Any passerby, and every grower, appreciates the panorama of almond trees at full bloom. While most passersby’s may only see the stunning, white petals – growers are well aware that these blossoms directly correlate to the type of yield they will gather at harvest. They know it is simply impossible to set more almonds than there are blossoms at the beginning of the year, which is why early planning during the full bloom period is essential for strong nut set and yields.
In 2016, the season started in a frenzy with a shorter than average full bloom period. The dry weather during this period encouraged some growers to rely on their pink bud spray and skip a true full bloom application of fungicide. The decision to delay disease control applications from pink bud to petal fall, combined with perfect conditions for brown rot, left flower petals unprotected at a crucial growth stage.
“Almonds require a tight maintenance spray schedule because once an almond blossom is infected with a pathogen, the petals will not fall off the plant as they should,” said Dawn Brunmeier, Technical Service Representative, BASF. “They stick around infecting the almond as it develops, which leads to many more disease problems down the road.”
To help ensure their almond yield does not decrease, Brunmeier recommends that growers apply a broad spectrum fungicide, such as Merivon® fungicide from BASF, at full bloom to provide the tree with long-lasting disease control and Plant Health benefits. Without having to fight off diseases, almond trees will have more available energy to maintain a strong nut set and produce more almonds.
Field trials have demonstrated that Merivon fungicide controls key diseases, such as blossom blight, jacket rot, scab, rust, shothole and Alternaria, more effectively than other products on the market. However, growers should plan for more than just disease pressures.
Other pests almond growers are facing in 2017 include the web-spinning spider mite. These miniscule pests can wreak havoc on the tree by sucking essential material from leaf cells. Nealta® miticide helps enable growers to maximize crop quality by protecting almond trees from web-spinning mites such as European red and two-spotted spider.
To protect almond trees from weed pressures in 2017, growers can rely on Prowl® H2O herbicide. If used in the off-season, growers can be assured that weeds will not cause them any significant problems in the spring.
“Early planning is essential to any grower who wants a strong yield during harvest,” said Brunmeier. “By having a plan in place, growers will feel prepared for anything mother nature throws at them.”
To learn more about creating a preventative crop protection plan, contact your local BASF representative or visit www.agro.basf.us/.