How We Grow

2020 July/Aug How We Grow

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A L M O N D O R C H A R D 2 0 2 5 G O A L S WATER USE 5 PEST MANAGEMENT as "mild-to-moderate stress causes the hulls to split quicker, meaning the nuts spend less time in the process of splitting, during which they are particularly susceptible to infection." "Appropriate water stress tends to make the process of hull split shorter. Instead of taking a month to get from 10% to 100% hull split, with RDI the process will take two to three weeks. The window of sensitivity is smaller, giving hull rot less time to occur," Shackel said. Researchers who have experimented with RDI's impact on trees during harvest have noticed that when the trees are shaken, less trunk damage occurs if the trees are under mild-to-moderate water stress. Directly following harvest, however, it's important that growers test their irrigation systems to ensure they're working properly. Waiting to test your systems and apply water – resulting in over stressing your trees – can be detrimental to the trees' health, causing premature defoliation and negatively impacting next year's yield. 3 "Irrigation systems are like a car – you need to regularly check the filters and flush out the pipes once in a while," said Saa. "There's a reason you do maintenance instead of repairs – it's always preferred and more cost friendly." 4 Reference forward-looking research Saa said ABC is continuously funding a wide range of research to aid in the eradication of hull rot and grow the industry's knowledge in how strategic RDI impacts not only these pathogens but other production factors. ABC's research portfolio includes projects in: f year-round irrigation practices and water use efficiency, f trees' water demand, f the biology of hull rot and how to better control this fungi using fungicides, f the impact of growers' water and nitrogen applications on hull rot, and f pressure chamber usage to control hull rot and prime trees for harvest. For more information on irrigation management and how to perform proper RDI, visit, where you'll find the complete Almond Irrigation Improvement Continuum as well as ABC's one-pager "Irrigation Scheduling Using Evapotranspiration (ET)," which provides information on how to understand the changing water demand of your trees and how much to stress your trees. Growers with questions about irrigation management are encouraged to email Tom Devol, ABC's senior manager of Field Outreach and Education, at Growers! Routinely use a pressure chamber to measure tree stress. Shackel (left) said growers need to be aware of their trees' water levels year round. Continued from page 4 Cool 'Spring Break' May Help Bees Stay Healthy New research supported by the Almond Board of California (ABC) and Project Apis m. is pointing the way to a powerful new potential method for promoting honey bee health: give bees a "spring break" that allows them to "chill" after their busiest season. Brandon Hopkins, Ph.D., an entomologist at Washington State University, is leading this effort to demonstrate how placing bees in cold storage for about three weeks after the busy almond pollination season can help bees fight off their worst enemy – parasitic Varroa mites. "I'm excited about the potential use of indoor, cold storage at times other than winter," Hopkins said. "This is a management technique that could really make an impact in the short term." Temperature control key to surviving winter Hopkins' research revolves around the idea of storing bees indoors – something normally reserved for winter – at certain times throughout the year. While many beekeepers keep their bees outside year- round, the bee industry has long known that indoor storage can help bee colonies survive harsh winters. Honey bees "cluster" for 60 to 70 days during the coldest part of winter, gathering tightly inside hives to keep warm. While not entirely dormant, their activity is greatly reduced. In many areas across North America, bees keep themselves warm enough without external help, but during extreme winters their efforts may not 3 Learn how water stress can impact almond trees' growth and yield in this peer-reviewed published paper from Shackel and former UC farm advisor David Doll: "Drought Management for California Almonds: Impacts of Stress on Almond Growth and Yield."

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