What is top of mind for you to do in the orchard in the next few weeks?
Hedging and pruning in the blocks that have been harvested already. A heavy pruning will be done in the blocks that were quite light this season as we are anticipating a heavy flowering for next season.
Herbicide applications to resume in harvested blocks.
Basal fertilizer will start to be applied in blocks with under-tree irrigation. The blocks on drip irrigation will start to receive their fertilizer requirements closer to the onset of spring.
Is there any pest or disease that you are targeting now or preparing for in the next few weeks?
Pruning to remove dead wood in blocks that had black spot this season.
Copper applications in lemons for black spot protection where there is sufficient young fruit to warrant control. We will also be looking at controlling citrus thrip in this fruit when necessary.
How has the harvest been progressing and implications for next season?
The harvest of the Low seeded Murcott is about to start and these will lead into the traditional Murcott. Fruit size in general looks to be quite good although there are bound to be some blocks where there is too much small fruit because of the block not being thinned enough.
There looks to be different fruit maturities in some of the blocks because of the prolonged flowering back in October. This will have to be managed during harvest.
Climate update and outlook
Dry conditions have prevailed with no rain reported during the past month throughout the growing districts of Queensland.
Maximum and minimum temperatures have been consistent with long term averages.
Bureau of Meteorology forecast are currently for a warmer and drier winter.
Crop status and management
The harvest of all early season varieties has now been completed.
Low seeded Murcott’s will be the next variety to commence harvest and this is likely to start during the week of 25th July. The harvest of this variety would be in line with what would be considered “normal”.
Lemons are continuing to flower with an “out of season” crop with some blocks showing a considerable flowering for this time of the year. Some of this flowering may be subjected to frost damage from the cold conditions being experienced at present.
Pruning and hedging in the early season varieties is well underway.
Pest, diseases and weeds
Citrus thrips are still requiring control in blocks that have fruit in the susceptible size range.
Emperor brown spot levels remain reasonably low. Pressure from this disease is likely to remain low if the dry conditions continue.
Queensland fruit fly numbers remain low, however a baiting schedule of once per week should continue in all remaining varieties.
Broad mite has been detected in the odd lemon block with small fruit, however this remains quite isolated at this stage.
This Seasonal Update for Queensland has been prepared by Mal Wallis, CitriCare