Good Fruit Grower

April 1

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Thin, thin, THIN! After freezes last year, Eastern apple growers need to respond strongly to avoid biennial bearing. by Richard Lehnert I n the last ten years, Michigan apple growers have experienced big crops following small crops, almost every year. No other state has had this problem this dramatically, and the problem will get worse unless growers take strong action this spring. Phil Schwallier, Michigan State University district horticulture agent and director of the Clarksville Horticulture Experiment Station, has been taking this message, and his advice for solutions, to grower meetings across the state this winter. In a nutshell, his message is: Prune hard to reduce capacity, and then thin, thin, thin. Growers in New York State and Ontario, where crops were greatly reduced by freezes last spring, face a similar situation. ���Last year���s events have set us up for more years of inconsistent annual cropping,��� he told growers at South���Phil Schwallier west Michigan Horticulture Days in Benton Harbor in February. ���Michigan���s climate may be the most adverse in North America. Our production history says that, and we have to address it. This is the year you���re going to have to start, or we will set 30 million bushels this year, and that���s too many apples.��� ���Last year���s events have set us up for more years of inconsistent annual cropping.��� Phil Schwallier 32��, 31��, 30��, 29��, can help! Do these #s worry you? KDL KDL�� 0-0-24 DEXTRO-LAC �� SERIES 28�� Many tree fruit growing areas of the country experienced multiple and severe frost events in 2012. The extent of damage from a frost event depends on many environmental factors that growers can���t control and the steps growers can take to mitigate frost. Irrigating can put heat into the orchard ���oor and wind machines can be helpful if there is an inversion layer. Foliar applications of KDL can also help condition buds and fruitlets to better tolerate subfreezing temperatures. KDL is a unique sugar-based potassium that when applied within 12-48 hours of a frost event has been shown to help improve frost tolerance and minimize damage. Growers normally should AVOID foliar applications of potassium during fruit cell division because potassium can antagonize calcium during this time and reduce ���nal fruit quality. But when faced with the threat of signi���cant crop loss minimizing the immediate frost danger is the priority. KDL can help! During spring as plants begin to grow new green tissue the demand for nitrogen is at its greatest. At this stage the nitrogen to potassium ratio strongly favors nitrogen. Young tissue high in nitrogen is more susceptible to frost damage. Applying KDL prior to a frost event can change the nitrogen to potassium ratio in the tissue and improve cold tolerance. This spring give your orchard the edge over frost ��� Apply KDL! Science-Driven Nutrition SM AGRO-K CORPORATION �� 2013 Agro-K Corporation. KDL is a registered trademark of Agro-K Corporation. 8 April 1, 2013 GOOD FRUIT GROWER

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