This report covers observations and conditions just prior to the start of the 2016 bloom. We anticipate posting the first of the daily Bloom Reports during the week of February 7, 2016.
Taken in Western San Joaquin County, the photos for today’s report show the developing buds in an early-blooming Sonora orchard, the mowing of the orchard row and a grower applying nutrients to the tree rows before an upcoming storm.
Weather in the Northern San Joaquin Valley has been significantly colder and wetter than the last few years. Heading into bloom, the amount of rainfall received to date has provided orchards with a wet soil profile, and growers with access to well water have not needed to depend on their groundwater as they have in years past. Temperatures in December and January rarely exceeded the mid-60’s and nighttime lows were consistently in the 30’s to low 40’s. Growers are satisfied that they’ve received adequate chilling hours, something they didn’t enjoy last year.
Green tissue is starting to break through scales in most of the Sonora and Neplus varieties with some green tips beginning to show in some early Nonpareil orchards. Pink tips are starting to emerge on the outside rows of Sonora blocks in warmer areas. Many growers are reporting that they are happy with their bud set.
Growers have been busy completing winter activities such as pruning and shredding. Conditions have been significantly better for winter sanitation this year as most growers were able to get through their orchards in between storms. Growers have worked to apply their systemic herbicides and pre-emergent sprays before hives are placed in their orchards. New orchards have been planted when weather has allowed and will continue with no rain in the forecast over the next week.
Bees are beginning to be moved out of their staging areas and into orchards. Getting into orchards has been a tricky task over the past week, as the rains have made fields inaccessible at times in areas with heavy soil. Growers are now waiting to see how the weather over the next several weeks will affect the outcome of bloom.