Missouri State University
What's happening in the field?
At the Missouri State Fruit Experiment Station

Setting up overhead irrigation in the high tunnel

We are getting ready to plant larkspur seed and lettuce transplants in the high tunnel. We are going to plant one bed in the middle of the space to observe how vegetable harvest coincides with the raspberries that were planted in bags last year being moved back into the tunnel for production. Randy, Jeremy and Amanda are setting up the overhead irrigation sprinklers that hang from a wire overhead. The larkspur seed was planted and watered in after the 13-13-13 fertilizer was tilled in at the rate of 1 pound per 100 square feet.

Randy )left), Amanda and Jeremy install the hanging sprinklers to a hose suspended overhead.
Randy )left), Amanda and Jeremy install the hanging sprinklers to a hose suspended overhead. The sprinklers are spaced 3 feet apart down the hose.

 

First the sprinkler head is attached to the spaghetti  tube.
First the sprinkler head is attached to the spaghetti tube.
Here is the assembled sprinkler.
Here is the assembled sprinkler.
Jeremy punches a hole in the suspended hose.
Jeremy punches a hole in the suspended hose.
The sprinkler is inserted into the hose using the weight to help push it in.
The sprinkler is inserted into the hose using the weight to help push it in.
The sprinklers are spaced 3 feet apart and the weight holds them down. The sprinklers more than cover the intended area.
The weight holds them down and in place. The sprinklers covered the intended area more than adequately.
Posted in High Tunnel | Comments Off

Grape pruning of the winter hardy cultivars

We are pruning the winter hardy cultivars of grapes first and will prune the less hardy cultivars later in the winter. Dr. Anson Elliott decided to check on the pruning progress on this bright and sunny day. Randy, Aaron, Manny and Kellis were pruning the Norton block in the Research Vineyard while Shelia and Jeremy were taking wood weights in the Catawba block. After the Norton block is complete, they will move into the Catawbas.

The pruning crew is working on the Norton vines in the Research Vineyard.
The pruning crew is working on the Norton vines in the Research Vineyard.
Manny shows Dr. Elliott how he selects spurs that originate close to the cordon.
Manny shows Dr. Elliott how he selects spurs that originate close to the cordon.
Shelia and Jeremy are taking the wood weights in the Catawba block. The wood weights help determine the number of buds to leave on the vines.
Shelia and Jeremy are taking the wood weights in the Catawba block. The wood weights help determine the number of buds to leave on the vines.
Posted in Grapes | Comments Off

Happy retirement to Pam

Pam Mayer is retiring from the State Fruit Experiment Station after 28 years of service. Many nice things were said, the common thread being how we will all miss her work, her work ethic and her willingness to help. We are all wondering how we will be able to manage without her!

Happy retirement thoughts!
Happy retirement thoughts! Photo by Alicia Mosier.
Dr. Elliott expresses appreciation for Pam's excellent work at the State Fruit Experiment Station.
Dr. Elliott expresses appreciation for Pam’s excellent work at the State Fruit Experiment Station. Photo by Alicia Mosier.
Dr. Hwang livens things up!
Dr. Hwang livens things up! Photo by Alicia Mosier.
We will all miss Pam, but wish her the best in her retirement years.
We will all miss Pam, but wish her the best in her retirement years. Photo by Alicia Mosier.
Dr. Elliott and Pam Mayer stand together for a photo in the Paul Evans Library of Fruit Science.
Dr. Elliott and Pam Mayer stand together for a photo in the Paul Evans Library of Fruit Science.
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Holiday Party at the MSU Fruit Experiment Station

We had our delicious holiday lunch today in Faurot Hall. Folks from main campus, Journagan Ranch and the Fruit Experiment Station exchanged dirty Santa gifts and enjoyed the feast.

