Author Archives: Katherine Jarvis-Shean

Late Winter to Early Spring is the Most Effective Time for Gopher Management

Late winter to early spring is the time of year that pocket gophers are usually cranking up their Barry White playlist. This reproductive pulse generally results in three to five young per litter, roughly doubling to tripling the population of gophers that feed on almond roots and crown. Reducing gopher populations ahead of this reproductive pulse is the most time-effective way to reduce gopher damage in your orchard. Continue reading

Photos from the Field: Identifying Damage from Deer Mice in Almond Orchards

Deer mice are rarely a problem in orchards in California, but when present they can cause damage to irrigation lines and nuts in almond trees, as we found on a recent farm call. The mice were taking advantage of cracks in the shrink-swell soil to more easily create their burrows, which we may see more of in the future as more orchards with drip irrigation come into bear on these shrink-swell soils. Continue reading

What new research into carbohydrates is teaching us about California orchards

Orchards up and down the Central Valley sit bare and leafless during winter. But just because we can’t see active growth with our eyes, doesn’t mean the trees themselves aren’t active. Recent years of research by the Zwieniecki lab (the Z Lab) at UC Davis, including the Carbohydrate Observatory, have been shedding light on what is happening in orchard trees during their yearly cycles, including during this dormant period. This research has been used to better explain how trees may be counting winter chill and spring heat. Continue reading

Ethephon in a Straggled Leaf-Out, Lean Price Year

Given this spring’s prolonged leaf-out window, it is likely that there will also be a wide window in the timing of hull split and a need for two shakes in some varieties. Ethephon is a commonly used tool for advancing hull split and harvest-readiness in walnuts. Remember that there are two potential timings of ethephon, based on different goals. Continue reading