Northern California - February 7, 2013
This report covers observations and conditions just prior to the start of the 2013 bloom. We anticipate posting the first of the daily Bloom Reports late in the week of February 10, 2013.
This report’s photos for the northern region present a shot of a grower completing a dormant season disease control treatment and a close up of the dormant buds of the Nonpareil, both in the Williams area of Colusa County, followed by a down-the-row shot showing the hives that have been placed within an orchard near the Butte County community of Durham.
Spirited storm systems passed through the state during the last half of November and much of December dropping a significant amount of rainfall upon the Sacramento Valley. Wettest locations around the region have reported receiving from 10 to 12 inches of rain during the period. However, rainfall has been scarce for much of 2013, with most areas reporting less than one inch since the first of January. Nevertheless, the heavy rainfall experienced earlier in the period has left most reporting stations at or above 100% of the seasonal normal as this report was being prepared. More importantly, snow pack levels in the Sierra Nevada watershed are reported at below seasonal norms, indicating potential difficulties in the coming irrigation season, should dry weather continue for the remainder of the season.
Following the wettest weeks of the period, cold air flowed into the region, dropping morning temperatures well into the 20’s during the latter half of December and first half of January. This extended period of very cold temperatures reduced the pace of bud development and delayed the start of the 2103 by several days in spite of the more mild conditions that have prevailed over the past few weeks.
While growers would have enjoyed receiving additional rainfall over the past few weeks, they have also taken advantage of the period of dry weather to complete mummy removal and fertilizer and soil amendment applications as well as pruning, shredding and herbicide treatments. Some have also opted to make dormant season fungicide treatments, which must be completed well before the dormant buds begin to grow in order to prevent damage to the developing tissue.
Growers are also working to complete planting of new orchards and replacement trees within existing orchards while the trees are still dormant. Some are considering irrigation requirements in light of the relatively dry soil moisture levels observed in the orchards.
Beekeepers have been moving hives into the region for several weeks, staging them in yards around the region to prepare them for the bloom. As may be seen in the photo accompanying this report, hives are now being delivered to the orchards.
Current weather at the National Weather Service
Photos: Dennis Meinberg and Ryan Christy, 2/7/13
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