Featured Orcharding Resources
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
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.
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
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
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.
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
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
By C. J. Walke This past winter was one of the coldest and longest winters we’ve experienced in Maine in recent years, and that brought up questions about the cold hardiness of our fruit trees and the potential for winter injury to them. Trees can be damaged by prolonged exposure to extreme cold, as well
Scab on an apple. Photo by C.J. Walke. Scab lesions on apple leaves. Photo by C.J. Walke. By C. J. Walke For organic apple growers in the Northeast, one of the major disease challenges is managing apple scab in orchard trees. Apple scab, caused by the fungus Venturia inaequalis, can severely affect unsprayed or unmanaged
Gummosis on an ornamental cherry. Photo by Roger Griffith, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cherry_wood By C. J. Walke Most Maine orchards typically grow apples and pears – hardy, long-lived pome fruit that withstand cold Northern winters and the tests of time. However, stone fruits of the genus Prunus (peaches, plums, cherries, nectarines, apricots) are a pleasant addition to the
Fire blight in apple. Photo by Sebastian Stabinger, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Apple_tree_with_fire_blight.jpg By C.J. Walke The Debate Since the inception of the National Organic Program (NOP) in 2002, the antibiotics tetracycline and streptomycin have been approved for use in apple and pear production to combat fire blight (Erwinia amylovora), a bacterial disease that affects the pome family.
Toki Oshima illustration. By C. J. Walke The 2012 orchard season ran the spectrum of crop yields across the state, with some orchards experiencing total crop loss due to freezing temperatures at the end of April, while others had a typical year. In the MOFGA orchards, three consecutive nights between 26 and 29 F during