This report covers the conditions and activities observed from February 8, 2021 to February 11, 2020. Written updates will be posted regularly on Fridays throughout bloom and will have a more regionalized focus. Additional updates will be posted as needed.
The first flowers are beginning to open across California as trees wake from their winter dormancy. Sonora and a few other select early bloomers are the only varieties with any measurable bloom at the moment. Cooler weather this week has slowed progression down and given growers a little extra time to get bees placed if they have not already done so.
“We are starting to see a few flowers open consistently in tops of the Aldrich variety with Nonpareil and other soft-shell varieties not far behind. Cooler weather the last few days has slowed the bloom down. Next week is when it will all get going,” said Ballico area grower Rodney Voumard.
Nonpareil, Monterey, and California type pollinizers have just over 10% of their buds still dormant, with more petal tissue emerging from swollen green buds every day. Later blooming hard-shell Butte and Padre are breaking dormancy but are likely still a week away from having any flowers opening. The Sacramento Valley in the northern part of the state is a day or two more advanced than both the northern and southern parts of the San Joaquin Valley to the south.
The bee supply appears to be adequate for 2021, though the weather the last couple of weeks has slowed down placement of hives. Most growers should have their hives in orchards by the end of next week. Growers are preparing to apply fungicides if disease pressure rises. Most growers are taking a wait and see approach to applying fungicides in order to keep cost down.
Weed control measures are being taken and growers are starting to monitor overnight low temperatures to stay ahead of any potential freezing events. Orchard removal continues throughout the state as older less productive orchards continue to be removed. Planting of new orchards continues as weather permits.
By: Brian Noeller
Photos by: Mel Machado, Ben Goudie, Christine Ivory, Ernie Reichmuth, Matthew Willson