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Why Is Almond Orchard Sanitation So Very Important?

    Orchard sanitization for mummies

    Mummies in almond orchard, sound scary, right? Yes, if they are there, it can be scary and very damaging for the upcoming almond crop.

    Ok, that’s enough with the scary intro. Let’s talk about what mummies are and what can be done to minimize the mummy count and potential mummy damage in almond orchards.

    What are mummies in almond orchard?

    Mummies in almond orchard are nuts which remain in the tree after almond harvest. In this blog post we are talking specifically about mummies in almond orchards. But mummies (unharvested nuts and fruit) can be found in another tree crops as well. For almonds, mummy is the fuzzy, green outer hull with the kernel still inside. The kernel inside becomes a desirable food source for certain orchard pests.

    Almond orchard sanitation

    While modern technologies are emerging which help with almond orchard sanitation, the proven “Mummy Shake” remains the best option for orchard sanitation.

    Mummy shaking is done during orchard dormancy. Dormancy is the period in the winter – November through January – after almond trees lose their leaves and the orchard is resting and regenerating nutrients for next year’s crop. Dormancy ends around late-January or early-February. That is when buds begin swelling on each tree branch in preparation for bloom.

    During dormancy almond farmers are doing the “Mummy Shake” to sanitize their orchards. Almond mummy shaking is done with the same equipment (shakers) as it is for harvest. The goal is to remove the remaining nuts (mummies) from the trees, sweep them towards the middle of tree rows and mulch them. Mummy removal can also be done manually by hand poling. It is important that all mummies are removed from the trees and destroyed.

    Here are Integrated Pest Management (IPM) recommendations on how to inspect almond orchards for mummy count.

    Why we need to sanitize almond orchards

    Because of that nasty little Navel Orangeworm (NOW). Navel Orangeworm is a pest which we want to control in our orchards. In simple words it is like weeding our gardens. If we don’t eliminate the weeds, soon they will overgrow and suppress the crop.

    Because of the nutrition that mummy nuts provide, navel orangeworm females will lay eggs on them and that will be a beginning of new cycle. Reducing mummy nut counts during dormancy will break the navel orangeworm populations and will slow the regeneration cycle. Navel orangeworm count needs to be constantly controlled by sanitation and spray applications. If navel orageworm is out of control, it impacts spray costs and yields. While almond orchard sanitation is not cheap, if left un-sanitized, the crop losses will be much greater.

    AgNote cannot directly help with almond orchard sanitation, but it can help with permanent crop activity and cost tracking. If you would like to find out more on how AgNote’s farm management software can help, please register for free seven-day trial.