[NAFEX] tilling for PC control

dmnorton at royaloakfarmorchard.com dmnorton at royaloakfarmorchard.com
Wed May 6 19:11:05 EDT 2009


There was a study conducted at Michigan State a while back on the reproductive development of  lab-reared PC and field collected PC to examine the relationship of degree day accumulation and female reproductive development.  The overall goal was to generate an objective model for predicting damage potential that could be applied to apples rather tan relying on biofix models.  The result was that PC are well adapted to take advantage of various oviposition resources.  Females are able to lay eggs well in advance fruit set in apples, cherries and plums.  According to the study,  this ultimately that protective tactics must be in place in advance of fruit set.  It also meant that if protection failed by ill timing of controls, PC populations are virtually guaranteed to be in fruit.  This fruit generally drops beginning with June drop and can continue to drop throughout the growing season.  The study recommended, as just one of several controls, the removal or mild tillage of dropped fruit as a post harvest (1300 - 1900 DD) cultural practice to remove any pupae that might overwinter in the soil. 

Since we use a Weed Badger I carried this recommendation several steps further by simply making sure that our monthly tree row tillage was carried out in conjunction with June drop as well as a final post harvest tillage in late fall.  We have all of our drops picked up throughout harvest as a cultural practice, but still use tillage as another step since we were going to be doing a late tillage for scab to chop up the tree leaves in the tree rows anyway.  A urea spray is recommended by some in late fall as a step in scab control, but tilling is cheaper and we do the urea spray in early spring with our foliar program instead.  So mild tillage in late fall can not only benefit a PC program, but scab as well.  Just another tool in the arsenal!

Dennis Norton
Oak Farm Orchard
Office (815) 648-4467
Mobile (815) 228-2174
Fax (609) 228-2174
  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Alan Haigh 
  To: nafex at lists.ibiblio.org 
  Sent: Wednesday, May 06, 2009 6:34 AM
  Subject: [NAFEX] tilling for PC control

  Dennis, you are generally quite research oriented so I wonder if you have also seen controlled studies demonstrating the benefits of well timed tilling for PC control.  Your faith in it may be well founded in terms of how it works where you are but in the northeast we have trees like amelanchier in nearby woods that are very attractive to PC and I have read that they travel fast and far.  I strongly doubt it would have any affect here on smaller non-commercial orchards where I assume most of the weevils come from afar.

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