Eastern New York Commercial Horticulture Enrollment

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Weed Management in Newly Planted Orchards

Mike Basedow, Tree Fruit Specialist
Eastern New York Commercial Horticulture

May 3, 2018

Early weed control is a critical component of establishing a new planting. Newly planted fruit trees compete poorly against fast growing weeds for water and nutrients. This competition can severely limit a new block's growth, which can ultimately reduce potential yields in the third year by 50 percent (Breth and Tee, 2013). Weeds also harbor insects and diseases, provide habitat for rodents, and can serve as hosts for viruses, further complicating effective orchard management (Stivers et al., 2017).  

Weed management for a new orchard should begin with excellent site preparation. Prior to planting, your orchard site can be cultivated, allowed to fallow until weeds emerge, and then treated with a post-emergence herbicide to control problematic perennial weeds. Cover crops can then be planted to compete against emerging weeds, subsequently mowed and incorporated back into the soil. In the fall prior to tree planting, you can seed the planting site with your preferred orchard sod mix. This will give the sod for the row middle some time to establish. You can then kill the sod in the rows with glyphosate two weeks prior to planting the orchard (R. Crassweller, 2018).  The killed sod in the rows will act as a mulch for the trees at planting.

Once the trees are planted and the soil has had time to settle, a mix of pre-emergence herbicides should be utilized. There are a number of pre-emergence formulations that can be used in newly established orchards (they require the soil around the trees be settled before applications are made), and a few provide some post-emergence control when weeds are in the seedling stage.  These are listed below, and more in-depth product descriptions can be found in the 2018 Cornell Tree Fruit Guide.

  • Surflan (oryzalin) controls most annual grasses and some broadleaf weeds. It controls pigweed, but not ragweed or PA smartweed. Surflan can be used in new plantings as soon as the soil has settled, but requires to 1 inch of rain prior to seed germination to be effective.
  • Prowl (pendimethalin) controls annual grasses, and some broadleaf weeds, including lambsquarters and pigweed when used as a pre-emergent. Prowl 3.3EC can be used in non-bearing trees in newly planted orchards. Using the higher rate will give a longer window of control.
  • Chateau SW (flumioxazin) provides pre-emergent control of grasses and broadleaves, and will also control emerging broadleaf seedlings when they are between 2 and 6 inches tall. It must be applied prior to pink bud. It can be applied to trees that have been established less than 1 year, but trees must be protected with non-porous tree wraps.
  • Goaltender (oxyfluorfen) has pre and post-emergent activity on young seedlings. It controls broadleaf weeds, and should be combined with a grass herbicide. It can only be applied to trees when dormant.
  • Sinbar (terbacil) controls most annual grasses and broadleaf weeds, and has some activity against perennials like quackgrass, horsenettle, and nutsedge. Sinbar requires rainfall within 3-4 days after application to effectively move into the germination zone. It can be used in newly planted trees at very low rates once the soil has settled.   Do not use on soils coarser than sandy loam, this would include high gravel content soils in the Hudson Valley.
  • Solicam (norflurazon) controls most annual grasses and many annual broadleaf weeds, and suppresses nutsedge and quackgrass. It requires rain to move into the seed germination zone, and is often combined with another pre-emerge that has greater efficacy against broadleaf annuals.

This initial treatment can be combined with post-emergence herbicides to control any weed seedlings that may have already emerged (Always check the label before combining any products). Additional follow-up spot treatments of post-emergence herbicides should be performed to control weeds that escape your initial treatments. Be careful to avoid contact with the trunks and green tissues of the young trees.  The application of white latex paint to trunks affords some protection, but the use of spiral tree guards should be discouraged in regions with high dogwood borer pressure, such as the Hudson Valley.

You might also consider developing an orchard weed log or map for your blocks to fine tune your weed management plan.  When you see weeds in the orchard, write down their location, the species that are present, and the average height, growth stages, and percentage of ground cover for each species. These records can help you schedule your post-emergence treatments. They can also help you select an appropriate herbicide mix in your future applications when you have more herbicide options as the block matures. Having these notes to look back on will also allow you to recognize your long term persistent weed trends, and determine the effectiveness of your weed management program (Stivers et al., 2017).

By being proactive with weed management in the first few years, you can get your trees off to a great start to maximize your future potential yields.

