Tag Archives: winter moth

The Tyranny of the Harvest – Looking for Honeycrisp Lovers

August 29, 2020

You can watch summer squash grow. Just have a seat. The plant explodes with six at once. You are hurriedly trying to remember who likes squash, before the fruits look like footballs.

“Would you like to take a yellow squash?”, I asked a volunteer at the end of his shift.
“Oh no, I grow squash.” Then, he offers back, “Would you like some zucchini?”

Next, I look at a green bean, short and lean. I thought I had time before I had to pick. The very next day they ballooned. The gold rush is on. Now I must pick ever other day.

Then come the tomatillos, and then the elderberry – more goodies for volunteers.

The William’s Pride apples ripened a bit early this year, but the winter moth caterpillars thwarted most blooms. A small harvest but volunteers always appreciate apples.

 

This one’s for you. Let it sit four days.
For you these should chill in the refer, then two days on the table.
Iodine, thumb press, tacky peel … there are so many ways
I try to time perfect maturity, as much as I’m able.

The Honeycrisp apple tree was largely unaffected by the winter moth caterpillars. It is loaded. I thinned at least 190 apples from the tree. A few weeks later, I asked Dane, a young helper, to thin again in the classic way: one apple per 6 inches of space. I turned my head and handed him the pruners. Still, even with this final thinning, it will be a challenge to get them all distributed.

Volunteers are needed!
by appointment
please email
freewayestatescommunityorchard@gmail.com

Wednesday, I asked Sue if she had a Tyranny of the Harvest story. “Sure.” she said.
(Note: Sue is infatuated with growing tomatoes, in spite of our wimpy summers. Story is a bit edited.)

When I managed the Adult Learning Garden at Seattle Tilth (now Tilth Alliance), each year I would wait until October to take my summer vacation then drive to Colorado and New Mexico to visit family. I packed the trunk with boxes of green tomatoes. They sat in the back, baking in the sun, and they ripen at different speeds. Our aim way to share with everyone we visited along the way.

 

Last year, we left a cousin in Salt Lake City
And were near to our friend in Grand Junction
Bad timing; no additional ripe tomatoes. What a pity!
We had to skip that visit, with some compunction.
In the end, we met our goal: to use all of them, have none rot,
before we got to our last stop.

Go Sue!

Today, as I was leaving the orchard, I walked past the Honeycrisp. Dare I look? I glanced up and I saw an apple with those streaking red vertical lines – big, with good color. Oh my, nearly ripe.

Friends of FECO! We invite you to make a $20.00 donation for 5 pounds of organic Honeycrisp (average retail price in Washington State.)
You will need to let us know right away! You can order more than 5 pounds.
(We are out of money and we still have supplies to purchase this year.) Thank you.

freewayestatescommunityorchard@gmail.com

Ruth

Welcome to our Demonstration Garden!

May 14, 2019                                                                                                      DONATIONS PAGE LINK

The fruit trees in the orchard this year would amaze anyone. They are striking and flush …
with pests. It’s true. Come and allow us to demonstrate all manner of pest infestation plus other unsightly disorders.

Last year was a record bounty but, this year, we are counting on one hand the number of fruits from most of the trees.

Why, on one small branch of the Mirabelle plum (photo) you can view tip dieback from brown rot, scale, aphids and leaf roller damage. The pear, just after the height of the leaf roller infestation, has now been chewed to smithereens by the California pear sawfly (photo).

Wander over to the Fuji and notice apple blister mite. Then, check out the powdery mildew on the William’s Pride.

This situation takes me back to coaching where you had to make sure you didn’t spend all of your energy on the one high-maintenance kid and take for granted the other 14 well-behaved teammates. So, yesterday, I coddled our precious persimmon. The persimmon, like the mulberry, sits and watches the devastation and only asks for a drink of water now and then. I composted-in-place its weeds, fed it some nice compost and leaf litter, and laid out a coat of chips on top. Namaste.