Our annual group photo.
Our annual group photo.
Dr. Elliott gives a fireside chat.
Dr. Elliott gives a fireside chat.
Chin Feng, Karl and C.J. compete in the annual tacky tie contest.
Chin Feng, Karl and C.J. compete in the annual tacky tie contest.
Wenping won two purses in the dirty Santa gift giving (and stealing).
Wenping won two purses in the dirty Santa gift giving (and stealing).
Here is the back corner bunch.
Here is the back corner bunch.
Fruit stationers.
Our Fruit Station folks.
More fruit stationers.
And more Fruit Station folks.
The Darr group.
Our main campus group.
C.J. and Mike.
C.J. and Mike.
Dessert time.
Dessert time.
The laboratory lads and lasses.
The laboratory lads and lasses (and Clayton).
Steven and Pam.
Steven and Pam.
Sally and Pam.
Sally and Pam.
Shelia and Amanda (otherwise known as the "A" team.)
Shelia and Amanda (otherwise known as the “A” team.)
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Putting the raspberries to bed for winter

Yesterday we collected pruning weight data on the “High Tunnel Production Rotation of Primocane Bearing Raspberries in Grow Bags” project funded through the USDA Specialty Crops Block Grant Program. Today we moved the raspberries out of the high tunnel to the field and then protected them from winter cold with straw mulch.

Here are the raspberries in grow bags after the canes have been cut down.
Here are the raspberries in grow bags after the canes have been cut down.
The bags are pulled out of the rows.
The bags are pulled out of the rows. The bags are marked with cow ear tags color coded to experimental block. The tag also is marked with location in the row and cultivar identity.
The raspberry roots grew out of the bottom of sides of the grow bag. This did not damage the grow bag.
Kellis holds us a grow bag to show that the roots grew out the bottom on the sides. This did not damage the grow bag.
Roots even grew from bag to bag where the bags were touching each other.
Roots even grew from bag to bag where the bags were touching each other.
Manny leads the train moving the bags from the tunnel to the field.
Manny leads the train moving the bags from the tunnel to the field.
Straw bales are placed around the bags for winter protection.
Straw bales are placed around the bags for winter protection.
About 4 to 6 inches of straw is fluffed up and put over the top of the grow bags.
About 4 to 6 inches of straw is fluffed up and put over the top of the grow bags.
We finished this task quickly with all of our crew. (Left) Kellis, Jeremy, Shelia, Manny, Amanda, Aaron and Randy.
We finished this task quickly with all of our crew. (Left) Kellis, Jeremy, Shelia, Manny, Amanda, Aaron and Randy.
Posted in Alternative crops, High Tunnel | Comments Off

Taking dormant season data for raspberry project

Today we are collecting dormant season data from the “High Tunnel Production Rotation of Primocane Bearing Raspberries in Grow Bags” project funded through the USDA Specialty Crops Block Grant Program. We needed to strip leaves since they did not fall yet. The number of bearing canes and the pruning weight per replication were collected.

First the catch twine was removed from the trellis.
Shelia Long (left) and Amanda Gonzales first remove the catch twine from the trellis.
Then the leaves were stripped since they didn't fall on their own.
Then the leaves were stripped since they didn’t fall on their own.
The canes that bore fruit were counted.
The canes that bore fruit were counted.
Canes were cut out from the grow bags after they were counted.
Canes were then cut out from the grow bags.
The cut canes from each replication were weighed and the weights were recorded.
The cut canes from each replication were weighed and the weights were recorded.
Posted in Alternative crops, High Tunnel | Comments Off

A marcescent fall is when the leaves don’t drop

We are waiting (and waiting) for the apple leaves to fall in order to begin pruning – but it just isn’t happening. If deciduous trees don’t drop their leaves as they should, we say we have a marcescent falll. Marcescent means the trees hold their leaves into winter. It is often triggered by a sudden change from warm to cold temperatures during the fall. Trees prepare for winter by absorbing nutrients from the leaves to store over winter. At the same time they to form an abscission layer at the base of the petiole or leaf stalk to enable the leaf to break away from the tree after the nutrients have been absorbed. If warm weather changes quickly to cold, it can kill green leaves before the abscission layer has formed and the leaves are “stuck” on the tree. They will eventually become unstuck, but this will take considerably more time.

