with not only the weeds that are going to come up, but also the weeds that are already up,” Burkdoll said.