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What could be hatching in the soil right now?

Posted by Eliza Greenman 
What could be hatching in the soil right now?
August 15, 2015 01:01AM
Hi All,

I have a handful of American Guinea Hogs in the orchard right now and as of yesterday they started rooting when moved to the "paula red" segment of orchard. They normally don't root right off the bat, and will only do so when they have exhausted the leafy matter. There are plenty of apples and good forage for them to eat, yet they seem to be eating bugs right now. I can't get in there to figure it out, because they all run in to me for belly rubs when I get too close.

This has me wondering if something is hatching right now in the soil and making its way up?

Any ideas? Any resources for me to investigate? Perhaps its not an apple pest, but I'd like to know if it might be a beneficial insect or something else. Anyways, taking a shot in the dark...

Zone 4b
Champlain Valley

Re: What could be hatching in the soil right now?
August 15, 2015 10:55PM
Apple maggot fly (AMF) stragglers emerge through August as do next generation curculio who will be seeking overwintering grounds. Both seem quite small to attract hog attention. Grubs seem more likely so perhaps whatever else grows near and under these Paulared trees may be providing desired roots for June bugs and/or other beetle species. Pre-emergent fruiting bodies of a fungal mycelium can't be ruled out either as we're not the only ones who enjoy winecaps and the like. If the hogs are rooting where ramial wood chips were applied a few years back ... you probably just missed out on a great mushroom harvest, Eliza.

Lost Nation Orchard
Zone 4b in New Hampshire
Re: What could be hatching in the soil right now?
June 07, 2019 04:44PM
We are actively engaged in an all-out campaign against plum curculio this year after several years of half-measures (applying Surround, but not heavily enough or long enough, etc.) have allowed pressure to skyrocket. We no longer apply Surround for the buggers, but have planted plum trees as trap trees along the woods bordering our orchard, and have applied alternating sprays of Venerate and Delegate (a spinetoram, more affordable than Entrust) at first signs of curculio activity. We've also applied beneficial nematodes (Steinernema carpocapsae) to 10 acres of orchard, but as this variety seems to be more effective against adults, may have applied too late to see much in the way of results. Finally, we are religiously picking up our drops as they fall. In short, measures are being taken, but it's always fun to think of new and sadistic ways to hit back at curculio.

Yesterday I had a brainstorm: isn't there a second chance to do battle when pupae emerge from soil in late summer? Now, I need to get better at tracking degree days, but if we could predict when new adults emerge from the orchard soil, wouldn't this be an ideal time to take another crack at next year's population, before they exit the orchard and overwinter (and for some of us, start scarring fruit as Second Gen-ers)?

My initial thought was that if we could determine new adult emergence fairly accurately, a late summer spray of Venerate, Entrust, or an alternative formulation might be in order, perhaps even directed at the orchard floor. Once the wheels started turning, the idea of spraying the orchard floor with something more broad spectrum in its targeting than curculio seemed a tad extreme and undesirable. At the very least, what about timing this with another orchard-wide application of Steinernema carpocapsae nematodes to go after the new adults strolling around like Happy Meals with legs?

Any thoughts? Anyone doing anything for plum curculio control after traditional open season has closed?

Kordick Family Farm
Westfield, NC
Zone 7a
Re: What could be hatching in the soil right now?
June 07, 2019 06:51PM
Fortunately, I have never had to deal with any of the nasty "apple bugs" up here in the "great white North", at least not yet !?

I was wondering if something like grub killer would work? I have had problems with them before not only in my nursery, but in my lawn. They are larvae of June bug beetles and live underground near the soil line eating small roots off grass and just about anything else available. I bought several bags of the grub killing granules at my local Menards store and it worked great at almost entirely eliminating them. Not sure what the active ingredient is, but maybe it would kill the curculio larvae as well? I'm not sure what affect it might have on things like earthworms or other beneficials though ? Just a thought.

good luck


Brampton Lake Orchards

Zone 4a Upper Michigan
Re: What could be hatching in the soil right now?
June 08, 2019 12:18AM
We are in the same situation, where the PC have left their mark on the majority of our apples and now our Asian pears as well, up to 90% in some trees. This after spraying with neem oil, surround, and Entrust right at petal fall, and twice more since with neem and Surround. Last night I sprayed all the bearing apples and Asian pears withpyganic to try to kill as many as I could.They are still active. I will spray pyganic again tomorrow.

The sort of good news, pyganic being very expensive, is that between no bloom due to 33 below in January and poor pollination due to cold rainy weather during bloom, only a third of our trees have any fruit and need spraying.

Turkey Creek Orchard
Solon, Iowa (zone 5A)
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