IFTA tours Washington
A tower sprayer at the orchard of Craig and Mike O'Brien in Prosser, Washington.
More than 300 people attended the International Fruit Tree Association’s annual conference and tour in Pasco, Washington, in early March.
Highlights of the tour included:
—An apple rootstock trial conducted by the Washington Tree Fruit Research Commission at Wapato. Research horticulturist Tom Auvil reported that some Geneva rootstocks—G.41, G.214, G.935, and G.890—show tolerance to replant disease as well as fireblight resistance and perform well in both fumigated and nonfumigated replant sites.
—Hanrahan Orchards at Zillah, where owner Mark Hanrahan is growing cherries on the UFO (upright fruiting offshoots) system and testing mechanical thinning in the dormant season, using a handheld device.
—Allan Brothers at Grandview, where Dave Allan and his son Travis are growing Jazz apples on a seven-wire fruiting wall with 4 feet between trees and 8-1/2 feet between rows. The rows are planted 30 degrees from a north-south orientation to protect the fruit from sunburn.
—C & M Orchards at Prosser where brothers Craig and Mike O’Brien grow apples on a superspindle with trees planted 2 feet apart and 10 feet between rows.
—Oasis Farms, a diversified farm at Prosser, where owner Brenton Roy grows stone fruits, apples, hops, blueberries, and grapes.