The New Year plans

Well first up on my plan is a holiday and making sure it’s a good one. Even in these COVID times we can still make the time to get a good break.

For many of us it’s off to the beach or the bush. A great opportunity to take time and contemplate the year ahead.
While we are away there are still plenty of actions happening on the orchard. Yes, the fruit is still growing, harvesting is still under way and bugs and pests are still growing, too.

Looking at the bug situation, pests continue to grow in this warm weather.

Some like six spotted mite (SSM) don’t have a large presence in the very hot weather, however as temps cool into the late summer SSM starts to increases its numbers.

Last year, north of Katikati out on the peninsulas, I saw a large number of trees suffering under crop loading and dryness, then SSM hit with aggression resulting in many trees defoliating.

Now is a good time to start observing for six spotted mite. Normally during the height of the summer heat SSM numbers drop, however recently we have seen numbers stabilise and ramp up during the later summer months.

SSM is proving difficult to control in some areas. Trees that are under crop load pressure or are stressed from poor health present themselves as highly susceptible to SSM impact – leaf defoliation.

I recently went to a meeting on SSM and there has been a larger than usual impact across the Bay from SSM in avocados.

The heavy crop loads and drought stress in late summer impact avocado trees, placing them under more stress and making them more susceptible to SSM. SSM levels were at levels hard to control.

We used all sorts of tactics and it is again recommended you look at the beneficials in your orchards and that you use targeted spraying chemicals rather than some of the broad spectrum types.

There was also discussion on the avogreen monitoring cycle. It was accepted that monitoring too closely may give a false reading in that it is better to monitor three weeks after a SSM spray.

Tactics to reduce the SSM levels include spray chemical rotation, remembering we only have two chemical families to rotate, keep cover on the ground and reduce dust, good spray application, reduce speed increase volume litres per hectare.

Other than that grab a sun lounger head to the shade, put your feet up and watch the world drift by.


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