Techniques & benefits of a fruit wall

Lower costs and better vigor control make them attractive for high-density plantings.

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  • Apples from the prairie

Apples from the prairie

  • April 1st, 2010

Autumn Delight (right photo) and Misty Rose.

Three apple cultivars released by the University of Saskatchewan fruit breeding program are being recommended for commercial production in that prairie province this year, according to fruit breeder Dr. Bob Bors. They are Autumn Delight, Prairie Sensation, and Misty Rose.

Autumn Delight (top photo [...]

  • Retrofitting an apple packing line

Retrofitting an apple packing line

  • April 1st, 2010

A Yakima, Washington, grower-packer operation wanted to upgrade its optical sorting capability but didn’t want to make expensive changes to the entire line. By retrofitting the outdated optics with a new system, color and size grade adjustments can now be made quickly with a few computer keystrokes.

Mike Saunders, Apple [...]

  • Reduce compaction

Reduce compaction

  • April 1st, 2010

Juice grape growers in Washington State have found a way to aerate the soil, relieve soil compaction, and reduce farming costs.

An aerator implement that uses metal fingers to loosen the soil is finding favor in the grape industry. Forage and grain crop farmers have found the implement is useful in [...]

  • Irrigation options

Irrigation options

  • April 1st, 2010

Plantings at Yakima Valley Orchards are irrigated with drip. Travis Allan checks on a Honeycrisp block planted in 2007 where overhead sprinklers are being installed for frost protection.

An increasing number of orchardists are using drip irrigation systems to get their new orchard blocks off to a good start.

Tom Auvil, [...]

  • 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 [...]

  • The lowdown on drip

The lowdown on drip

  • April 1st, 2010

Drip irrigation systems are designed to deliver water precisely and uniformly to the crop roots and often results in water savings. Water is applied in low volumes at frequent intervals.

There are two types of drip systems: a rigid drip tube that can be used as a permanent system and [...]

Moving larger crops in the future

  • February 15th, 2010

Focus on what you can control was the message given to growers by cherry marketers who shared thoughts on how to move larger cherry crops in the future during a panel discussion at the Northwest Cherry Institute meeting in Yakima, Washington.

Last year’s late start of the Northwest cherry season [...]

  • Fireblight without antibiotics

Fireblight without antibiotics

  • February 15th, 2010

Orchards that have secondary bloom or have later-blooming varieties are more at risk for fireblight infection.

Controlling fireblight without antibiotics is doable, but it requires an integrated approach combining delayed dormant copper sprays with frequent applications of biological agents, says a plant pathologist from Oregon State University.

The antibiotics streptomycin and [...]

  • Scab control more challenging

Scab control more challenging

  • February 15th, 2010

Apple scab overwinters in infected leaves on the orchard floor. Spores from the dead leaves are produced in the spring and can cause primary infection of fruit.

The Michigan growing season was wet last year. As a result, apple growers had a tougher-than-usual time controlling scab. But the weather was [...]

  • Choosing a nursery and trees

Choosing a nursery and trees

  • February 15th, 2010

This is the fourth in a series of articles covering all aspects of planning and establishing a competitive orchard.

Before committing significant money to a nursery order, growers are well advised to do their homework in choosing who grows their trees.

Visit the nursery beforehand to see what type of tree [...]

  • Choosing type of tree

Choosing type of tree

  • February 15th, 2010

Left, Sleeping eye. Middle: Standard tree. Right: Potted trees. Bottom: Bench grafts.

Several types of trees are available from nurseries for planting, with costs as varied as the tree types, ranging from around $8 per tree for knipboom to $1.20 for bench grafts, without royalties. But beware of the hidden [...]

  • Types of trees

Types of trees

  • February 15th, 2010

Workers harvest two-year-old Honeycrisp trees at C&O Nursery in Quincy, Washington.

Bench graft: Starts out as a rootstock, with the rootstock taken out of the layer bed in November and bench grafted with scion wood between January and April. Bench grafts are delivered for planting after the last spring frost. Bench-graft [...]