• Growers foresee change

Growers foresee change

  • December 1st, 2009

There are too many new apple varieties, says Polish orchardist Krzysztof Hermanowicz.

New market niches, more emphasis on eating quality, technological advances in the orchard, more regional focus on food, and closer relationships with retailers are changes that a handful of tree fruit growers across the globe envision in the [...]

Good Point – Jim McFerson

  • December 1st, 2009

Predictions and promises are easy enough, as long as they’re vague. On the other hand, few people really remember the predictions, so why not take a shot and even get specific? Here are some of mine, for the next ten years in the Pacific Northwest tree fruit industry.

Some things [...]

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 [...]

  • Growing nitrogen on the side

Growing nitrogen on the side

  • December 1st, 2009

Dr. Steve Fransen points out that the ladino clover had pink root nodules, indicating that it was fixing nitrogen.

As commercial nitrogen fertilizers become more expensive, and potentially more limited in supply, the idea of growing fertilizer in the orchard is being explored.

Quincy, Washington, fruit grower Warren Morgan, who is [...]

Cherry Institute looks to the future

  • December 1st, 2009

As the Pacific Northwest sweet cherry industry moves toward larger crops in the future, it will take the industry working together to achieve success, says the president of Northwest Cherry Growers. The Cherry Institute, scheduled for January 15 at the Convention Center in Yakima, Washington, aims to bring all [...]

Field sorting culls

  • December 1st, 2009

One area of research that John Verbrugge thinks has been overlooked is field sorting of culls.

Verbrugge, new president of the Washington State Horticultural Association, said the industry has made great strides in developing a mechanical harvester that uses robotics, although when it is commercially ready, the harvester will require [...]

  • Research viewpoint

Research viewpoint

  • December 1st, 2009

Soft fruit breeder Ralph Scorza and colleagues developed this pitless plum.

Continuing budget constraints at U.S. universities will result in fewer scientists and less research for growers to draw upon, predicts Larry Gut, entomologist at Michigan State University.

“People are being laid off and let go,” Gut said. “I’m afraid it [...]

MSU leads RosBREED project

  • November 1st, 2009

Michigan State University researchers will lead a four-year, $14.4-million grant-funded research project aimed at improving fruit quality, collaborating with nearly a dozen U.S. ­institutions and six international partners.

Dr. Amy Iezzoni, MSU cherry breeder, heads the RosBREED project, aiming to combine emerging DNA sequence and research findings to improve the [...]

  • Promoting fruit size in Bartlett pear

Promoting fruit size in Bartlett pear

  • September 1st, 2009

A research report from Dr. David Sugar, Oregon State University, Medford
Bartlett pear growers practice a variety of techniques to increase the size of the fruit on their trees, in order to take advantage of the greater value returned for large fruit. Hard pruning, detailed hand thinning, and precise [...]

  • WANTED: dwarfing pear rootstock

WANTED: dwarfing pear rootstock

  • September 1st, 2009

Since the pear industry still lacks a dwarfing rootstock, Dr. Todd Einhorn is experimenting with ways to improve light penetration in standard pear trees.

A dwarfing pear rootstock—equivalent to a Malling 9 rootstock for apples or Gisela rootstock for cherries—is needed so that pear growers can improve production efficiency and [...]

  • High density is tricky in pears

High density is tricky in pears

  • September 1st, 2009

OSU horticulturist Dr. Todd Einhorn is experimenting to find out the best angle to train branches of d’Anjou pear trees to discourage suckering and promote early fruiting.

Agricultural economist Clark Seavert devised the Competitive Orchard System several years ago to help pear growers lower costs and improve returns.

Seavert, former superintendent [...]

  • Bigger and better cherries

Bigger and better cherries

  • August 1st, 2009

Fran Pierce (left) and Mark Hanrahan check Kiona cherries for size. Kiona, a cross of Glacier and Cashmere, is one of the most recent releases from WSU.

Washington State University’s cherry breeder, Dr. Nnadozie Oraguzie, hopes to develop a suite of new varieties that don’t have the shortcomings of today’s [...]