UCCE experts warn of soil health issues, suggest growers work closely with consultants and advisors to observe and document orchard changes

Tissue sampling in almondsAs we’ve written throughout the year, the record rainy season made it trickier than ever for California nut growers to apply soil amendments, manage excess moisture and tackle various cultural practices throughout this season. And University of California Cooperative Extension experts are now noting “it may take a year before damage to Central Valley orchards from the winter and spring barrage of atmospheric rivers is fully known,” Farm Progress writes.

Other soil issues affecting nut growers, according to UCCE, included:

  • Saturated soil conditions delayed or prevented mummy shaking for NOW damage in some areas
  • Storms also “created the right conditions” for root damage and plant pathogens, including phytophthora, “which spread in canopies this spring as intense storms pushed infections up trunks”
  • Nut trees also saw delayed bud break and shoot development

UCCE advisers Elizabeth Fichtner and Mae Culumber added: “the rainfall and flooding have additionally influenced the nutritional status of orchard soils. Cool, wet soil conditions slow the chemical and biological reactions that control the availability of nutrients for tree uptake.”

The two also urged growers to work closely with consultants and advisors as the season progresses to observe and document orchard changes.

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