Early season update

Greetings,

Our recent travels to extension meetings in Virginia have revealed apple and peach bud development that is much behind last year but that varies fairly widely among locations. For example, yesterday we visited an apple orchard in Rappahannock County with fruit buds still at the delayed-dormant stage. For those situations, dormant oil alone or in combination with an insecticide (numerous options in Spray Bulletin at http://pubs.ext.vt.edu/content/dam/pubs_ext_vt_edu/456/456-419/456-419.pdf) would still be an option for managing San Jose scale, mite eggs, and rosy apple aphid. In apple orchards that are further along (tight cluster to pre-pink), rosy apple aphid and tarnished plant bug are two of the direct pests targeted at this time. Assail and Beleaf are strong options for rosy apple aphid that this point, and there are a range of pyrethroids listed in our bulletin for prebloom use. We have not yet captured oriental fruit moth. Since 2000, biofix for this species (i.e. when sustained flight of the overwintering generation begins) has ranged from March 20 to April 20, with an average of about April 10, so this is not the latest year but is getting toward the later end of the historical range. Oriental fruit moth captures may begin during the upcoming warm period, but whether we record sustained flight over several days, and therefore set a biofix date, remains to be seen.  For apple and peach orchards that have had issues with oriental fruit moth, mating disruption, whether a sprayable formulation or hand-placed dispensers would be a strong option when first captures in pheromone monitoring traps have occurred.  Alternatively, in apple orchards which have had pressure from oriental fruit moth and codling moth, hand-placed dispensers for mating disruption against both species simultaneously can be deployed during bloom, providing different lengths of protection depending on the product used. In apple orchards where codling moth has been most problematic, mating disruption dispensers for this species alone can also be placed in orchards during bloom.  A long-standing recommendation for peach pest management in our area has been to begin insecticide applications against, plum curculio, catfacing insects, oriental fruit moth, and aphids at petal fall, but only if San Jose scale has not been an issue in recent seasons (which would require management at the dormant stage of fruit bud development). Thereafter, a tight schedule of applications against these pests, at shuck split and shuck fall is recommended.

Until next time, best wishes.

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