UPDATES FOR MICHIGAN CHESTNUT ORCHARDS
MID-MAY TO MID-JUNE 2017
Scroll Down for Information on Frost and the Asian Chestnut Gall Wasp Meeting
- Asian Chestnut Gall Wasp Field Trip
An Asian chestnut gall wasp (ACGW) education session combined with field trip will be held at the MSU Southwest Michigan Research and Extension Center (SWMREC) on Sunday, June 4th from 1:00 to 3:00 pm. Everything a grower needs to know about the ACGW will be presented during the Sunday meeting including what to look for, what to do when if/when it arrives, opportunities for experimental treatments, and spread of the parasitoid. We will explain the infestation process, the biological control parasitoid that is following the infestation and the outcomes of this infestation. See for yourself the galls, the damage, and parasitoids. As always, clients (owners of the same farm) and family members of clients are free and non-clients are $25. Water and snacks will be provided. We guarantee that if you don’t take any parts of the chestnut trees home, you will take the insect back to your orchards!
- Coming out of the May 8th and 9th frost events
In the early morning hours of May 8 and then repeated on May 9, a serious frost struck the Michigan landscape. Many different types of fruit trees, were advanced because of the warm weather experienced earlier in the spring. After driving around looking at various orchards it is obvious there is little pattern to the severity. In southwest Michigan, which was supposed to miss the frost, serious damage was done to trees in low lying areas. Orchards on high land in southwest Michigan, did not suffer as much as those where the frost drained or settled. In the northern lower peninsula, the trees were not advanced enough to experience severe damage, similar to the frost event of 2012. Between southwest Michigan and northern regions, a large range of frost damage can be observed from light damage to heavy, severe damage.
Focusing on the MSU Clarksville Research Center plot is probably the best way to describe what was seen around the state as Clarksville is 50 miles from the coast of the climate moderating Lake Michigan, 80 miles north of the Indiana state line, and on the 42nd parallel.
In the two tables below, from the MSU Enviroweather program, you can watch the temperatures drop during the morning hours of May 8 and then again on May 9.
Figures 1 and 2. Tables on temperatures May 8 and May 9 (https://enviroweather.msu.edu)
With as many weather stations they have reporting, you would think we would have specific knowledge regarding the low temperatures experienced in orchards those mornings, but it is not that simple. In Shelby for example, a grower, using multiple independent thermometers recorded temperatures in the low 20’s in his orchard and he was 5 miles from the reporting weather station. Another factor is that the station reporting may malfunction or be in the process of malfunctioning. Finally, the actual damage to the plant is based on a series of factors such as stage of bud development, microorganisms present on the plant tissue, length of temperature experienced, moisture, wind speed, dew point, height from the ground and topography of the orchard including elevation.
Taken together, it is no wonder why we see a spotty picture of severe and moderate frost events across the state with severe to moderate amounts of damage on chestnut trees.
Look at the figures below to assess the type of damage you may have had in your orchard. What we already know is that we will not be breaking any yield records in 2017. Some orchards will be reduced in yield, some severely. But some orchards have not been touched. Learn how to determine how much the frost hurt your trees, then determine how much per tree and then in October determine the final amount of yield from those trees.
In most cases damage is obvious after a frost with damaged leaves, dead buds, and with new buds pushing up and down the stems. Sometimes it is best to go back and review how the chestnut tree would have grown without a frost like in 2016. Below is a photo of a Colossal tree at the MSU Clarksville Research Center breaking bud without any significant frost damage. Just below the blue arrowhead is the growing bud that is continuing to extend and push, showing no damage. But this branch did go through the frost as the frost damage can be seen inside the red circles, so we know that this branch was involved with the frost, but it was either not cold enough long enough to kill the bud and the main stem continues to elongate. A lot of frost damage was seen at the CRC and yields will be reduced in 2017.
Trees with not much frost damage included those in the north where the buds were not pushed far enough to have received damage. Examples include the MSU Northwest Michigan Horticulture and Research Center on the Leelanau Peninsula, an established orchard in Kewadin close to the 45th parallel, and a new orchard in East Jordan on the 45th parallel.
No frost damage observed on one-year-old trees at the MSU Northwest Michigan Horticulture and Research Center (photo taken on May 16th a week after the frost), below.