Breth, D., and L. Tee. 2013. New Findings in Weed Control in Young Apple Orchards. New York Fruit Quarterly. 21(4):13-18.

Crassweller, R. 2018. Orchard Establishment - Site Selection and Preparation. Penn State Extension. 24 April 2018.

Stivers, L., T. Baugher, and M. Basedow. 2017. Integrated Weed Management: Weed Scouting for Fruit Production. Penn State Extension. 25 April 2018.



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Upcoming Events

Farm Financial Management Tuesdays - Planning for a Change or Exiting Your Farm Business

November 30, 2021 : Assessing the Financial Ramifications of and Options for Significant Change to Your Farm Business

The inflationary economy is upon us! The huge influx of money into the US economy following the COVID-19 pandemic has manufactured high prices and in turn increased operating costs for farm business thus forcing many businesses into net operating loss situations. Other farms are facing high labor costs or chronic labor shortages.  Some farms have taken on debt loads that make these increased costs unaffordable.  Depending on the stage in the business lifecycle, it may make sense to change enterprises or exit the farming business entirely. 

Join CCE ENYCH Ag Business Educator, Elizabeth Higgins, and CAAHP Ag Business Educator, Dayton Maxwell, for a one-hour program to learn about the financial aspects of changing or exiting a farm business. 

December 7, 2021 : The Family and Emotional Component; Shifting Business Direction and Life After Farming

As farm business enterprises are changed or disbanded, the emotional stress can be tremendous, especially when individuals and family members maintain diminished assurance relative to future security. 

Join Gabriel Gurley and Brenda O'Brien of New York FarmNet for a one-hour program focused on successfully navigating the emotional turmoil of a family farm business transition.

December 14, 2021 : New Venture Creation; Shifting Business Direction and Life After Farming

Change creates opportunity and new opportunities are certain when farm businesses change or end. 

Join Gabriel Gurley of New York FarmNet for a one-hour overview of identifying ways and means to capitalize on new opportunities resulting from farm business transitions.

 

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Remote Produce Safety Alliance Grower Training Course - Dec 2021

December 8 - December 9, 2021

A grower training course developed by the Produce Safety Alliance (PSA) that meets the regulatory requirements of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) for farms subject to the Produce Safety Rule. All farms are welcome to attend to learn about recommended food safety practices for growing, handling, and storing fresh produce. Course registration fee includes a course manual and certificate of course completion by the Association of Food and Drug Officials (AFDO).

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Tax Management for Beginning and Small Farm Businesses

January 18, 2022

Tax Management for Beginning and Small Farm Businesses.

A one-night virtual meeting for beginning and part-time farmers that provides useful tax information enabling participants to be make better tax decisions for their business.   Federal and state income taxes will be covered. Tax regulations specific to NYS will be covered as well. 


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Announcements

2021 SWD Insecticide Quick Guide

Prepare your sprayer and make sure you have the insecticides of choice on hand. Click on the following link for the revised 2021 SWD Insecticide Quick Guide: https://rvpadmin.cce.cornell.edu/uploads/doc_981.pdf

Current recommendations are to use the most effective material you can early in the spray program - even though the population seems small. The strategy is to keep the population small for as long as possible as it's very hard to gain control after the numbers have ballooned.  

USDA Offers Disaster Assistance for Producers

USDA Offers Disaster Assistance for Producers Facing Inclement Weather

Severe weather events create significant challenges and often result in catastrophic loss for agricultural producers. Despite every attempt to mitigate risk, your operation may suffer losses. USDA offers several programs to help with recovery.

Risk Management
For producers who have risk protection through Federal Crop Insurance or the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP), we want to remind you to report crop damage to your crop insurance agent or the local Farm Service Agency (FSA) office.

If you have crop insurance, contact your agency within 72 hours of discovering damage and be sure to follow up in writing within 15 days. If you have NAP coverage, file a Notice of Loss (also called Form CCC-576) within 15 days of loss becoming apparent, except for hand-harvested crops, which should be reported within 72 hours.

Disaster Assistance
USDA also offers disaster assistance programs, which is especially important to livestock, fruit and vegetable, specialty and perennial crop producers who have fewer risk management options.
First, the Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP) and Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybee and Farm-raised Fish Program (ELAP) reimburses producers for a portion of the value of livestock, poultry and other animals that died as a result of a qualifying natural disaster event or for loss of grazing acres, feed and forage. And, the Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP) provides assistance to producers of grazed forage crop acres that have suffered crop loss due to a qualifying drought. Livestock producers suffering the impacts of drought can also request Emergency Haying and Grazing on Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acres.

