By Dr. Thomas T. Yamashita
The perennial fruit, nut and vine growers throughout the agronomic world have unnecessarily incurred huge crop losses. For, as far as most of us can remember, we have been told to embrace the basic tenets of horticultural scripture.
The long accepted understanding about flower bud differentiation in crops.
Flower buds for next year’s crop must be differentiated by the end of June of the current season. If your flower bud population is not established by the end of June of the current season, you must make do with that which you see at the end of harvest.
Those who attempted to either increase the potential of the existing bud population and/or possibly differentiate additional flower buds through soil fertilization and foliar nutrition programs were discouraged from such practices due to the damaging repercussions of root disease, bacterial canker, freeze damage and many more maladies that set the fields back and in many cases, destroyed them entirely.
Growers were, thus, encouraged to minimize post-harvest cultural activities to occasional light irrigations and furthermore, from the late 1960s onward, were encouraged to incite defoliation of the trees or vines using sprays with 36% Zinc Sulfate at concentrations of 10 to 15 pounds per 100 gallons of water.
Prior to and during this time period, agricultural advisors advocated the application of 100% of the season’s fertility to be applied during the period of tree or vine physiological dormancy, mid-November to mid-January.
In the majority of cases, the grower used an economical source of fertilizer such as ammonium nitrate, ammonium sulfate, urea, anhydrous ammonia, UAN-32, or manure. While these are economical, cost-effective sources, there are many down sides to each one of these sources.
Fusion 360’s partner lab Sunburst PDC hypothesized and then proved that a most important set of phenomena coincided with Dr. Tom’s long-established theory that alternate bearing was the result of “Energy Deficit Phenomena,” and that these parameters could be adjusted and shifted to help overcome this physiological malady.
Sunburst’s findings regarding flower bud differentiation, energy deficits, and alternate bearing.
- Flower buds can continue to be differentiated, so long as the plant is kept physiologically active in carbon + energy (CE) harvest at a superior level of efficiency such that, among other factors, the CE needs for additional buds are more than met, leaving sufficient reserves for root development and further storage of CE. This CE will be needed for resistance and tolerance responses to pest, pathogen and environmental stress challenges, and provide the energy and nutrition necessary to set and hold the crop until foliage contributions are able to carry the load.
- Thus, bud populations that are deficient for achieving a decent crop the following season can be recovered between harvest and the end of November.
- The inability of growers to achieve the later differentiation of flower buds without incurring various setbacks was directly correlated to the absence of balanced nutrition, for with the use of meticulously delivered balances of minerals and other nutrients, especially designed to:
- Prevent the tree or vine from succumbing to a heat wave. Based on my observations and field plus Greenhouse research, a heat wave is defined as a sudden rise in temperature that exceeds by 10 degrees F or more the previous day’s high temperature. Unless your trees or vines are on a superior nutrient regimen, photosynthetic harvest (PnH) slows down dramatically, in many cases shutting down completely.
- While PnH is dramatically reduced, the reaction that continue to utilize energy, respiration (Rsp), continue and accelerate even more.
- Thus, in light of the two opposing reactions, PnH vs Rsp, we begin to deplete CE reserves and cropping capacity as well as many other desirable attributes such as natural resistance, crop yield and quality factors for both in-season and next season, and many, many more…
- This sensitivity to temperature fluctuations is common to Carbon-3 (C-3) plants, which represent more than 95% of all agronomic species grown in the world. The phenomenon is oftentimes referred to by plant physiologists as ‘photorespiration.’ It is one of the largest, most invisible holes in the wallets of farmers everywhere.
- To minimize the intensity of or to overcome photorespiration entirely is not an easy task. Thus, it is now clear why, for many years, growers and advisors held onto the mistaken opinion that alternate bearing was a phenomenon encoded in the genes of all C-3 plant species.
Physiologically borne maladies of various crops and their relation to alternate bearing.
Remember, even if your tree or vine problems are not directly related to alternate bearing, that the solution to correcting the condition will be based on the same basic tenets of the principles and practices for overcoming alternate bearing.
Although alternate bearing is a very difficult phenomenon to overcome, we have found it to be one that can be carefully reduced to being merely a condition in trees and vines that can be managed. We can get a clearer picture of what the plant must endure when we imagine trying to produce a high quality, commercially viable crop entirely under Mother Nature’s regime and without human intervention.
We would be lucky to produce even 5% of what commercial export standards require. Let’s now take this crop plant and have it suddenly make the transition from hobby-driven, amateur level running to the highest level in the Olympic Games. One would have to make drastic, precise changes in human nutrition, exercise and training, social habits, and adopt a Spartan discipline, just to name a few…
How Fusion 360 can improve the health and productivity of your trees and vines
Let us work closely with your fertilizer and pesticide distributor’s technical staff. We will coordinate with them, and your property will be examined chemically, biologically, and for general appearance. We will then, following review and recategorization of your fields, develop and design a highly sophisticated farming operation that allows your trees and vines to work at an efficiency level never before thought possible nor achievable. This may sometimes require a revamping of your programs, and in other cases, will be defined by numerous minor adjustments.
But, it takes work to get to the top, and greater energies to stay there. The times dictate that we, as farmers, must reach for top yields and top quality. No longer can we rest complacent while sipping on a cup of coffee. We need to gulp down what we can and get out to the field and begin working with the soil and the crop plant with intricate meticulousness.