March 21, 2016

This report covers conditions and observations made between Monday, March 7 and Sunday, March 20, 2016. The next scheduled report will be posted on Monday, April 4, 2016. 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 central region provide a view of a herbicide application and the developing nuts of the Nonpareil, both in the Modesto area of Stanislaus County, while our final image provides a down-the-row view of the Independence variety north of Ripon in San Joaquin County.

Daily maximum temperatures have been on an upward trend during the final weeks of the winter season. Readings, which were widely reported in the low to mid 50’s as the period began, steadily climbed into the mid and upper 70’s, pausing briefly as a storm system passed over the state between the 11th and 14th of the month. Total rainfall for the period, received at mid-month and in the first day of the period reached as much as 2.75 inches. Morning minimum temperatures followed a more stable pattern, with readings on most mornings reported in the 40’s, with a few brief excursions into the lower 50’s and upper 30’s. The stormiest days of the period also brought brisk winds to the region with speeds in excess of 20 mph reported. While this did provide some degree of concern, trees losses were minimal.

The comparatively warm temperatures the region has experienced have provided for strong growth rates in the northern San Joaquin Valley. Nuts of all varieties are developing aggressively and have nearly all shed their jackets to the ground. The brisk winds that accompanied the recent storms have helped to scrub dried jackets from the trees, reducing the opportunity for fungal infection that was increased by the rain. While the winds have helped to clean the trees of unpollinated flowers, growers have noted that the winds also brought a number of viable nuts to the ground, as well.

Growers spent much of the period working to support the developing crop. Fungicide and fertilizer applications were going on in all areas of the region. While there has yet to be a serious threat of frost, growers remain vigilant and have been mowing excessive vegetation in order to maintain safe morning temperature levels within the orchards. Growers and Pest Control Advisors are monitoring orchards for signs of Oblique Banded Leaf Rollers and Leaf-Footed Plant Bugs, insect pests that can cause significant losses through their feeding on the developing nuts. While the threat of Leaf Roller damage will diminish in the weeks ahead, the threat of damage caused by Leaf-Footed Plant Bugs will continue until the almond’s shells harden.

Throughout the region, crews could be found installing irrigation systems in newly planted orchards, while beekeepers continue the task of removing their hives from the orchards.

By Mel Machado

Current weather at the National Weather Service
Jereme Fromm
KC Stone
Mel Machado

Click an image to enlarge it.