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Get ready!

July 14, 2021

By John Wood, Regional Manager, CA South Central Valley

With just a few short weeks until harvest is upon us, taking the time to do orchard floor prep now can save time, effort and money when shaking begins.

It’s absolutely critical you are ready when nuts ripen and fall to the ground. Fortunately, there are two major ways that you can achieve those goals.

First, make sure that ants are not waiting to devour the nuts and your profits. For such small pests, ants can do some significant damage to nut crops, literally hollowing out nut meat leaving you with just shells. There are few things worse than making sure that you have yielded a healthy nut crop only for them to be ruined right at the finish line.

Take a good, hard look at your orchard floors. If you see ant mounds or ants following your irrigation lines, you need to hit hard with an application of FireFighter® Ant Bait. Firefighter is a vital tool in the effective control of both fire and harvester ants. With a lightweight, corn grit texture, Firefighter is highly palatable and easy for ants to carry back into the colonies, ensuring effective colony management during pre-harvest.

Firefighter is your quickest option for proven ant control because it begins to kill ants within 24 hours of ingestion with complete control of ant populations (including the queen) within 3-14 days. Even better, the control stays effective for up to two months, ensuring that you don’t need to make multiple applications while you are busy harvesting. One shot of Firefighter straight from the container in either a mound or broadcast treatment may be enough right now to alleviate your concerns for the rest of the season.

One of the main advantages of Firefighter at this stage in the season is that its use won’t lock you out of your orchard. REI is only 4 hours with a 0-day PHI. No need to lose working hours when you apply Firefighter.

Right now, you may even be eligible for a new spreader or qualifying discount on your next purchase of Firefighter. Reach out to your local Certis Biologicals sales representative for details.

Once you have ant populations under control, you’ll want to make sure to make your floors nice and tidy for ease during harvest.  Clean orchard floors during harvest can mean fewer headaches as you sweep and fewer pests compromising your nuts as they await collection.

Homeplate® is Certis Biologicals’ burndown herbicide and it’s my recommendation for curing all your pre-harvest orchard floor weed control issues. As a non-selective herbicide, Homeplate uses a blend of active ingredients including caprylic acid and capric acid to completely shut down photosynthesis.

Homeplate is rainfast within three hours and achieves total elimination within 12 hours to 72 hours depending upon environmental conditions. Its non-systemic formulation has proven efficacy against broadleaf weeds and grasses, including black nightshade, Canada thistle, catchweed bedstraw, chickweed, common lamb’s quarter, foxtail, shepherd’s purse and wild Chamomile.

Just like Firefighter, Homeplate won’t threaten your pre-harvest schedule either with its REI of 24-hours and zero-day PHI. Even more benefit, Homeplate is OMRI-listed® and NOP-Compliant, so you can use it whether you grow organic or conventional tree nut crops.

At Certis Biologicals, we know that you are staring harvest in the eyes right now. We also know that your harvest is looking very bountiful again this year, meaning it’s more important than ever to keep the nuts and trees safe until the very end. We are always here for you! If we can help you identify a problem or find the best biological solution for one, please reach out to us at

This series is part of a partnership with Tree Nut Farm Press. You can read the original here.

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