It does not interfere with photosynthesis; in fact, sprayed trees
performed better in all parameters. It will probably even indirectly
improve the soil over the long run.
Conventional spray equipment can be used. However, many growers
will want to add a scrubber/washer to their post harvest equipment to
remove any clay dust residue (although this residue is not
considered harmful, it might be considered unsightly by many
consumers). In some areas, rainfall will be enough to "weather-off"
Dr. Puterka is cautious in making claims about this product. But as a
grower and researcher that has been investigating organic apple
production for 19 years, I have never been more excited.
Puterka expresses some concern over adoption of this technology. He
says that the frequency of sprays (7-10 days in high rainfall areas)
and the volume of material necessary (many lbs. per 100 gal. water)
will deter adoption by some. And, again, he resists making sweeping
claims about this new technology. Neverthless, for organic growers
especially, this promises to revolutionize apple growing. At worst
we will have a new material better than anything we've had previously
for organic control of the plum curculio and other insect and mite
pests. At best, we will have ONE material, that in combination with
other sound horticultural practices (cultivar choice, pruning, weed
control, etc., etc.), will finally allow us to economically produce
organic apples in the East.
It appears that this material will ONLY be available this year in
Washington and Oregon, but probably everywhere in 2000.
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