Tree Fruit Newsletter — January 2024

Weather Update

The expected cold temperatures this weekend are not likely to be cold enough to kill peach or cherry buds in southern Maine. We measured hardiness in peach buds last week and found them to have a few degrees more hardiness than last year at this time, probably hardy to -7 °F for about 50% of the buds in the hardiest varieties. If you are growing more tender varieties, there may be some bud loss, but not enough to reduce the crop. Apples are at their hardiest this time of year and following a period of below freezing temperatures. Most apple varieties are hardy to -25 °F.

Announcements for two meetings:

Preseason Tree Fruit Meeting

8:00 a.m. — 3:30 p.m., Tuesday, March 19, 2024

Room 170, University of Southern Maine / Lewiston Auburn College, 51 Westminster Street, Lewiston ME

Attendance qualifies for 3 pesticide applicator recertification credits.

Preregistration is NOT required. The $30 registration fee is due at the door, but there may be a discount or waiver for Pomological Society members (more details later). In case of bad weather, we will follow the University of Southern Maine weather hotline announcement at 207-780-4800.


8:00am Registration, Meet & Greet

8:30am Maine tree fruit IPM update, Glen Koehler, University of Maine Cooperative Extension

9:00am New insights on the biology of fire blight bacteria, Dr. Quan Zeng, Connecticut Agricultural Research Station

9:30am Application Considerations for Harvest Extension with Harvista and ReTain, Dr. Andy Vega, New England Fruit Consultants

10:00am Virus Diseases in Tree Fruit: Impacts, Diagnosis, Prevention, Dr. Alicyn Smart, University of Maine Extension Plant Disease Laboratory

10:30am Break

10:45am Fire Blight Prevention and Suppression Strategies, Dr. Quan Zeng, Connecticut Agricultural Research Station.

11:15am Opportunities and Constraints for Northeast Tree Fruit Growers, Dr. Andy Vega, New England Fruit Consultants

11:45am Maine State Pomological Society update, Sam Ricker, President

12:00pm Lunch. Pizza and salad from Sam’s Italian Foods, beverages.

12:45pm Food Safety Update, Lindsay Werner, Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry.

1:00pm Apple Cultivar DNA Identification Update, John Bunker, Super Chilly Farm, Out on a Limb CSA, MOFGA, FedCo.

1:15pm 10-year Rootstock Trial Summary, Renae Moran, University of Maine Cooperative Extension

1:45pm New Tools for Orchard Management, Trevor Hardy, Brookdale Fruit Farm & Brookdale Farm; Anthony Tasselli, Toro

2:30pm Break

2:45pm Increasing Maine Farm Resilience Against Extreme Weather + Q&A, Dr. Rachel Schattman, UMaine School of Food and Agriculture

3:30pm Board of Pesticides Control Update, John Pietroski; Board of Pesticides Control, Maine Dept. Agric., Cons., & For.

4:00pm Adjourn

Northeast Extension Fruit Consortium Webinar Series

This webinar series will be held throughout the winter at noon on each of the following dates. Sessions on January 25, March 6 and March 20 will be offered with pesticide applicator recertification credits. Preregistration is required. Have your applicator number ready when you register. If you have any questions, contact me (Renae Moran) anytime (

To register, click on the presentation titles. If you have any questions, contact Renae Moran anytime at

Preregistration is required to attend these webinars.

January 25, 2024: New Options for Chemical Thinning

Dr. John Cline, University of Guelph

Pesticide applicator recertification credits offered


January 31, 2024: Strawberry Breeding and Cultivar Update

Dr. Beatrice Amyotte, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada


February 7, 2024: Use, Efficacy and Cost of Reflective Ground Cover in the Orchard

Dr. Macarena Farcuh, University of Maryland

Kristen DeMarree, Donald DeMarree Fruit Farm Inc. Williamson, NY — We have been tracking the labor costs of using the ground cover for the past three years as we have been trying different ways to improve our efficiency and tracking the improvements in revenue with using ground covers.


March 6, 2024: Mass Trapping for Japanese Beetle Management

Dr. Jaime Piñero, University of Massachusetts, Stockbridge School of Agriculture

Pesticide applicator recertification credits offered


March 13, 2024: How to Effectively Engage with the Press

Dr. Jessica McBride, University of Connecticut

Grower perspective TBD


March 20, 2024: BioControl, Forecast Models and Apple Scab- Finding the Sweet Spot

Dr. Kerik Cox, Ms. Līga Astra Kalniņa

Pesticide applicator recertification credits offered

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