Sun, May 19, 2-4, Work Party
Sat, Jun 1, 10-12, Work Party
Sun, Jun 16, 2-4, Work Party
Sat, Jul 6, 10-12, Work Party

Back in February, Allison and I thought we had the winter moth larvae in check. We had banded the trunks then flattened the eggs below the band. The problem was, while we were focused down on that trunk, the winter moth larvae soon would be sailing through the air, landing on whichever fruit or nut tree was within striking distance. Much like a skilled parachutist, I think they tug a certain way on that silken thread to ensure they make it to the canopy. In April, they were landing on our sweaters and hats faster than we could squish them off the leaves and blossoms. We had kept our own trees from propagating larvae but we were defenseless against tall neighboring trees that spit out the little buggers like factories.

Yesterday, I sighed as I cleaned off more dead material from Liberty branches (photo). Oh, but then I looked closely. Was that a little speck of green? Sure enough, the tree is pushing out a new leaf where the others had been eaten.(photo) The Liberty is willing and ready to try again. OK then! We will also find energy to grow and prepare for the next obstacle.

Ruth

Fall Fruit Tree Follow-up

November 30, 2018

Fall is a fine time to do investigative work in the orchard and plan for winter or spring pest management.

Confirming that our Harrow Delight pear problem was Pear Trellis Rust (Gymnosporangium sabinae) was an excellent warm-up exercise, since the blemishes on the leaves are so clearly identifiable. I made a leaf infusion and put a drop under the microscope. There wasn’t much else to see but for the spores of this particular fungal problem. Confirmed.

Another set of eyes is so valuable when reviewing the status of the plants. We warmly welcome Allison, a new volunteer, who joined Sue and I last week as we continued our review of the fruit trees and other fruit-bearing perennials.

The three of us started with the Izu Persimmon and worked through the checklist:

  • Add Tanglefoot to trunk to dissuade the winter moth from laying eggs
  • Clear debris from around the root crown
  • Make sure staking materials and any plant ID tags are not choking a branch or harboring pests
  • Look for eggs on all surfaces
  • Review the new flowering buds for health
  • Prepare a leaf infusion if a fungal disease is suspected
  • Cut a twig and drop the end in water to check for ooze if a bacterial problem is suspected
  • Identify bamboo watering holes with survey tape to minimize tripping hazards
  • Add compost and mowed leaves, and consider the timing for full sheet mulching
  • Look for anything unusual.
Sun. Dec 16, 2-4, Work Party
Sun. Jan 20, 2-4, Work Party
Sat. Feb 16, 1-3, Tree Pruning Class
Sun. Feb 17, 2-4, Work Party

There was little to study on the Izu; the only problem it had was too many fruit. Of the 24 fruit it presented to us, we only allowed 7 to remain on the tree. It will need time to build a stronger scaffold to support more fruit.

We moved on to the Early Fuji for review. The new buds looked cheerful but the Fuji suffered from scab this year. After bloom, we had netted it with bee netting in order to keep the coddling moth at bay. We might have replaced coddling moth damage with scab damage! The apples were still edible and many were pristine enough for the food bank. But, we won’t net next year, in order to assess whether the tree will be healthier with improved air circulation.

The scab (Venturia inaequalis)  (photo) was also a pretty easy diagnosis but it can be confused with sawfly damage. Again, a leaf infusion confirmed the presence of many of the shoe-shaped spores associated with apple scab.

We noticed two male and one female winter moth caught in the Tanglefoot band around the lower part of the tree trunk. Since the moth activity is just past it’s peak, we set about looking for eggs and anything else that might pose a risk to our tree.

We didn’t find eggs but Sue was standing at exactly the correct spot to be staring right at the tiny protective covering of a scale insect. Good eye Sue! We were not sure of the scale type so we looked up its characteristics to confirm. I also pulled one apart and set it under the microscope to look at the multitude of white eggs. (A compound microscope can be crudely fashioned into a dissecting one with an extra light source.) We agreed it was Lecanium Scale (Parthenolecanium corni) and we will pinch those little bumps off the trees as we see them.

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Next week we review the Mirabelle Plum and its multiple problems, makes notes, develop our plans for that tree in the coming year and, hopefully, find something else interesting to put under the magnifying glass.

Ruth