Central 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.
Taken in Stanislaus County, this report’s photos for the central region present an orchard being mechanically planted west of Salida, followed by the emerging green tip stage of the Sonora and Nonpareil varieties near Newman, on the west side of the county.
Storm systems passing over the northern half of the state during the last half of November and much of December dropped significant amounts of rainfall throughout the central region. Rainfall totals ranged from 4 to 8 inches at the end of December, leaving some locations with as much as 180% of seasonal totals-to-date at that time. However, following the promising start, dry conditions have dominated California’s weather and at this report is being written, all areas of the region have now dropped below 100% of season normal rainfall amounts. Growers are reporting low soil moisture levels in many areas of the region. This can be easily observed as growers prepare new orchards for planting.
Following the relatively warm period that accompanied storms, temperatures during the final days of December and much of January turned quite chilly with morning readings dipping into the mid and upper 20’s on many days. Warmer conditions have prevailed recently as the bloom approaches; however, the cool conditions have apparently delayed the start of the 2013 bloom by several days.
Elevated Navel Orange Worm, NOW, damage levels in the 2012 crop have inspired growers around the region to take advantage of the optimum conditions for mummy nut removal. Shaking mummy nuts that remained after the harvest, then sweeping and mowing them to destroy over-wintering NOW is a critical method of reducing potential infestations in the next crop. This year’s timely rainfall provided good conditions for nut removal and has help growers complete the process.
Orchards are now being prepared for the coming bloom. Applications of fertilizer and sol amendments such as gypsum or lime have been completed as has pruning and shredding in producing orchards. Most growers with younger non-bearing trees have opted to wait to begin pruning/training, wanting to delay making large cuts while the possibility of rain and fog still exists, which can increase the potential for fungal infection.
Beekeepers have been moving hives into the region since the first of the year, staging colonies in open fields around the region. Deliveries to the orchards began within the past two weeks and will continue until the last of the orchards have received their hives.
Current weather at the National Weather Service
Photos: Mel Machado, 2/7/13
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