Monday, April 09, 2007

What Happened to the Weather?

This has been a very frustrating spring. I can't remember when its been this cold in April before. I understand some regions are setting record lows and that does not bode well for fruit growers or any other grower for that matter. On-line friends from NAFEX (North American Fruit Explorers) are reporting damage in almost every state in the midwest as well as the south. Here at Royal Oak Farm Orchard we have been pretty blessed. Our recorded low over the past 2 weeks has been 23.9 degrees, but was only sustained for about 2 hours. With our Watch Dog Wireless Crop Monitor we are able to monitor the temperatures and leaf wetness on a 24/7 basis with the data being transmitted to our weather computer every 10 minutes. Even with the temps being below the freezing level at night, we still picked up an apple scab infection period on March 24/25 when the highs hit near 80 right after a rain. We still have to get our Champ (copper) spray on both the peach trees (for peach leaf curl) and the apple trees (for scab and blight) but due the he cold temps at night, have been unable to spray. Copper is a good insulator for a frost, which means you can spray copper at temperatures that hover around 32, but not if they drop below 30, which ours have for over a week now. This week it looks like the cold weather is going to leave us with lows predicted in the high 30's. In 2006 our copper spray went on April 10. Looks like we will hit the exact same date in 2007 So we are pretty much on schedule with our spray program. Our Ginger Gold and Sansa apple trees were at 1/4" green before the cold weather hit and the peach trees were at bud swell which is when the copper should go on. But the cold temps slowed the trees down and we will be right on schedule if we get the copper on this week.
I finally have our 2007 Spray Program posted! In it's in PDF format and can be downloaded directly from the link. I have also added the Home Orchard Spray Schedule from MU EXTENSION, UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI-COLUMBIA as well as information on placing pheremone traps for Integrated Pest Management from Rick Weinzierl at University of Illinois. As with any other posting, please feel free to contact me regarding any information or questions you may have.

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