For LIP and ELAP, you will need to file a Notice of Loss for livestock and grazing or feed losses within 30 days and honeybee losses within 15 days. For TAP, you will need to file a program application within 90 days.

Documentation
It's critical to keep accurate records to document all losses following this devastating cold weather event. Livestock producers are advised to document beginning livestock numbers by taking time and date-stamped video or pictures prior to after the loss.

Other common documentation options include:
- Purchase records
- Production records
- Vaccination records
- Bank or other loan documents
- Third-party certification

Additional Resources
On farmers.gov, the Disaster Assistance Discovery Tool, Disaster-at-a-Glance fact sheet, and Farm Loan Discovery Tool can help you determine program or loan options.

While we never want to have to implement disaster programs, we are here to help. To file a Notice of Loss or to ask questions about available programs, contact the Rensselaer County USDA Service Center @ 518 271 1889 ext. 2. The office is open for business, however due to pandemic restrictions all in-person visits require an appointment.


Resources from CCE ENYCHP!

We are developing new ways to connect with the CCE ENYCHP team this year! We have a Youtube page located at this link. Check out videos on Table Grape Production, Pest Updates and the 20 Minute Ag Manager - in 4 Minutes series

We have a Facebook Page here as well as an Instagram page. We keep these places updated with current projects, events, and other interesting articles and deadlines.

There are also text alerts available. Fruit and vegetable farmers in 17 Eastern NY counties can now receive real time alerts on high risk disease and pest outbreaks texted directly to their cell phone. The Eastern NY Commercial Horticulture program, which is supported by local Cornell Cooperative Extension associations, will now offer text alerts to those that enroll in our program in 2019. 

The text alerts will be reserved for important crop alerts that could impact management decisions immediately. For instance, if there were an outbreak of Late Blight in the area, this would be transmitted to vegetable growers.

Farmers can choose the crop for which they wish to receive updates. Additionally they can request that Ag Business Alerts be sent to them. These alerts might include due dates for crop insurance deadlines, market opportunities etc.

If you have questions, please contact enychp@cornell.edu


Podcasts

FSMA Updates with Gretchen Wall

August 10, 2021
In this episode, Elisabeth Hodgdon discusses news and updates related to FSMA’s Produce Safety Rule with food safety specialist Gretchen Wall. They discuss inspection schedules for the 2021 season, On Farm Readiness Reviews, water testing, new resources available for growers, and more.

Resources:
Records Required by the FSMA Produce Safety Rule, by K. Woods, D. Stoeckel, B. Fick, G. Wall, and E.A. Bihn. This fact sheet includes an explanation of required records as well as printable record templates:
https://producesafetyalliance.cornell.edu/sites/producesafetyalliance.cornell.edu/files/shared/documents/Records-Required-by-the-FSMA-PSR.pdf

Upcoming Remote, Online, and In-Person Produce Safety Alliance Grower Training Courses:
https://producesafetyalliance.cornell.edu/training/grower-training-courses/upcoming-grower-trainings/

Interactive Google map of water testing labs, created by the Northeast Center to Advance Food Safety:
https://www.google.com/maps/d/u/0/viewer?amp%3Busp=sharing&mid=1C8KHM6jJszj9auYQttUbVtPKtb4eEBSJ&ll=41.22288057139939%2C-78.58548244999999&z=5\

Interested in joining the Produce Safety Alliance listserv? Sign up here to receive FSMA updates, notifications of educational opportunities and new resources, and more:
https://producesafetyalliance.cornell.edu/

Contact Information:
To schedule an On Farm Readiness Review or discuss your farm’s FSMA PSR coverage status, contact Steve Schirmer (315-487–0852 or steve.schirmer@agriculture.ny.gov), or Aaron Finley (518-474-5235 or aaron.finley@agriculture.ny.gov).

Episode speakers:
Elisabeth Hodgdon, ENYCHP vegetable specialist: 518-650-5323 or eh528@cornell.edu
Gretchen Wall, Produce Safety Alliance coordinator and Northeast Regional Extension Associate: 607-882-3087 or glw53@cornell.edu

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