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.
Taken in the Durham area of Butte County, the first of this report’s photos for the northern region show the developing nuts of the Nonpareil and an orchard receiving a fertilizer application. Our final image shows an aerial fungicide application west of Maxwell in Colusa County.
Wet conditions dominated much of the final weeks of winter in the Sacramento Valley. Storms swept across the region in the period’s first week, then returned on the final day, dropping from 1.5 to as much as 4.0 inches of rain in the wettest locations. Daily temperatures were heavily influenced by the storms. Maximum readings were widely reported in the mid 50’s to lower 60’s during the period’s wetter, first week, then rose steadily into the upper 70’s under clearer skies during the final week of winter. Morning lows ranged predominately between the mid 40’s and lower 50’s, with readings dipping briefly into the upper 30’s on the morning of March 8th. Winds provided a bit of concern for growers during the period, with speeds approaching 20 mph during the mid-month storms and as high as 30 mph during the stormy final day of the period.
While the Sacramento Valley has experienced stormier conditions than the San Joaquin, observers are reporting that nevertheless, the crop in the northern region is progressing rapidly. Nuts are growing aggressively under the influence of the warmer temperatures. Meanwhile, unpollinated flowers have been dropping from the trees, along with dried jackets as the growing nuts increase in size.
Growers have ensured that their orchards were adequately protected against fungal infection, completing fungicide applications prior to the storms arrival or as soon as skies cleared. Fortunately, cold temperatures have not been a threat this year, which has precluded the need for frost protection irrigations. This has allowed most growers to complete applications using ground sprayers, while others have resorted to aerial applications in the interest of time or where the rain has made the use of machinery impossible. Where possible, mowers have also been sent into the orchards to reduce weed growth and growers have been working to complete fertilizer applications needed to support the developing crop.
By Mel Machado