With a few days of cold wet weather during May, the almond and walnut trees are finally starting to defoliate. Some younger trees still have a full canopy of green leaves.
According to farmers and processors, 2019 has been “good, but not excellent” in terms of yield and very good regarding quality. This has been a good result in spite of difficult spring 2018 conditions and extreme summer heat.
Most growers have commenced the defoliation sprays, using either urea, zinc sulphate or a combination of the two products. There is some discussion about the value or cost of defoliating young trees. Certainly, bearing trees should be defoliated but the value of defoliating non-bearing trees will be a decision made by each grower.
Post-harvest fertiliser application has been completed – the warm autumn has meant the trees remained active for longer than usual.
Carob Moth and Carpophilus Beetle were reported to suddenly increase during late harvest in all production area, causing serious damage to some almond crops. It will be essential to carry out good orchard hygiene during winter to reduce carry-over of eggs.
With hot dry summer conditions there were minimal leaf diseases seen during autumn.
It is still very worthwhile to apply preventative fungicides before leaf fall or with the leaf drop spray to provide some protection over winter.
If pruning or hedging is carried out during autumn, a spray of a copper based fungicide as soon as possible after hedging will provide protection against bacterial infections entering the limb wounds.
The Australian Almond Board are reporting that Chlorothalonil (Bravo, Chlorothalonil, etc.) will not have registration renewed in the EU from June 2019, so all growers need to check with their buyers or processors before applying any product during the 2019/2020 season.
For any further information on nut production, please feel free to call Peter Reynolds on 0427 566 871 or visit him at the Yenda Prods Griffith store.