What are compost teas?

  • May 1st, 2010

Compost teas have been promised by some companies to be a wonder-all product, protecting plants from disease, increasing growth, breaking down toxins in the soil, enhancing taste of fruits and vegetables, and more. Though few of the claims are supported by science, there may be something to learn from [...]

  • Good Job

Good Job

  • May 1st, 2010

Apple Blossom Queen Margaret Robinson presented a plaque to WSU Extension Educator Tim Smith when he was named Apple Citizen of the Year 2010.

Tim Smith is Apple Citizen of the Year
Tim Smith, a Washington State University Extension educator for the past 25 years, has been named Apple Citizen of [...]

Micronutrients for juice grapes

  • April 15th, 2010

Though results are preliminary, representing only the first year of work, a research project studying micronutrient utilization by juice grapevines has found that timing and the combination of nutrients can make a difference in plant response.

Washington State University soil scientist Dr. Joan Davenport and her colleagues at WSU’s Irrigated [...]

  • Organic matter matters

Organic matter matters

  • April 15th, 2010

Soils are one of the most complex biological communities. A teaspoon of soil has more than 180 million bacteria, according to USDA’s Hal Collins.

Managing soil organic matter is usually not a priority for most farmers who must worry about yield, pest management, labor, and other things that impact the [...]

  • Nutrition guidelines for grapes

Nutrition guidelines for grapes

  • April 15th, 2010

Dr. Joan Davenport, who has long championed the need for grape nutrition guidelines specific to the Pacific Northwest, is in the process of publishing an Extension bulletin with the new recommendations.

The long- awaited nutritional standards developed specifically for Pacific Northwest juice and wine grapes are in the process of [...]

  • Chemical thinners are inconsistent

Chemical thinners are inconsistent

  • April 1st, 2010

Penn State’s Dr. Jim Schupp says that the inconsistent results with chemical thinners led to researcher interest in mechanical thinners.

After a decade of searching for effective chemical blossom thinners for Pacific Northwest stone fruit growers, researchers are still empty-handed.

The Washington Tree Fruit Research Commission has evaluated chemical thinners for [...]

  • Mechanical thinning works

Mechanical thinning works

  • April 1st, 2010

The mechanical string thinner knocked off 15 percent or more dormant buds in this Santina block. Right: The Darwin string thinner.

Soft fruit growers in the United States are catching on to what seems to have been a well-kept secret in Germany. With three years of data by U.S. researchers [...]

Stretching storage of Honeycrisp

  • February 15th, 2010

As production volumes increase for Honeycrisp apples, the need for a longer marketing window becomes more important. Researchers like Ines Hanrahan are looking for ways to stretch storage of Honeycrisp beyond Christmas.

With consumers and retailers clamoring for the popular variety, growers have responded to the strong demand by planting [...]

Searching for cherry cracking strategies

  • February 15th, 2010

When researching rain-induced cracking of sweet cherries, it’s obvious that rain is a requirement. Two years of research, though yielding little rain-induced cracking, have shown potential for reduced cracking from some materials, as well as a varietal difference in the timing of susceptibility to cracking.

The Washington Tree Fruit Research [...]

  • Vineland seeks self-sufficiency

Vineland seeks self-sufficiency

  • January 1st, 2010

Paul Truscott, business development manager at the Vineland research station in Ontario, Canada.

Research is costly with little chance of a direct, let alone immediate, payoff. Just ask fruit breeders, who can labor for years testing new varieties designed to meet evolving consumer tastes and emerging environmental pressures. But a [...]

  • Strategies for Success

Strategies for Success

  • January 1st, 2010

Jim and Rena Doornink planted this block of Jazz apples last spring. Jazz will fill a gap in their harvest schedule between Honeycrisp and Fuji, keeping their crew busy all summer long.

During his 35 years as an orchardist, Jim Doornink has always enjoyed strategizing about how to run a [...]

Cover crops and pest control

  • December 1st, 2009

Does attracting natural enemies to an orchard by planting a cover crop translate to better biological control of pests in the trees? Dr. David Horton, entomologist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Yakima, Washington, hopes to find out.

Horton is conducting trials in a research orchard and three commercial [...]