Central California - March 25, 2013
This report covers conditions and observations made between Saturday, March 16 and Sunday, March 24, 2013. The next report is scheduled for Monday, April 15, 2013. However, in the event of any significant occurrences prior to that date, this site will be updated as soon as possible.
Today’s photos for the central region present the developing nuts of the Nonpareil, Carmel and Monterey in the Salida area of Stanislaus County.
Bright sunny skies dominated the weather during the period, interrupted briefly by scattered showers on Tuesday, the 19th and Wednesday, the 20th. Morning low temperatures were reported predominately in the 40’s with coldest readings reported on the morning of Saturday, the 23rd and Sunday, the 24th as temperatures dipped into the mid 30’s. Daily maximum temperatures exhibited a general cooling trend during the period, with readings decreasing from their highest levels in the mid and upper 70’s at the start of the period, to the low to mid 60’s.
The threat of widespread rain went largely unfulfilled as a weakening storm system passed through the region Tuesday and Wednesday, the 19th and 20th. Rainfall totals from the storm ranged from a few hundredths to 0.16 inch. Brisk winds followed the storm, with speeds ranging from 15 to 25 mph, dropping dew points and increasing the risk of frost during the final days of the period. Fortunately, minimum temperatures remained above damaging levels and no frost was reported.
Observers are reporting that nuts around the region are developing well under the influence of the generally beneficial weather conditions experienced over the past week. As may be seen in the photos accompanying this report, nuts of all varieties are well into the differentiation process, with three to four sizes visible; the largest of these are breaking free from their jackets while the smallest are being shed from the trees.
The lack of significant rain has resulted in very low disease pressure this year. While growers have uniformly made a single fungicide treatment, they have been able to forego additional applications and the trees and developing crop are virtually free of fungal diseases. While the winds in the period’s closing days have helped to scrub dried jackets and spent petals from the trees, many remain to fall in the coming days. The dried jackets in particular can be a starting point for fungal infections should they remain in the trees and rainfall return to the region. Observers have noted a significant number of Carmel plantings exhibiting symptoms of Non-Infectious Bud Failure. Affected trees have particularly low crop levels and delayed leaf-out, leaving them to stand out starkly in the orchard.
Orchard activities conducted during the period include irrigation, weed control and foliar nutrient applications during the calmest days. Many also applied liquid fertilizer materials with their irrigation. Beekeepers have been very active removing hives from the orchards, though many remain as the period concluded.
Current weather at the National Weather Service
Photos: Mel Machado, 3/25/13
Click an image to enlarge it