Many growers, Nourse Farms included, are continuing to battle SWD pressure with little to no development of new controls. Our current recommendation includes monitoring for SWD activity with traps and fruit sampling to determine pest presence in field followed by regular pesticide applications.
1. SWD UPDATE
Traps can be made using a lidded plastic container with 3/16” holes drilled in sides and filled with bait. Baits can be purchased commercially or made using fruit juice or apple cider vinegar with a drop of dish soap. Traps should be hung in a shaded location in the plant canopy. Once SWD is detected control should begin.
Cultural practices, such as regular picking and removal of overripe and dropped fruit, can help to keep populations from rapidly growing. Carefully managing cane density can also reduce the preferred habitat for SWD while improving insecticidal coverage.
For organic and low spray production, exclusion netting is an option. It does require an up-front investment and careful management for best success. Netting must be put into place before SWD appear but after pollination has occurred and regular monitoring for holes or gaps is crucial. A well-designed entryway is required to ensure SWD aren’t introduced to your planting when going in and out of the structure.
Research is being conducted on a species of parasitic wasps as a potential control. These parasitic wasps are a natural predator to SWD and have now been released in three different locations to study their effi cacy in reducing SWD numbers. We will continue to report updates via email as new information emerges.
Insecticide treatments for SWD only affect adults and therefore should be started at first detection and continue through harvest. Rotate insecticides by their mode of action and IRAC group to reduce risk of resistance, and do not use the same product for repeated applications. Applications should be made at a minimum of every 5-7 days, based on your pressure.
2. ASPARAGUS BASICS
Asparagus, one of the first crops of the season, can be an excellent choice to supplement your berry crop cash flow. Harvested from April – June in the Northern U.S., asparagus is easy to manage, and a single planting will stay productive for many years. Asparagus performs best at a pH of 7.2 or higher. Planting depth ranges from 6” on a heavier silt or clay soil to 10” – 12” on a lighter, well-drained soil. Planting at the maximum recommended planting depth may delay emergence, which has been shown to reduce risk of frost damage in the early season. In general, irrigation is not necessary unless you are in dry conditions, and in that case, drip irrigation works well. Fertilizer rates based on soil tests should be applied, half in early spring and half post-harvest. Regular scouting for asparagus beetles/larva, aphids, asparagus miner, purple spot, is suggested. Control of powdery mildew is crucial to keep ferns green until mid October, which allows them to photosynthesize and send carbohydrates to the roots until frost.
Research shows you can harvest asparagus for 7 – 14 days the year after establishment, for 3 – 4 weeks in year two, and for the full 6 – 8 weekseason in the third year and after. It is important to monitor spear size and cease harvest early if spears become thin and spindly, allowing the remainder of emerging spears to go to fern.
Old ferns may be mowed in the spring with a rotary mower and can be left as a mulch for weed control. Keeping bed clean of weeds during the harvest period is critical, and methods are limited to manual weeding during harvest to avoid injuring emerging spears. Additional options for weed control include practicing no-till and/or a selection of pre-emergent and post-emergent herbicides. We recommend consulting your local Cooperative Extension for a selection of recommended herbicides for your state.
More detailed information regarding planting, growing, and marketing asparagus can be found in Asparagus Production – From A to Z by Carl J. Cantaluppi Jr. or by speaking to one of our cultural experts. For herbicide recommendations, see 2022 Cornell Integrated Crop and Pest Management Guidelines for Vegetable Crops, which is available for purchase at cropandpestguides.cce.cornell.edu
3. HERBICIDE CARRYOVER & NEW STARBERRY PLANTING SITE SELECTION
Looking to put in a new field of strawberries? Knowing the field history of herbicide applications can be important when planning for the coming seasons planting. Some herbicides are persistent in the soil and can affect sensitive crops like strawberries 18, 24 and even 36 months out from the application. Knowing what product (s) were used the previous 1-2 years prior to planting is critical; 3-4 years ideal. Once the product used is known, it’s important to read the label or consult your Ag dealer or weed specialist to learn about any plant back restrictions. Product labels can be found at agrian.com or by doing product name searches using Google or other web browsers.
Soil texture, soil pH, changing the pH (lime applications), rainfall, herbicide application rates, and spray overlap (effectively a 2X application rate) can all impact herbicide persistence. Group 2 herbicides, (ALS inhibitor), commonly used in corn, soybean, and other crops, are generally a persistent herbicide group. An example of a Group 2 herbicide used in pumpkin fields is Sandea. The label lists a plant back time of 9 months for caneberries and 36 months for strawberries. Some products have no listing for strawberry plant back, but the possibility of carryover to a new strawberry planting exists. Without direction from the product label, it’s best to be cautious and wait as long as 36 months.
Herbicide carryover can cause crop injury ranging from minimal to complete crop loss or plant kill. Injury problems have typically arisen where normal breakdown of herbicides has been inhibited by factors such as drought and pH. Symptoms can include general and interveinal chlorosis, mottled chlorosis, yellow spotting, purpling of the leaves, necrosis, and stem dieback.
4. SMALL FRUIT IRRIGATION
As we look at this season, it is clear the impact water levels can have on crop yield and size. Consistently, overhead irrigation is a critical component for frost protection on strawberries. As you look at your irrigation practices on strawberries from post-bloom through harvest, depending on soil type, plants respond best to two inches or more per week. During harvest, berry crops require continuing high levels of irrigation to maintain berry size. Growers using drip irrigation daily benefit from the maintenance of good moisture levels and evaporative cooling. Drip irrigation is also beneficial in fields where differences in elevation results in wet fruit from puddling due to uneven water distribution. An additional benefit is the ability to inject fertilizer to “spoon-feed” the plants. As many head into the winter season, protection of irrigation equipment from winter damage is important. Your system should be parked in a safe location away from potential wind, rodent and tree damage. All parts of the system, including underground lines should be drained. Trickle and drip lines not covered by plastic, plant material or mulch stand less winter rodent damage.
5. ORDER EARLY
Variety availability varies each year depending on our final pack-out and shifting customer demands. Plant orders for spring planting should be placed as early as October for best selection. This also allows customers to take advantage of our 3% Early Pay Discount for orders over $500 that are paid in full by December 1. We will continue to offer strawberry plugs for late summer – fall planting of Galletta, Yambu, Darselect, Flavorfest, Cabot, and Malwina. We are able to take your quantity needs now and confirm your order, with pricing available at a later date. For Fall 2022, we were sold out of plugs by April 1st. This means that we will likely be sold out in mid-summer when you start considering your fall planting plans. To ensure that you receive the varieties and quantities you need, early ordering is essential. Strawberry plug plants do not qualify for early pay discounts.