Northern California - June 3, 2013
This report covers conditions and observations made between Monday, April 29 and Sunday, June 2, 2013. The next report is scheduled for Monday, July 1, 2013. However, in the event of any significant occurrences prior to that date, this site will be updated as soon as possible.
This report’s photos for the northern region present the crop set of the Nonpareil and Fritz in the Arbuckle area of Colusa County, followed by an orchard under irrigation in the Chico area of Butte County.
Mild temperatures dominated the weather in the Sacramento Valley during May, but were accompanied by brisk winds that hindered some orchard activities and offset any water savings provided by the cooler conditions. Maximum temperatures peaked early in the period and at mid-month when readings reached into the upper 80’s and lower 90’s. However, highest temperatures were reported in the periods closing days when readings rose above 100 degrees in the warmest locations. Meanwhile, coolest days during the period reached only into the upper 60’s and lower 70’s under the influence of two cut-off low pressure systems that spread scattered showers across the region dropping from a few hundredths to as much as 0.2 inch of rain. Morning minimum readings were a bit more stable during the month, ranging predominately between the upper 40’s and lower 60’s.
Winds continued to play a dominant role in the region’s weather with speeds reaching into the teens and twenties on many days, even during the warmer days of the month. In addition to increasing water needs, the winds also interrupted some orchard operations that require calmer conditions.
Irrigation played a dominant role in the grower’s activities during May as they worked to support the developing crop. Observers have noted that nuts of all but the latest varieties are now fully solidified and have reached their maximum weight. While the drying winds reduced the threat of fungal infection, growers were forced to deal with increased water consumption, drawing on the already tight water supplies needed to get them through the growing season. Observers also noted some degree of branch breakage in the more heavily laden orchards as a result of the winds.
Leaf-Footed Plant Bug, LFPB made its presence known in the Sacramento Valley, though not to the same extent as in the San Joaquin Valley. Growers reported infestations in the more attractive varieties such as Fritz, Aldrich and Sonora and treated as needed. However, infestations of web-spinning mites, which had flared in spite of the occasional and admittedly spotty rainfall, drew a greater amount of attention. Accordingly, applications of preventative miticides targeted at problem species were completed as growers worked to thwart the spread of damaging populations.
Information gathered using new protocols for nitrogen management, coupled with close observations of the orchards assisted growers in fine tuning nitrogen applications needed to carry the crop to harvest. Growers with low volume irrigation systems are able to add fertilizer required materials to their irrigations, saving passes through the orchards with machinery while also employing more efficient materials.
In the coming weeks, growers will continue irrigations even as they work to manage weed growth and plan treatments for Navel Orange Worm and ant control as the orchards approach the hull split season.
Current weather at the National Weather Service
Photos: Dennis Meinberg and Ryan Christy, 6/3/13
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