Blue Diamond Almonds – Almond Bloom Report – March 25, 2013

Almond Crop | Almond Bloom Report 3-25-2013

Blue Diamond Almonds – Almond Bloom Report – March 25, 2013

The next scheduled almond bloom report will be posted on April 15, 2013. In the event of any significant occurrences prior to that date, this site will be updated as soon as possible.

Northern California Almond Bloom Report –

With the exception of Tuesday and Wednesday, the 19th and 20th, when a weakening weather system spread from 0.25 to 0.5 inch of rain over the Sacramento Valley, bright sun and generally clear skies reigned over the region during the period, helping to push the develop crop ahead. Morning low temperatures were reported predominately in the 40’s with coldest readings reported in the mid and upper 30’s in the period’s closing days. Daily maximum temperatures exhibited a general cooling trend, with warmest readings recorded in the mid and upper 70’s as the period began. Readings then decreased daily, dropping into the lower 60’s under the influence of drying winds that reached in excess of 20 mph after the storm’s passage before rebounding into the lower 70’s under calmer conditions in the period’s closing days.

The passage of the storm during the past week failed to deter the growth and development of the 2013 almond crop in the Sacramento Valley. Almonds of all varieties are now well into the differentiation process, with observers reporting three and four sizes of nuts visible. The largest of these are growing well and will be retained to maturity while the smallest are being cut off from nutrients and will be dropped to the orchard floor. The generally good conditions the region has experienced since the completion of the bloom has promoted the growth of the developing nuts and will also help to increase the proportion of nuts retained by the trees.

Growers have been applying preventative fungicides in an effort to protect the developing almond crop and the newly emerged foliage. While disease pressure has been quite low this year, the rains received during the period did increase the potential for infection. Ironically, the rain did not provide enough water to reduce the need for irrigation and growers have been irrigating as required. Growers receiving their water from the federal Central Valley Project have been advised that deliveries will be limited to 75% of contracted amounts. Growers have also been busy applying foliar nutrient sprays and mowing excessive vegetation within their orchards.

Central California Almond Bloom Report –
Bright sunny skies dominated the weather during the period, interrupted briefly by scattered showers on Tuesday, the 19th and Wednesday, the 20th. Morning low temperatures were reported predominately in the 40’s with coldest readings reported on the morning of Saturday, the 23rd and Sunday, the 24th as temperatures dipped into the mid 30’s. Daily maximum temperatures exhibited a general cooling trend during the period, with readings decreasing from their highest levels in the mid and upper 70’s at the start of the period, to the low to mid 60’s.

The threat of widespread rain went largely unfulfilled as a weakening storm system passed through the region Tuesday and Wednesday, the 19th and 20th. Rainfall totals from the storm ranged from a few hundredths to 0.16 inch. Brisk winds followed the storm, with speeds ranging from 15 to 25 mph, dropping dew points and increasing the risk of frost during the final days of the period.

Observers are reporting that almonds around the region are developing well under the influence of the generally beneficial weather conditions experienced over the past week. Almonds of all varieties are well into the differentiation process, with three to four sizes visible; the largest of these are breaking free from their jackets while the smallest are being shed from the trees.

The lack of significant rain has resulted in very low disease pressure this year. While growers have uniformly made a single fungicide treatment, they have been able to forego additional applications and the trees and developing crop are virtually free of fungal diseases. While the winds in the period’s closing days have helped to scrub dried jackets and spent petals from the trees, many remain to fall in the coming days. The dried jackets in particular can be a starting point for fungal infections should they remain in the trees and rainfall return to the region. Observers have noted a significant number of Carmel plantings exhibiting symptoms of Non-Infectious Bud Failure. Affected trees have particularly low crop levels and delayed leaf-out, leaving them to stand out starkly in the orchard.

Orchard activities conducted during the period include irrigation, weed control and foliar nutrient applications during the calmest days. Many also applied liquid fertilizer materials with their irrigation. Beekeepers have been very active removing hives from the orchards, though many remain as the period concluded.

Southern California Almond Bloom Report –
Temperatures moderated during the period as a weakening weather system brushed against the region. Morning low temperatures were reported predominately in the 40’s with warmest readings reported in the low to mid 50’s on Wednesday the 20th as the insulating clouds from the approaching storm system covered the region. Winds with speeds in excess of 20 mph helped to dry the air after the storm’s passing and allowed minimum temperatures dip into the mid 30’s on Saturday, the 23rd. Daily maximum temperatures were reported at their warmest levels early in the period, when reading reached into the mid and upper 70’s. Readings gradually decreased into the mid and upper 60’s under the influence of the weakening weather system that dropped trace amounts to a few hundredths of an inch from Madera, south to Tulare County late in the day on Tuesday, the 19th and the winds that followed the storms passage. Warmer conditions returned to the region on the period’s closing days as temperatures reached into the lower 70’s.

Almonds of all varieties are developing well under the generally beneficial weather the region has experienced since the completion of the bloom. All varieties are well into the differentiation process, wherein the nuts divide into several sizes with the largest shedding their jackets and being retained to maturity while the smallest are shed from the trees.

The forecast of rain during the period inspired some in the region to add preventative fungicides to their foliar nutrient sprays in an effort to prevent fungal infections on the developing nuts and foliage. The generally beneficial conditions the region has experienced this year has resulted in very low disease pressure, leaving the crop virtually disease free while allowing almond growers to eliminate additional fungicide treatments. While growers do not like to see excessive winds that can lower dew points, promoting dangerous morning temperatures or damage the trees themselves, one fringe benefit of the winds experienced over the past week has been to help scrub spent petals and drying jackets from the trees, further reducing the potential for fungal disease.

Almond growers have been actively irrigating their orchards and will continue to do so. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation has announced water deliveries from the federal Central Valley Project have been reduced to 20% of contracted amounts. Meanwhile, deliveries from eastside districts have yet to begin, leaving growers fully dependent on privately owned deep wells for their irrigation needs. In between irrigations, sprayers can be found applying foliar nutrients while mowers reduce excessively tall weeds growing within the orchards.