Unusual weather brought thunderstorms and unseasonal rainfall to multiple areas of California last week. Nearly an inch and a half of rain resulted in substantial flooding in Death Valley. Some areas of Fresno County reported as much as half an inch of rain, while some spots in Kern County recorded more than one inch. Austin Hubbell, Ranch Manager for Marthedal Enterprises, Inc., said they will be paying close attention to orchards and vineyards following the rainfall.
“On one hand we certainly cannot complain about the rain settling the dust, helping to maybe mitigate some late season mite challenges is always welcome. On the other side of that coin, there are people who have almonds on the ground right now, who have begun shaking. And there are people who have plenty of almonds still on the tree,” Hubbell explained. “That being said, we hope that those almonds will dry readily and quickly over the next couple of days and not have any challenges with any fungal issues.”
The monsoonal storm that came through California was a rare event, as the state seldom gets any rainfall in the month of August. Hubbell said that lingering humidity will be a critical factor in determining what kind of risk there may be for potential rot issues or degradation of fruit quality in their vineyards.
“For most growers, at this point in the season, mildew is no longer a concern, but rather now our focus is going to be looking at bunch rot, whether it be botrytis or sour rot beginning,” Hubbell noted. “I think it’s just one of those situations where it’s going to be field-specific. It’s going to be variety specific, and even potentially grower specific.”
While there may be some potential challenges that arise from the unseasonal rainfall, Hubbell said it likely won’t be a detriment to their crops. “We certainly welcome the rain if for no other reason than to settle the dust and get some of the dust and dirt off of the leaves of these plants and get that photosynthetic activity up to finish the crop out,” Hubbell noted.