Similar to the photo above, not only was this Colossal tree not damaged by frost, it was already pushing its sterile catkins, called catkin initials. The few dead branches that can be seen on the stem were dead before the frost.
However, in this same orchard in Oceana County, you can see some damage on the younger trees, but they were planted in a lower area. Therefore, it is difficult to determine if it was the location in the orchard, the fact that they were young, or a factor of them being young, that is short with branches more involved in lower, colder air. In the photo below you can see the dead bud circled in red, and all the surrounding laterals buds that break on make new branches, some with catkins. It becomes a mess of leaves and catkins, until there is enough growth to sort it out.
What’s going on inside the the buds that had pushed but ran into the frost? In the photo below, you can see the dead internal tissue. Those buds are dead and new lateral buds surrounding the dead bud will initiate growth. Even through the outer tissue may look green, if they tissue inside the stems die, then the bud will cease to elongate. Remember, the branch grows from the tip. Behind the dead bud, the leaves may enlarge, but that stem is not elongating from that bud, but from the buds that break around it.
The buds that break around the dead buds are called the lateral buds. They may have broken sometime during the season, but that they begin to push now is a sign that the terminal buds were damaged and the lateral buds will form the new leader. Here you see in red either dead buds or stems that pushed and then the buds died. Only the blue lines show the buds and stems that will grow into this summer.
Here is a stem from a Colossal tree at the MSU Clarksville Research Center. The red circles surround dead buds, the blue circles and lines show living buds and growing tissue. The circles show damaged leaves from the frost, not from insect damage. Later, this frost damage may look like insect damage. Here are catkin initials being produced, indicating a chance for female flowers being produced on the stem growing from lateral buds.
Here are buds on young trees (2-year-old) Bouche de Betizac where the bud died in the frost, but for every bud there are at least 2 more in that bud area ready to break. Odds are that young strong, young healthy trees that run into a frost, these lateral buds will break, push and grow into a new leader for the tree. As usual, red circles are dead buds and blue lines show living buds.
Please check out the COS Hint #49 for information on the frosts expected this week.
In Hint #49 we cover
- The forecasted frost event for May 8 and 9, 2017
- What MSU says to do about it, and how to prepare
- A History of Chestnuts and Frost in Michigan
To follow the temperatures around the state, please go to MSU Enviroweather at https://enviroweather.msu.edu/
Click on a weather station of interest. Then follow weather events by clicking on the
- NEW Meteogram:Real-time observations in graphical format
- follow the red line in the first graft for real time temperature data.
- Scroll to the second graft which is rainfall
- Then scroll to the third graft which is wind. Wind speed is really important. If the wind keeps blowing, frost will not be as bad.
Feel free to use the history links on the enviroweather website to see the results.
Three Important Items for Michigan Chestnut Growers to Note
1.An Asian chestnut gall wasp (ACGW) field trip will be held at MSU Southwest Michigan Research and Extension Center (SWMREC) June 4th. Everything a grower needs to know about the ACGW will be presented during the Sunday meeting. We will explain the infestation, the biological control parasitoid that is following the infestation and the outcomes of this infestation. See for yourself the galls, the damage, and parasitoids. As always, clients and family of clients are free and non-clients are $25. Water and snacks will be provided. Guaranteed, if you don’t take any parts of the chestnut trees home with you, there is no chance you will take the insect home with you!
2. A few bags of Higgins Mix fertilizer (ammonium sulfate 21%) are still available. Scroll down to previous posts to find information, including cost.
3.Not many chestnut orchards have been planted above the 45th parallel. Those who have planted that far north have established orchards in a mid-continental climate that challenges everything we know about chestnut farming. Sure, chestnut forests can be found north of the 45th parallel in Europe, and the original chestnut forest of North America grew north of the 45th parallel. But orchards are different than forests. In farming chestnut trees, we have chosen grafted cultivars with specific characteristics grafted onto unknown seedling rootstock. The challenges will be many, not only severe winters, short seasons and the potential of a mid-October frost, but all the other challenges of those who choose to farm in southern Michigan, including chestnut blight and leaf hopper. By growing at or above the 45th parallel, land values may be cheaper, Asian chestnut gall wasp may arrive several years from now (if ever), certain insects may be less severe such as Japanese beetle, and frosts may not occur as often or be as severe. (in the infamous frost of 2012, no northern chestnut orchards were damaged due to the mid-May frosts).
