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Audio ActualityAn almond farmer's comments about almond pollination
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» February 27, 2007 «
They'll be watching both the skies and the thermometer carefully in coming days. California almond farmers say cool, rainy weather now could affect this summer's crops. Almond trees depend on bees to pollinate their blossoms, and the trees are in bloom now. But bees won't fly if temperatures stay below about 55 degrees, and they don't like rain, either. Farmers say there's a strong bloom that indicates a big almond crop, if it can be pollinated.
By checking every load of nursery plants that enters the county, Napa County agricultural officials work to keep their area free of an insect that threatens vineyard health. That aggressive inspection program led to discovery of an adult glassy-winged sharpshooter on a plant shipped to a retail nursery in the county. The shipment was returned to its Orange County origin. It was the first time a live, adult sharpshooter had been found in Napa County, where winegrapes dominate agricultural production.
Trying to keep an invasive weed out of commercial farms, the state Department of Food and Agriculture has made money available to counties to fight infestations of Japanese dodder. The plant is a yellowish, spaghetti-sized vine that can choke the life out of host plants. Dodder has been found in 120 sites throughout California, but 80 of those are in Sacramento County. It is not known how the invasive plant entered the state.
Heavy wood on the outer part of date palms protected the tender, inner part of the trees from damage during last month's cold temperatures. Workers who have been pruning the trees have reported no damage from the freeze. At this time of year, the workers prune dead wood from the date palms to prepare the trees for pollination. That process usually starts in May. The California Date Commission says farmers sold about 20 million pounds of dates last year.Top