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|Almond Farming (4) by Farmkonnect: 1:28pm On May 30, 2018|
Treating Common Problems
1. Avoid over-watering to prevent root rot. One problem that can affect nearly any tree (including the almond tree) is root rot. This harmful condition is caused mainly by fungi that start to grow on the tree's roots if they're in contact with water for too long. Since root rot can be very tough to treat, the best policy is prevention. Never over-water your tree — any sort of watering that results in standing water around the base of the tree can do much more harm than good.
• To help prevent over-watering, you may want to increase the drainage capability of your soil. This can be done by mixing in plenty of extra hummus or organic matter to give it added permeability. Note that shallow, heavy, and clay-rich soils have especially bad drainage.
• If you have a case of root rot on your hands (usually signified by drought-like symptoms, including yellowing, wilting, and dying leaves), dig up the plant's roots and cut away any dark, slimy patches. If problems persist, dispose of the plant to prevent the fungus from spreading throughout your garden.
2. Practice good weed control. Weeds are not a huge concern for old, established almond trees, but they can be a serious threat to young seedlings. Weeds compete fiercely for the same nutrients, water, and sun as young almond trees. If ignored, weeds can even "strangle" a seedling before it has a chance to grow.
• The best policy for weeds, especially during your plant's first few months, is to start weeding early and often. Try to keep a five or six foot strip along each row of seedlings free of weeds you can use manual methods (like your hands or garden tools) or herbicides to kill the weeds.
• You can use a layer of mulch, or landscaping fabric to control weeds. This works well for small, home orchards.
3. Keep the tree free of mummies to fight navel orange worm. One particularly annoying almond pest is the navel orange worm. Over the winter, this insect shelters in so-called "mummy" nuts — almonds that aren't harvested and are left on the tree into the late fall and winter. Once the spring rolls around, these grubs become active, resulting in damage to the almond crop. The best way to prevent this is simply to get rid of the mummies. Without any place to shelter over the winter, orange worms should not appear, as they cannot penetrate healthy fruits later in the year.
• After the mummies are removed from the tree, be sure to destroy them by mowing. Orange worms can still shelter in intact mummies on the ground.
4. Use Bacillus thuringiensis spray for peach twig borers. Peach twig borers are just what they sound like — small, grub-like insects that bore into stone fruits like peach and almonds. These insects can cause significant damage to almond crops with their feeding, so if you see these pesky bugs (or chewed-up leaves, which can signal their presence), use a pesticide immediately to protect your crop. Bacillus thuringiensis, a bacterial insecticide, is a great choice for killing borers. Time the spray with the spring hatching season to kill the insects before they have a chance to do significant damage.
• In addition to the two examples above, a huge variety of additional pests can potentially attack almond trees — so many, in fact, that it's impossible to list them all here. For more information, use a search engine query for "almond pests" or contact your local garden supply store or a local university's botany department.
• You may also want to learn about integrated pest management. This is a method of controlling pests that combines biological, environmental, and chemical pest management techniques. It is more effective than using one method alone.
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