The photos in this report represent the major cultivars planted in this orchard at parallel 45.6. The trees were obtained from Forrest Keeling Nursery and planted in late September, 2016. On 29 April we watched them break bud and wake up to their new permanent home in northern Michigan. All photos were take on April 29th, 2017. How do these compare to yours? Not all trees survive. Check out the Hint #48 to determine what to do about trees not breaking bud by early May.
Figures 1 and 2. ‘Colossal’ trees just barely pushing bud scales, slightly more behind the other European X Japanese hybrids in the orchard. This cultivar will be in love with this location, however, it is possible the location will challenge the growing scenario of ‘Colossal’ when compared to the other cultivars.
Figures 3 and 4. ‘Bouche de Betizac’ has pushed beyond their bud scales. In this orchard, Green Screen was used on trees without deer fence or cage protection and no browse damage was noted when Green Screen was in place. If Asian chestnut gall wasp makes it this far north, it will be met with scores of Bouche de Betizac resisting the infestation of the Asian chestnut gall wasp. Bouche de Betizac nuts will be falling before ‘Colossal’ chestnuts once they go into production.
Figures 5 and 6. ‘Precoce Migoule’ like Colossal is somewhat slower to break bud. Not to worry, it will soon be producing abundant pollen for the pollen receptive ‘Colossal’ and ‘Bouche de Betizac’ trees.
Figures 7 and 8. ‘Labor Day’ was one of the more advanced cultivars in this orchard. The large swollen buds were breaking up and down the stems. This tree will be producing pollen and its chestnuts will always be off the trees and into the coolers well before any autumn frost may appear.
Figures 9 and 10. ‘Marigoule’ was similar to ‘Labor Day’ pushing buds on this 2nd to last day in April. Like ‘Precoce Migoule’ and ‘Labor Day’, it will be producing pollen and nuts. ‘Marigoule’ will have chestnut blight resistance and it will be winter hardy.
Figures 11 and 12. ‘Marisol’ was more advanced than ‘Marigoule’ in this orchard and came of of dormancy with lots of energy and vigor. Like ‘Precoce Migoule’, ‘Labor Day’, and ‘Marigoule’, it produces pollen and nuts. ‘Marisol’ will have chestnut blight resistance and it will be winter hardy.
twenty fifteen of the 120 50-pound bags are left.
50 lb Bags of Higgins Mix (Ammonium Sulfate + micronutrients)
After the MSU Chestnut Establishment Meeting (click here for agenda and registration) adjourns at 4:00 pm at Clarksville, COS partners will present our spring fertilizing demonstration. We will meet you in the parking lot and take you out to the chestnut plots where we will discuss fertilizers and tree vigor, both factors needed in calculating the amount of nitrogen to add to the soil around the trees. We will discuss the types of fertilizer and the ones you may want to use.
Even if you do not attend the Chestnut Establishment meeting, simply meet us in the parking lot at 4:00 and we will take you to the plots and demonstrate the calculations needed for fertilizing both young and older trees. The cost is free for clients and immediate family members, and $25 for non-members and friends of members. We will also have available 50 pound bags of Higgins mix the best fertilizer mix known for Michigan’s chestnuts.
Higgins mix was devised by a former MSU Forestry professor, Norm Higgins who grew every type of chestnut imaginable in Perry, Michigan. These were probably the best chestnuts in Michigan until our modern selections were established in orchards. Mixed together he had American, Chinese, Japanese, Europeans and all of their possible hybrids. The cultivar ‘Labor Day’ a Japanese species was selected from among his trees and grafted by MSU as a precocious pollinizer that dropped nuts in early to mid-September. Norm did everything right when growing these chestnut trees except one thing–he did not believe in pruning. So, the trees at his orchard became large and then mostly non-productive. But his fertilizer, based on ammonium sulfate (which drives down the soil pH) and a balance of important micronutrients, remains an important part of our chestnut culture in Michigan.
