Good Fruit Grower

September 2013

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New spray concept proves feasible I f we had to irrigate orchards by pulling tanks of water down the alleys, would we do it? We do that now with pesticides and plant growth regulators, hauling loads of water with small amounts of chemicals in them, then blasting the mixtures into the trees. Only about a year ago, researchers at land grant universities across the United States obtained funding to investigate the feasibility of using a fixed-in-place system of pipes and nozzles—like a solid-set irrigation system—instead of airblast sprayers. They call the system the Solid-Set Canopy Delivery System, or the SSCDS. At a field day in July at Michigan State University's fruit experiment station in Clarksville, Michigan, the Michigan contingent of researchers gathered to show growers the working model built for them to do their studies and to report on progress they have made in less than two years. The words "proof of concept" were used several times—meaning the scientists think they have proved that several things work as hypothesized—but the system's not ready for commercial application. (It is believed, however, that some growers are trying it in small blocks in their orchards.) What are some of these things that work, these "proofs by Richard Lehnert of concept"? A fixed-in-place orchard spraying system is fast becoming something to consider. Misting to extend dormancy This spring, Dr. Jim Flore was able to delay apple trees from emerging from dormancy by eight days by misting them to keep them cool longer as spring was arriving. In sweet cherry trees, emergence from dormancy was delayed by 11 days. "The long-term goal is to develop an effective, environmentally friendly method to protect sweet cherry and apple buds and flowers from spring frost damage and to delay bloom by cooling the buds once dormancy has been broken," he said. Flore said research years ago showed that applying water and allowing it to evaporate would lower temperatures, and since bud development is directly related to temperature, keeping them wet keeps them dormant. The problem was, it took large amounts of water when applied by conventional overhead irrigation sprinklers. In experiments in the 1970s, it took up to 36 inches of applied water— MARCHANT LADDERS, INC. Quality Ladders Since 1978 Bags & Buckets • Buy factory direct Cherry Bucket 89000 / 89200 Harvest Equipment Picking Bucket 7P104 / 7P105 • BEST ladder at the BEST price Heavy Duty Top Bracket • Available 6 to 16 foot 5250 Amigo Citrus Bag 73500 FC-100 Padded Bag 73250 Cordura Bag 73187 / 73393 Manufactured by Superior Fruit Equipment Also available in cotton Email Web For the dealer nearest you, call us at (509) 662-6065. Wells & Wade Harvest Equipment "When You Want The Best For Your Fruit" 32 SEPTEMBER 2013 Good Fruit Grower Extra support on longer steps, all steps 3" wide Heavy Duty Bottom Step "The Standard for the Serious Orchardist" Built of sturdy, lightweight ALUMINUM— Specifically for agriculture 509-882-1912 Grandview, Washington

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