February Prune Orchard Management Considerations

Clarissa Reyes, North Sacramento Valley Orchard System Staff Research Associate

Bees: Order bees, usually a 1 hive/acre stocking rate. Employ best management practices for maintaining hive health. Before making fungicide application, check for bees nearby using the ‘Bee Check’ tool on the BeeWhereCalifornia app or website. For more information, contact your county’s ag commissioner’s office.

  • Irrigation Maintenance: The Sac Valley has a new mobile irrigation lab! Check your system’s distribution uniformity and perform maintenance prior to possible heat at bloom, as well as the coming irrigation season. Find more info about applying for a free system evaluation by visiting the links: if you farm in Tehama, Butte, Glenn and/or Shasta Counties or if you farm in Yolo, Sutter, Colusa, or Yuba.
  • Calibration: Calibrate your spray equipment prior to applying bloom disease sprays: replace nozzles, check spray filters and other worn parts.
  • San Jose Scale (SJS): Delayed dormant sprays are preferred timing for treatment, but if they were not applied or were unsuccessful, monitor with pheromone traps beginning in mid- to late February.
  • Chill: To date, chilling is roughly equal to or slightly better than the last six years at Durham and Verona CIMIS stations. Check your winter chill accumulation with this calculator.
  • Protect new trees: For both replants and new orchard plantings, protect trees from sunburn and herbicides with white interior latex paint diluted 2:1 water to paint, plus tree wraps. If tree wraps are used without painting trees, the boxes should be flattened (from the top, not) to avoid “wrapper burn”. Research in almond shows that trunk cartons can provide protection from herbicide injury for young trees. However, paint alone does NOT provide protection from herbicide.


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