To read about this material, click on the 2017 Chestnut Pesticide Guide (on the right hand side panel of this website). Inside that you will find the Michigan Chestnut Management Guide 2017. Scroll down that and you will find the Nutrient Management information section. There is information regarding the fertilizers that you can use, and why you use them. Then there are tables that tell you how much fertilizer to use per tree. It also discusses the information regarding tree vigor and age or size of tree, which are also important to know. All this will be discussed at the Fertilizer Demonstration, on Thursday starting at 4:00 pm at the Clarksville Research Center. We hope to see you there!
The Higgins mix fertilizer (ammonium sulphate 21%) that is used at the station and on some of the most productive orchards will be for sale in 50 pound bags. We have a ton available. Your cost as a client of COS is listed, below. Add $3.00 per bag for non-members.
$27 for 50lb 1-4 bags
$25.50 for 5-10 bags
$23.50 for 10-19 bags
$21.50 for 20+ bags
In the past, this has been called the Higgins Mix it is now referred to as the ammonium sulfate (21%) in the tables found in the Michigan Chestnut Management Guide (inside the 2017 Pesticide Guide); Nutrient Management section on our website. This is the best fertilizer you can buy for your chestnuts and the environment as it does so much for the trees. To get this fertilizer mixed, it takes a 3-ton minimum order, and COS has taken care of fertilizer for you. You won’t find this mix anywhere else. If you can’t make it to the fertilization demonstration on Thursday, but want to purchase some, just email us at email@example.com.
How do you get these orchard chestnut trees to produce an 85 pound average within 15 years? How do you pay back the tree for such great production? How do you get your trees in shape for the ensuing season and the ones beyond? Fertilization. You can’t do it without good fertilizer and a fertilizer management plan. Dennis Fulbright at the plot, Clarksville Research Station, where Colossal trees averaged 85 pounds per tree in 2016 (some were over 100 pounds). 15-years-old trees.
Midwest Nut Producers Council, Annual Meeting
March 18, 2017
9302 Portland Road
Clarksville, Michigan 48815
10:00 Welcome and introductions
Pete Ivory, MNPC President and owner of Ivory Farms
10:10 Asian chestnut gall wasp in Michigan; what we know and where we’re headed
Dr. Josh Springer and Dr. Dennis Fulbright, Dept. of Plant, Soil and Microbial Science, Michigan State University
Dr. Deb McCullough, Dept. of Entomology, Michigan State University
11:00 Advances in chestnut rooted cuttings
Dr. Carmen Medina-Mora and Mario Mandujano, Dept. of Plant, Soil and Microbial Science, Michigan State University
11:30 Strategies for inoculating chestnut seedlings with truffles
Dr. Gian Maria Niccolo Benucci, Dept. of Plant, Soil and Microbial Science, Michigan State University
1:00 Midwest Nut Producers Council business meeting
Pete Ivory, MNPC President and owner of Ivory Farms
Bill Nash, MNPC Treasurer and owner of Nash Nurseries
1:30 Chestnut production year in review
Clarksville plots Dr. Dennis Fulbright, Dept. of Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences Michigan State University
Cooperative discussion Roger Blackwell, President of Chestnut Growers Inc. and owner of New Era Chestnuts
2:30 Open discussion period (15 minutes per topic)
The importance of cropload estimate—Led by Ginger Rinkel, MNPC Secretary and owner of Vicary Road Chestnut Farm and Bill Nash, MNPC Treasurer and owner of Nash Nurseries
Using supplemental pollen—Led by Dr. Dennis Fulbright, Dept. of Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences Michigan State University
Hypovirulence treatment update—Dr. Josh Springer, Chestnut Orchard Solutions
Acreage update—Led by Bill Nash, MNPC Treasurer and owner of Nash Nurseries
3:30 Food safety on the farm
Erin Lizotte, Michigan State University Extension
4:00 Meeting wrap-up; evaluation, pesticide credits & adjourn
Erin Lizotte, Michigan State University Extension
Registration Open for the 2017 Midwest Nut Producers Council’s Annual Meeting
This meeting is a great opportunity for new growers to network and current growers to learn about optimizing productivity.
This meeting is free to MNPC member farms who remit their $50 in dues at the door, non-members pay $20 online via the registration page. Pesticide recertification credits will be available. You may download the complete agenda and register for the event by visiting https://events.anr.msu.edu/MNPC17/. Registration closes on March 16th.
