Saturday, May 19, 2007

It's Been a Busy Spring!

We have been really busy this spring at Royal Oak Farm. We planted about 1,000 new trees, including Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, early Auvil Fuji and Crispin. Our plan is to gradually remove our existing M7 rootstock trees that are now over 15 years old and replace them with B9, M9 and M26 root stocks. We anticipate completing this task in about 2010 or 2012. We began replacing trees in the spring of 2004 with the more dwarfing root stocks to increase row density and yield. The smaller trees are much better suited to a U-Pick operation such as ours and to the new tall spindle planting system we have now adapted. Trees planted over the past three years using the vertical axe system are being converted to the tall spindle this summer. There are many advantages of the tall spindle system, but one of the major advantages is minimal pruning. To review a more in depth discussion of the tall spindle system I will refer you to the New York Fruit Quarterly Summer 2006 issue that provides a very detailed overview of the system.

We have also added about 3,000 new blackberry and raspberry plants to our already existing 5,000 or so plants. That will give us around 5 acres or so of raspberries and 1 acre of blackberries. We will also be opening up our new 40 acres for pumpkin planting this year and will be adding giant pumpkins in 2008.

I set our pest management traps around the April 15 and have now set our biofix on codling moth at May 10. Trap counts this week hit our threshold of 5 trapped moths just as we were entering our 50 - 100 DD accumulations for Rimon. Tonight we will apply our first Rimon application for codling moth at 95 DD after biofix.

The new plum curculio traps I tried this spring have worked very well and I have been trapping PC for the past 2 weeks. Ovipositing was discovered on May 14 at 335 DD from March 1. We are able to apply our Imidan for PC at the same time as the Rimon for CM and Flint for sooty blotch and scab. It's the first time in several years that we have been able to do all three of these applications at one time.

As things progress this spring with the orchard, we are also building our new 5,000 sq. ft. pavilion in our Entertainment area. It is now framed and the trusses should go up Monday or Tuesday. Never a dull moment! Until next time.....