After a winter break

Most of the activity out in the fields between November and January do not involved the services of a plant doctor. Farmers are preparing their fields for planting and pruning the trees and vines. My biggest job is going out in December and checking on the weed growth. Keeping the weeds from growing and using the soil mositure and nutrients we are trying to store up for out crops is very important. For your yard at home it is more of keeping your flower beds and lawn looking good. But most people know that if you let the weeds take over, the plants you want won’t last very long. We try to use weed control products that will last a long time on the soil so we do not have to spray and cultivate a lot in the winter. With all the rainfall, if is almost impossible to do any work out in the field. Making sure we know what weeds are in the fields and what are the right products to use is my job. There are many choices of things to use and it is important to use the right tools for the job.

Another winter project comes in the tree crops. Diseases and insects will hide on the trees in the nooks and crannies and it is important to mointor what is hiding out there in the winter and make a decision if treating the trees while they are dormant is something that is necessary or not. This involves going out and sampling the small branches and looking a the places these pest hide in and determining if there is enough of a problem to deal with.

Mites lay eggs on wood

For peach and nectarine trees there are certain spring diseases that are best treated while the tree is dormant. So for tree crops, many farmers are now applying what we call a “dormant” spray. Not all orchards get this spray, just thost that need it. So I have to go out and look at the orchards and find out, based on what pests we had at the end of the last season and what I see now, which orchards need a spray. The worst part of this chore is having to go out when it is cold and foggy. I hate cold and foggy.

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