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Stop and Smell the Roses

There is always time to stop and smell the roses 🌷

My grandparents always had a massive rose garden. As a kid, I have fond memories of picking roses and watching my grandfather tend to his what seemed like millions rose bushes. My grandma loved to work in the rose garden too, it was always time with the whole family.
My father continued on the same tradition. He had a green thumb for roses and he loved those bushes. When my parents first moved into their house they had 100 roses in their yard. They eventually made a smaller garden, but still spent just as much time caring for those roses. Now, he has a good rose garden of probably 20-30 rose bushes. He used to always pick roses for my mom and bring them inside for her to enjoy. It was always a special little gift he made for her. 
Now we continue his legacy by picking roses and taking them to his grave. I know he was looking down on us this morning as my daughter was playing with his roses. I’m sure he was probably worrying about her…

Protecting our future nuts

We have been lucky to be getting some rain in the last few weeks in the valley and another big storm is expected this weekend. Unfortunately, we had planned to be dormant spraying last week. Meaning long days, and food deliveries to the farm to keep the spray rigs going so we can get back on schedule. We can't complain, we need and want the rain but the timing just always seems to be a little off.
The trees are still sleeping, or what farmers call dormant, so it is perfect timing to spray mineral oil and insect growth regulators before the trees wake up for spring. In just a couple week the trees will begin to push buds and bloom is just around the corner. But for now, we need to get on top of some insects that could harm our trees before they wake up.
Tractor pulls sprayer through the orchard
Scale, is an insect who sucks the sap from the tree. I am sure you have all seen the gum looking sap that tends to ooze out of certain trees. Sap on an almond tree is sugar that helps to create the nut. Scale is easier to manage in the winter and by spraying mineral oil on the trees now it will stop the scale and won't hurt the trees because they are dormant. If scale is allowed to take over, trees will not have enough sugar to create an almond at all. This would leave the tree infested and without almonds. Spraying the trees now also provides for ample coverage of the tree and trunk because there aren't nuts or leaves yet.

While we apply the oil it is also good timing to mix in an insect growth regulator at the same time. The Peach Twig Borer is very active at early nut development and attacks the nut from preventing it to grow. Peach Twig Borer will girdle the twigs of the almond tree and eat the twigs as the form, leaving a farmer with damaged or no nuts at all. By applying the insect growth regulator now before the nuts start to develop we ensure the insect is controlled before nuts form. It is imperative that we apply now before the bees arrive in our field and we keep the bees safe from any harm.
Mixing and loading the spray rigs as they head out into the orchard

With a small window of timing after winter pruning, shaking and polling, we will need to make sure we finish before bees and bloom arrive. Keep praying for rain, but hopefully after we finish our dormant spray!

Until Next Time,
Almond Girl

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