Northern California - March 17, 2014
This report covers conditions and observations made between Friday, March 7 and Sunday, March 16, 2014. The next report is scheduled for Monday, March 31, 2014. 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 shots of the developing nuts of the Carmel in the Orland area of Glenn County and the Monterey in the Woodland area of Yolo County, followed by a mower clearing the vegetation in an orchard in the Durham area of Butte County.
The Sacramento Valley experienced a wide range of weather conditions during the period, with rain early in the week quickly drying as strong north winds blew through the region. Rainfall totals from a storm that passed through the region on Monday, the 10th ranged from a hew hundredths to as much as 0.75 inch, with greatest amounts reported in the region’s northern areas.
Morning low temperatures were reported predominately in the 40’s, with readings dropping only into the low to mid 50’s on the 9th and 10th as the storm passed through the region. Meanwhile, daily maximum readings ranged from the upper 60’s as the period began, to the upper 70’s and lower 80’s in the period’s closing days. Other than the single day of rain, the period’s most notable weather came in the form of winds that reached in excess of 40 mph after the storm’s passage, causing some trees to fall in older plantings around the region.
Observers are reporting that the warming temperatures have provided good support for the developing crop, helping to push the nuts through their protective jackets. As in the San Joaquin Valley, nuts of all varieties are well into the natural differentiation process, where they segregate into various sizes, depending on their viability, with the smaller sizes being shed from the trees. Observers are reporting that the nuts of the Sonora are particularly well developed for this point in time, owing to their early bloom timing and the good growing conditions.
Well timed treatments for fungal diseases, combined with the drying winds have translated into very low evidence of disease in the region’s orchards. While definitely a nuisance, one benefit of the winds is that they scrub the split jackets from the trees, removing a potential source of fungal infection and thereby reducing the incidence of infection on the leaves and nuts. The winds have also helped to dry the orchard soils, allowing growers to send machinery into the fields to complete work needed for the period. Growers are sending fertilizer spreaders through the orchards as they work to support their crop and tractors can be found pulling mowers through the orchards to reduce the vegetation that has grown tall under the influence of the warm temperatures. Controlling the vegetation growing in the orchard “middles” is an important task at this time of year as a clean, smooth orchard floor is capable of absorbing heat during the day and radiating it back out during the night, helping to maintain temperatures above damaging levels during frost events. Weed control is a particularly important task this year, given the drought conditions. Growers normally allow native plants to grow in the “middles” to hold down dust levels and serve as a nursery site for beneficial insects, mowing occasionally to reduce excessive growth. However, this year’s drought has growers evaluating all possible points of water consumption, leading some to consider eliminating weed growth entirely.
Current weather at the National Weather Service
Photos: Dennis Meinberg and Ryan Christy, 3/17/14
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