In today’s Almond Matters, brought to you by Valent, the winter months serve as a means for growers to set themselves up for success in the coming spring through winter sanitation programs. A proactive approach to orchard sanitation during the dormant period can significantly reduce the amount of pest pressure later in the season.
“It’s an opportunity for us to mitigate any kind of inoculum that may be there whether its insect eggs or overwintering insect larvae,” said Tino Lopez, Valent Field Market Research Representative. “The whole concept of winter sanitation is to reduce the number of population of pests that are there so that when we get into the warm season and we start growing again, we don’t have to fight high buildup of pests.”
Some of the sanitation efforts may include knocking mummy nuts out of the trees and mowing over them, thus eliminating potential overwintering sites for pests like navel orangeworm. Lopez also noted that applying broader spectrum types of insecticides can be effective, with an emphasis on adequate coverage. “It gets very difficult especially on a pest as tough as navel orangeworm. If you’re not covering the nuts and getting good coverage in the sutures and all that, well then navel orangeworm basically has a free pass to get in there simply because they didn’t come in contact with the materials,” said Lopez.
It is still early in the season, leaving ample time for growers to contemplate their plans for winter sanitation. Weather conditions in the coming months will dictate how some sanitation programs will be implemented. Being thorough and proactive with sanitation programs can be immensely beneficial in the long run and prevent the need for reactionary measures in the spring and summer.
“Once we get into the following season, the challenges that we have are many in terms of diseases and insects, and if you start with high levels to begin with, you’re playing catchup and that’s never a good scenario, “ said Lopez. “This is our opportunity to get ahead of that pest; whether they’re insects, whether they’re weeds, whether they’re disease.”
Listen to the report below.