Below the surface of the soil, where plant roots are meant to thrive and provide a healthy support system, is the place to start your orchard health program. “Root health is a basic necessity impacting orchard health for many years. Sustainability, production and growth are all compromised by poor root health,” says Rob Kiss, Bayer Customer Business Advisor in central California. Providing a healthy environment for tree roots preserves orchard health and productivity. California almond grower Steve Sheuber also focuses on the importance of maintaining healthy roots. “Root health is such a basic necessity to any crop. Growers can’t have good yields, fruit quality or tree health without it.”
Sampling and Monitoring
Nematodes reduce vigor and yield in tree nuts, causing 15 to 20 percent yield loss on average but sometimes as much as 50 percent.1
With permanent crops like almonds, one of the biggest threats to tree root systems is destructive nematode species that feed on them, leaving trees struggling to take up sufficient nutrients and water. Whether the trees in an orchard are young or new re-plants or mature, growers should consider soil sampling for nematode levels and continue to monitor for diseases that can also erode root health.
According to the California Department of Food and Agriculture, nematodes reduce vigor and yield in tree nuts, causing 15 to 20 percent yield loss on average but sometimes as much as 50 percent.
Nematode populations can rebuild over two or three years, threatening the health of maturing trees.
Growers have lost many tools they need to control soil pests, Scheuber says. Restrictions on soil fumigant use due to air quality concerns makes pre-plant soil fumigation less likely to be an option for controlling nematodes. In addition, nematode populations in soil can rebuild over two or three years, threatening the health of maturing trees, and additional applications to suppress nematodes after fumigations are necessary.
Nematicides and some insecticides are reliable post-plant protection against nematodes. “Research shows annual applications, as trees establish root systems, can add to crop yields”, says Kiss.
Fostering Root Health
Nematicide and Insecticide Solutions
Velum® One is a nematicide that can be easily applied via drip and microjet chemigation around root flush timings to protect new root growth from nematode damage. Velum One is active against a wide range of nematodes and has been shown to protect root health and help establish the crop. Trials conducted in California showed that, on average, young almond orchards treated with Velum One saw improved canopy diameter by more than half (58%), as well as improvement in yield.
“The Velum One application did a great job of lowering nematode levels where soil tests indicated problems.”
– Steve Scheuber, California almond grower
Movento® insecticide can be applied as an in-season foliar spray. It moves through the leaves, down to the roots, protecting the roots from the effects of nematode feeding.
Two-year trials showed that applications of Movento in established orchards helped result in 85% suppression of ring nematodes and reduced root lesion nematodes by more than half in almonds.
Serenade ASO can be an effective solution to help almond growers control Phytophthora root rot.
Almond growers who used Serenade® ASO after winter rains found its multiple modes of action effective against soil-borne pathogens and acting as a root health activator. By colonizing the roots, Serenade ASO can change the interaction between the soil and the plant which helps improve soil health and plant nutrient uptake. It can also be an effective solution to help almond growers control Phytophthora root rot.
Making sure the root systems are protected from soil diseases and pests will give trees every chance to produce up to their full potential and ensure the long-term vigor and health of your orchard.
Find out more about what Bayer Root Health Solutions can do for you:
1California Department of Food and Agriculture 2015 Specialty Crop Block Grant Program Project Abstracts.
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