Almond Bloom Approaches Rapidly
As we rapidly approach bloom season in almonds, the trees are accumulating the last of their chill hours. Growers typically prepare for bloom to happen around Valentine’s Day, and this year they are anticipating a fast bloom.
“The almond trees could go from five percent bloom to 100 percent bloom within ten to fourteen days,” says James Schaeffer, Helena Product Specialist for the Western Division.
In average conditions, two to three bloom applications are made – the first at 10-25 percent bloom and again from 80-100 percent bloom. Depending on moisture and disease pressure, a fungicide will drive the application, along with vital foliar nutritionals.
“Applications of calcium, boron and zinc are made to supplement the reserves the tree is pulling and make sure the trees can produce strong, viable flowers,” says Schaeffer. “In addition, to prepare for pollination of those flowers, growers have already placed their bee boxes out in their orchards.”
Looking back at 2021, bloom season was very dry so there were not as many opportunities for fungicide applications. Many were hoping for above average precipitation this winter, but the region is already experiencing temperatures in the 70s. During bloom, growers will be keeping an eye out for flower diseases and soil-borne pathogens. Once leaves start developing, they will also be watching for insect pressure.
“Last year was dry and dusty, and we had a lot of mites,” says Schaeffer. “Plus, water allocations during the summer months are not guaranteed. It is really important that we start the season strong since we don’t know what will happen the rest of the year. So, growers are really focused right now on flower production, pollination with bees and early foliar nutrition.”
As we move past bloom, nitrogen will become critical in the spring months. In addition, with commodity fertilizers prices on the rise and in short supply, fertilizer efficiency is more important than ever. Growers are unsure of their inputs this year, and bloom will be important when making decisions for the year. If growers don’t have to make as many applications early, they can add additional nitrogen applications in season, depending on tissue samples.
“With products like Coron, we can reduce the amount of soil-applied fertilizer used while achieving the same results or better,” says Schaeffer. “The first shot of nitrogen will happen at spring flush. Then we will take tissue samples and determine application recommendations for the next shot of nitrogen at shell hardening. We want to ensure the trees are getting the proper nutrition at the right time.”
To create your Almond Wise plan for the season, contact your local Helena representative.