Posts Tagged: pomegranate
If you are interested in growing pomegranates while maximizing water and nitrogen use efficiency, you may want to register for a meeting that will be held at Kearney on October 2, 2014.
Individuals interested in growing pomegranates with surface or subsurface drip irrigation are invited to attend a meeting at Kearney Agricultural Research & Extension Center (KARE) on October 2, 2014, to learn about improving pomegranate fertigation and nitrogen use efficiency. To attend, a reservation made with Diana Nix at 559-46-6500, extension 0, is required.
The field day will share the results of a fertigation study at KARE that uses high frequency drip and subsurface drip irrigation/fertigation systems. Check in is at 9:30 am, presentations start at 10:00 am, and the tour of the research plot begins at 11:00 am. The meeting will adjourn at noon.
The agenda includes:
- Introduction, objectives, orchard configuration and operation
- Evapotranspiration, crop coefficient and lysimeter management
- Yields, water use efficiency, and nitrogen use efficiency
- Soil matric potential measurements and hydraulic gradient calculations in the subsurface drip irrigated lysimeter
- Tissue responses to high frequency injected nitrogen at three levels of nitrogen
- Canopy cover and leaf chlorophyll measurements
- Conclusions and questions
For additional information, please contact Kevin R. Day, UC Cooperative Extension advisor in Tulare County, specializing in fresh-shipping deciduous tree fruits, cultural practices and production, fruit growth and development, pruning and training systems, at 559-684-3311, or Claude J. Phene, President of SDI Plus, at 559-298-0201.
Freshly harvested pomegranates in a bin.
It was definitely a hot spot.
Honey bees foraging last week on a pomegranate tree on Hopkins Road, west of the UC Davis main campus, competed for food on hundreds of blossoms.
We counted five honey bees on one blossom alone in what amounted to a pushing/shoving match.
Most of the bees probably came from the nearby apiary at the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility on Bee Biology Road, off Hopkins Road.
The pomegranate is an ancient fruit and the honey bee is an ancient insect. Millions of years ago, they grew up together in the Mediterranean region of southern Europe. European colonists brought the honey bee to our Eastern coast (Jamestown colony) in 1622; honey bees finally arrived in California in 1853. The pomegranate trees were introduced to California in 1769.
Five honey bees on one pomegranate blossom. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Four honey bees on one pomegranate blossom. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Two bees on one pomegranate blossom, and about to be three. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
When you first see the leaffooted bug, you know immediately how it got its name.
The appendages on its feet look like leaves!
This morning we saw one in our catmint (Nepeta) patch. It crawled beneath the tiny leaves, sharing space with honey bees, European wool carder bees, butterflies and assorted spiders.
Tonight scores of them stormed our pomegranate tree. In fact, they made the immature fruit their kitchen, living room and bedroom.
Although the leaffooted bug (Leptoglossus clypealis) is a pest of pistachios and almonds, we've never seen it on our pomegranate tree until today. Our tree, planted in 1927--back when Herbert Hoover was the U.S. president--has few pests. One year white flies attacked it mercilessly. Tonight leaffooted bugs claimed squatters' rights.
The adult bug is about an inch long with a white or yellow zigzag across its back. Shades of Zorro! Its most distinctive feature, however, are the leaflike appendages on its feet.
Back in 2009, integrated pest management specialist Frank Zalom, professor of entomology at the University of California, Davis, co-authored UC IPM Pest Management Guidelines on the leaffooted bug as it pertains to almonds. Zalom and his colleagues called attention to their needlelike mouthparts. The adults feed on young nuts "before the shell hardens." And after the nut is developed, "leaffooted bug feeding can still cause black spots on the kernel or wrinkled, misshapen nutmeats."
As for our pomegranate tree, we're not sure how well these leaffooted bugs can probe the tough, leathery fruit.
We open the pomegranates with a serrated knife...
Close-up of leaffooted bug. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Leaffooted bugs making pomegranates their kitchen, living room and bedroom. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Beady eyes, colorful antennae and appendages on its feet that look like leaves. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
UC Integrated Pest Management Program entomologist Walt Bentley opened the meeting with an overview of the crop's most serious insect pests. Bentley suggested growers focus on omnivorous leaf rollers and cotton aphids. Ash whiteflies had been a pomegranate problem in the 1980s, until UC scientists introduced a natural enemy, encarsia, in 1991.
"This was an amazing biological control success," Bentley said.
Bentley admonished growers to protect the beneficial insects on their farms.
"Ash whitefly will eat you alive if you take encarsia away," he said.
Today, omnivorous leaf rollers are the key pomegranate pests. They move into the crop from weedy areas, feed on leaves, and unlike in grapes and peaches, will also feed inside pomegranate fruit.
"If you're not monitoring for it with pheromone traps you're going to get stung and it will cost you money," Bentley said. He suggested traps be placed in orchards in February.
Another important pest of pomegranates, cotton aphids, reduces crop yields and contaminates the fruit by excreting honeydew. Bentley described crop protection strategies for these pests plus ants, fork-tailed bush katydids, grape mealybug, false chinch bug, leaf-footed plant bug, citrus flat mite, navel orangeworm and filbert worm.
Kearney plant pathologist Themis Michailides presented research results from his lab on black heart disease of pomegranates. Black heart is of particular concern because it causes no external symptoms; consumers who encounter the unappealing blackened fruit inside may be reluctant to try pomegranates again in the future. The research focuses on the identification of the fungus species that cause black heart, understanding the infection process, and developing procedures to manage the disease. Michailides has concluded that the main cause of black heart is Alternaria spp., fungi that are very abundant in nature and cause diseases in many crops. Further research was conducted to determine when infections take place in order to properly time the management application.
"We found that the 'Achilles heel' for infection by Alternaria is the open pomegranate flowers," Michailides said. "Amazingly, infections start at bloom, remain latent in the fruit and develop later in season as the fruit matures."
Among Moersfelder's favorites are Parfianka, a well balanced, sweet-tart pomegranate with excellent grenadine flavor and soft seeds, and Ariana, which has deep red rind and dark red arils. The darkest variety in the Davis collection is Kara-Gul, a cultivar from Azerbaijian. This variety, however, is more susceptible to heart rot. Moersfelder also characterized spice type pomegranates from the Western Himalayas, which are dried and used as condiments in Indian food, and ornamental varieties, many of which produce beautiful flowers but no fruit.
The meeting was organized by UC Cooperative Extension farm advisors Maxwell Norton, Bob Beede, and Richard Molinar.
As a child growing up in Washington state, I received an entomological nickname.
My father, in a take-off of the name, Kate, affectionately called me "Katydid."
Katy did. Katy didn't.
Maybe Katy did. Maybe Katy didn't.
Whatever, I've always loved the sounds of katydids performing their nighttime concerts, or rather, their mating calls. (Listen to the sounds; lean back, close your eyes, and you can almost hear "Katy did. Katy didn't.")
Scientists classify katydids in the phylum Arthropoda, class Insecta, order Orthoptera, and family Tettigoniidae.
Agriculturists consider them pests; stone fruit growers try to eradicate them from their orchards.
So, was I surprised last week to see a katydid tucked inside one of our pomegranate blossoms. Honey bees, yes. Leafcutter bees, yes. Sweat bees, yes.
But a katydid?
At first glance, the green critter resembled an exotic Walt Disney cartoon character: long, awkward-looking hind legs; long, threadlike antennae; and beady eyes.
Yes, a katydid. A juvenile.
Maybe, just maybe, we'll someday hear the sounds of "Katy did. Katy didn't."
Maybe Katy will. Maybe Katy won't.