Harvest is Around the Corner

Summer’s arrival in the central region has brought the first signs of the upcoming harvest. As may be seen in the accompanying photo, the first “blank” kernels have made their appearance along the west side of the Central Valley. Hulls of these empty nuts typically split approximately two weeks prior to normal or “sound” nuts, providing an indication of harvest timing. Currently harvest appears to be running seven to 10 days ahead of last year.

In preparation for the hull split, growers’ efforts during the past month have been focused on irrigation, pest management and fertilization. Windy conditions throughout the valley have kept water consumption rates fairly high, necessitating close monitoring to ensure that irrigation schedules have kept up with the orchards’ needs.

Weed control efforts continue and will intensify as the harvest draws closer. Growers must maintain a clean orchard floor in order to efficiently sweep and pick up the crop during the harvest. Mowers are typically used to maintain the orchards’ “middles,” while herbicide applications are required to ensure clean soil within the tree row.