• Shorten laterals to cut thinning costs

Shorten laterals to cut thinning costs

  • March 1st, 2013

Peach and nectarine trees will always set more fruit than the trees can size.
For most orchardists, thinning peach and nectarine trees is one of the most expensive yearly orchard operations. It does not need to be, if you prune your trees ­correctly in winter and shorten the laterals.

Good [...]

  • Saving water in early peaches

Saving water in early peaches

  • February 15th, 2013

Scientists with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, looking for ways that growers can save water without affecting fruit quality or yields, see potential for using deficit irrigation on early season California peach trees. Their research includes development of a tool that can tell farmers precisely when irrigation is needed.

USDA [...]

Cherry research needed

  • December 1st, 2012

Washington cherry and stone fruit growers will have another opportunity in the coming weeks to vote on a special assessment to fund research at Washington State ­University.

A year ago, in a tree fruit industrywide referendum, a majority of apple and pear growers voted in favor of a special assessment. [...]

  • Prune for size

Prune for size

  • December 1st, 2012

Producing fruit today requires higher and higher degrees of innovation. Profit margins are small, and quality demands are high. Exact standards and specifications regarding fruit size, skin color, texture, firmness and concentration of sugar, shelf life, and blemishes must be met.

Virtually everything that you do in the orchard affects [...]

  • Des Layne joins WSU

Des Layne joins WSU

  • November 1st, 2012

Washington State University has appointed Dr. Desmond Layne, a professor at Clemson University in South Carolina, to the new position of tree fruit extension team leader. He will start his new job on February 1. The position was created after Washington apple and pear growers voted last year to [...]

  • Good to Know—What growers want in new varieties

Good to Know—What growers want in new varieties

  • November 1st, 2012

Adopting a new scion cultivar is a crucial decision for tree fruit growers, who must consider both horticultural and market performance. Apple growers have mostly figured out how to produce high yields of excellent quality fruit for many standard varieties like Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, and Empire, but market [...]

Good Stuff

  • October 1st, 2012

Bayer purchases AgraQuest
Bayer Crop Science, headquartered in Germany, has purchased the U.S. biological crop-protection company AgraQuest, Inc., for $425 million plus milestone ­payments, according to a Bayer news release.

AgraQuest, headquartered in Davis, California, is a global supplier of biological pest management products derived from natural organisms. Its production [...]

  • Last Bite–A peach with longevity

Last Bite–A peach with longevity

  • August 1st, 2012

Unlike apples and pears, where new varieties are slow to appear and stay forever, new peach varieties come, and most of them go, in a continual parade. But sometimes, a new variety comes and stays a long time. Varieties like Elberta and Redhaven fit that description, and so, too, [...]

  • Florida PEACHES


  • July 1st, 2012

When devastating freezes strike the Florida citrus industry, it becomes national news immediately, as people want to know how it will affect the price and supply of their orange juice.

Nearly 30 years ago, two really hard freezes badly damaged the Florida citrus industry: A freeze in December 1983 caused [...]

  • Living with plum pox

Living with plum pox

  • July 1st, 2012

Jim Bittner, pictured with a tour group in his New York orchard, pulled out 20 acres of peaches when a plum pox-positive tree was found in his orchard. He is worried about Canada dropping its eradication effort.

The question of how plum pox should be ­managed [...]

  • Canadians will reduce pressure to eliminate plum pox

Canadians will reduce pressure to eliminate plum pox

  • July 1st, 2012

In the “usual” journalistic process, reporters find expert sources and ask questions, then ask additional questions as the answers dictate. This process did not work in developing this article.

On both sides of the U.S.-Canadian border, phone calls directed to knowledgeable horticulturists involved in the plum pox programs were shunted [...]

  • Last Bite–From Shangri-La

Last Bite–From Shangri-La

  • June 1st, 2012

Apricots are dried on a Hunza Valley rooftop.
On the flanks of the magnificent Karakoram mountain range, a jagged spine of 25,000-foot-high mountain spires, lies the valley of the Hunza—a place so rich in beauty and long-lived people that it is credited as an inspiration for James Hilton’s novel [...]