Category: Orcharding

Who’s Stealing My Fruit

By C.J. Walke This season was the first in my 10 years of working with fruit tree growers that I heard numerous reports of apples and peaches vanishing from trees in just a few days or even overnight. In early August, emails starting popping up in my inbox with subject lines reading “Vanishing apples” and

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Fall Reminders

By C.J. Walke It is now almost fall in the orchard and time to think about harvest, cleanup (orchard sanitation) and preparations for winter. Managing fungal diseases can challenge organic tree fruit growers all season, but we can decrease overwintering fungal pressures by putting in a little effort now. Apple scab overwinters on infected leaf

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Orchard Materials

Thinking of using grafting wax or compounds on organic fruit trees? Know the NOP rules and, if in doubt, check with your certifier first. English photo By C.J. Walke Over the winter I have been talking with MOFGA Certification Services (MCS) about materials used in organic orchards and fruit tree propagation. As more farmers and

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Two Emerging Fruit Pests

Winter moth adult, male. Photos from gotpests/bugs/winter-moth Winter moth caterpillars. Winter moth adult, female. By C.J. Walke Winter is settling in, and our trees and gardens lay dormant – soon, we hope, to be under a blanket of snow for a little insulation for the soil and for a foot or 2 of higher reach

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Orchard Pest Thresholds

Tachinid flies and their larvae parasitize some orchard pests. English photo By C.J. Walke The term “threshold” is used in Integrated Pest Management (IPM) strategies to describe the level at which pest pressure and crop damage have reached the point where plant health will start to decline and/or crop damage will result in reduced yields.

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Trapping Orchard Pests

Pheromone trap for codling moth. Photo by Slaunger at https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Cydia_pomonella_trap_hanging_in_tree_2012-06.jpg used via Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. A red ball trap made from a store-bought apple, used to trap apple maggot flies. English photo A soda bottle holding cider and molasses traps codling moths. English photo By C.J. Walke In my March-May 2016

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To Spray or Not to Spray

Toki Oshima drawing By C. J. Walke This is often the unasked question that arises when I deliver library presentations or teach hands-on workshops on growing organic tree fruit. I can see the look on people’s faces change when I mention the backpack sprayer, as if a dark storm cloud has shadowed their sunny afternoon.

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GE Apple Update and Fall Disease Management

By C.J. Walke Update: Arctic® Apples In the spring 2014 issue of The MOF&G, I wrote about the genetically engineered, non-browning Arctic® apples, created by Okanagan Specialty Fruits Inc. of Summerland, British Columbia. Arctic apples are engineered to resist enzymatic browning when sliced or bruised, which proponents claim will make apples more appealing to consumers

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Building Health in the Orchard

By C.J. Walke Reactive Remedies My favorite role in my work with MOFGA is helping growers and gardeners troubleshoot insect pest and disease issues in their fruit trees while developing strategies to keep those pests in check to allow fruit to reach harvest. Most often I am approached or contacted once a pest population has

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Phyllosphere

The reproductive conidia of Venturia inaequalis erupting through the cuticle of a crabapple leaf. From the Wikipedia article “Apple Scab,” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_scab. By C. J. Walke As organic farmers and gardeners, we understand the importance of a biologically active soil, where beneficial microbes thrive in the rich organic matter and humus layer, converting mineral nutrients into

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