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Watch for worms, nematodes, earwigs and disease

March 20, 2019

By John Wood, Certis Biologicals Regional Manager

It is the second day of a new season and the weather is warming up quickly. This means spring chores should be fully underway. Don’t let this week’s dryness fool you, though. Pest pressures caused by the abundance of late winter moisture are with us in full force.

In the last issue, I mentioned the blossom blast that is occurring in almond trees throughout the valley. It is not abating. Protect your trees with a combination of Double Nickel 55® or Double Nickel® LC Biofungicide and Cueva® Flowable Liquid Copper Fungicide. Both are NOP-approved, OMRI-listed and can be used on organic or conventionally grown trees.

There is potential for worm damage to new shoot growth on almond trees that are bearing nutlets and terminal shoots. If inclement weather delayed your dormant sprays or you’ve not done it at all, you can still control worms with a Bt spray as needed at fruit set. This is actually a time when the Bts can really show their value. You get effective Lepidoptera control while using a material that won’t harm bees. Deliver® Biological Insecticide, a highly effective Bt from Certis Biologicals, is based on the Bt subspecies kurstaki and has a higher concentration of the insecticidal Cry1Ac delta-endotoxin than any other Bt product. It has a 4-hour REI, is residue-exempt, OMRI-listed and NOP-approved. You can use it on organic, as well as on conventional acres.

Tree roots are flushing with new growth now. The active rhizosphere at the root tips is biologically active and full of exudates that attract nematodes. Now, not later, is the time to apply MeloCon® WG Biological Nematicide. You will get the best return on investment by making your MeloCon applications to the soil now. It also has a 4-hour REI and is residue-exempt.

Driving around the state I’ve observed hundreds of acres of young plantings of almonds and other tree fruit with trunk protectors. All new plantings are vulnerable to pests, regardless of the type of crop. Watch out for earwigs inside the trunk protectors. These nocturnal feeders will damage young trees. They climb the trunk and feed on young shoots and new growth. They can kill a small tree or their feeding damage can cause undesirable growth. To control earwigs, I recommend Seduce™ Insect Bait to be applied in the cartons and wraps of young trees. The easy to apply granules can be effective for up to four weeks and lucky for us this year, it works well when soil is moist. Its REI is 4-hours and it is residue-exempt.

Watch for disease in trees. If you find it, remember my one-two punch recommendation: treat disease with a systemic fungicide and Double Nickel®. It is a broad-spectrum preventive and curative biopesticide that controls disease by using five different modes of action. With multiple modes of action, it is ideal to use for managing resistance. Like Deliver®, MeloCon® and Seduce™, Double Nickel® also has only a 4-hour REI.

Best wishes for a profitable spring. Until next time.

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

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