These apple trees have not dropped their leaves yet as they were not able to produce an abscission layer at the base of the petiole.
These apple trees have not dropped their leaves yet as they were not able to produce an abscission layer at the base of the petiole.
You can see these leaves were green when they froze and died without dropping.
You can see these leaves were green when they froze and died without dropping.
Posted in Apples, Weather | Comments Off

Symptom on Polka primocane bearing raspberry

We finished harvesting the primocane bearing raspberries in grow bags on October 31 for the trial funded by the USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant Program. We noted symptoms of a disorder on the Polka variety, but not on the other varieties in the trial (Josephine, Crimson Giant, Himbo Top, and Joan J.)

Dr. Courtney Weber, Associate Professor and Small Fruits Breeder at Cornell University – NYSAES was consulted about this problem and he mentioned that he had seen this before and it was fairly typical on the Polka variety later in the season. It may possibly be the natural senescence pattern of Polka leaves and does not seem to affect the long term performance of the plantings.

Leaf curl and discoloration of Polka raspberry at the end of the growing season October 30, 2014.
Leaf curl and discoloration of Polka raspberry at the end of the growing season October 30, 2014.
Top side of affected Polka leaf.
Top side of affected Polka leaf.
Underside of affected Polka leaf.
Underside of affected Polka leaf.

 

Posted in High Tunnel | Comments Off

Replacing missing grapevines

It is important to replace any missing vines in a vineyard so that you maintain maximum productivity. This morning, Ryan Wilson worked with Amanda Gonzales to the Foundation vineyard and note missing and weak grapevines. Ryan and Amanda are students working on their practicum requirements for VIN 111 in the Vesta Online Grape and Wine Program http://www.vesta-usa.org/.

In the afternoon, Ryan worked with Shelia Long, a field and maintenance employee at the State Fruit Experiment Station. Shelia and Ryan collected dormant hardwood cuttings of Vidal Blanc in the Virus Indexed Foundation Vineyard. The cuttings will be put in cold storage and then placed in rooting beds in January. These cuttings will be used to produce vines that will fill in missing spots in the vineyard.

They also selected and buried layers, long canes from a vine adjacent to an empty spot. Part of the cane is buried while still attached to the mother. The buried portion of the layer will root and next spring. The buds on the far side of the mother plant that come up out of the ground will break and grow a new vine next season. This strategy can be used to fill empty places in vineyard where vines are own rooted.

Ryan Wilson and Shelia Long collect dormant hardwood cuttings of Vidal Blanc grapevine to use to plant in locations where plants are missing.
Ryan Wilson and Shelia Long collect dormant hardwood cuttings of Vidal Blanc grapevine to use to plant in locations where plants are missing.
Shelia chooses a long cane from a vine adjacent a miss and tags it with yellow flag.
Shelia chooses a long cane from a vine adjacent a miss to use as a layer and tags it with yellow flag.
A hole is dug where the vine needs to be replaced and the layer is bent down and set in the hole. There are buds on the far side of the cane that come up out of the ground opposite the mother vine.
A hole is dug where the vine needs to be replaced and the layer is bent down and set in the hole. Note the buds on the far side of the cane(left next to post) that come up out of the ground opposite the mother vine.
The layer is covered with soil and the soil is tamped down.
The layer is covered with soil and the soil is tamped down.
The layer is all set to root and produce a new vine next year. It will remain attached to the mother plant during the next growing season and will be detached from the mother vine in the next dormant season.
The layer is all set to root and produce a new vine next year. It will remain attached to the mother plant during the next growing season and will be detached from the mother vine in the next dormant season.
Posted in Grapes, Students | Comments Off

End of the growing season

I expect the grape leaves will fall since the low temperature predicted for today may be in the 20s.

GDD base 50 accumulated since April 1 = 3556
http://agebb.missouri.edu/weather/reports/gddTable.asp

Here is a comparison of the GDD base 50 accumulation for the past several years.

Year GGD accumulation base 50 April 1 to Oct 31
2014 3556
2013 3435
2012 4064*
2011 3853

*Early grape bud burst in March – 4370 GDD in season if March is counted

(Grape bud burst usually occurs around April 1)

Posted in Grapes, Phenology | Comments Off