MSU Extension programs and material are open to all without regard to race, color, national origin, gender, gender identity, religion, age, height, weight, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, marital status, family status, or veteran status. Accommodations for persons with disabilities may be requested by calling Erin Lizotte at 231-944-6504 to make arrangements. Requests will be met when possible.
This website publishes the Posts and Pages of Chestnut Orchard Solutions. Our “Posts” are found right here smack in the middle of the website and you can scroll through our past Posts. Our “Pages” run in the right margin on this website and on smartphones you can find the Pages near the bottom of the website. Our Pages currently publish our Hints, Jillian Young (our chestnut community give back), our Goals and Purposes, and an article on Why Chestnuts?
We now introduce 2 new Pages. The first one is called O–M–G. We hope we don’t have to write an O–M–G too often as this will cover things we believe are absolutely outrageously crazy in the world of chestnut. Go to O–M–G to read about our first O–M–G. Because of this O–M–G, we are stepping up our efforts to make sure Michigan growers are clear about the reasons we grow chestnuts the way we do. Therefore, below is our cure for the first and current O–M–G, its called education.
The second of our new Pages section is called Thank You. There are always a host of people we need to thank and this is our permanent way to mark our Thanks to them. The first Thanks is about Lupe Rios who works for Forrest Keeling Nursery. He just received a major award. Go to the Thank You Page and read about Lupe Rios. And then go there often to see who we next have to Thank for their help and inspiration.
2017 Meeting Calendar Still Being Set
(as information comes in, these will be up dated)
February 1 American Chestnuts Today
Time: 7:00-9:00 pm
Location: Boardman River Nature Center, 1450 South Cass Road, Traverse City
Sponsored by: Leelanau, Grand Traverse and Benzie Conservation Districts
Contact: Kama Ross; firstname.lastname@example.org
March 18 MNPC Annual Meeting, Clarksville
Time: 10:00am to 4:00pm
Location: MSU Clarksville Research Center 9032 Portland Road, Clarksville
Agenda being developed
Contact: Erin Lizotte; email@example.com
Registration details: www.chestnuts.msu.edu
See: this website for more information as it develops
Late April Chestnut Orchard Establishment
Date proposed sometime in the last 2 weeks of April. An all day, weekday meeting held at Clarksville Research Center
Subjects to be covered:
- The world of commercial chestnut production in Michigan
- Cost of Production
- Orchard establishment and design
- Pest management and resources
- What does the Future hold?
- Harvest, storage and market
Registration details: www.chestnuts.msu.edu
See: this website for more information as it develops
Contact: Erin Lizotte; firstname.lastname@example.org
David English, President, Chestnut Growers of America and Florida chestnut grower
12/22/16 Lansing State Journal “Checking out chestnuts”
“Michigan is the explosive center of chestnut growth in the country right now.”
wishes all of you a
Happy New Year
and may your lives and orchards flourish in 2017 and ever after
(remember, some of you are planting trees that will live 200 years or more)
“Michigan is the explosive center of chestnut growth in the country right now.” How did this happen?
IT HAPPENED BECAUSE:
1. Because we use science-based results from:
1.1. Field plots around the state, growers’ orchards, and information gathered from other states and countries;
1.2. Experiments to determine the cause of internal kernel breakdown (IKB) and COS does everything to prevent this from ever becoming a problem in your orchard;
1.3. Experiments which found a material for storage rots;
1.4. Field plots and growers’ orchards to find when the flowers are pollinized in Michigan;
1.5. Nature to determine how the biological control of chestnut blight worked in Michigan American chestnut stands surviving chestnut blight which is being used by MSU and COS for managing chestnut blight in Michigan orchards; and
1.6. Experiments to determine which cultivars yield best year in and year out and publish those yields for discussion.
2. Because we started Chestnut Orchard Solutions to help investors and growers:
2.1. Get started in chestnut culture;
2.2. Yes, you can do it yourself with the MSU website www.chestnuts.msu.edu, but since we wrote most of that we know how hard it is to do it by yourself;
2.3. Obtain all of the best information from that website that you can and then COS offers you in-depth explanations and we’ll even do the work for you;
2.4. Find the easy way for orchard establishment; and
2.5. harvest their chestnuts as we harvested about 1/3 of the record harvest in 2016 with the self-propelled harvester and by nut wizard.
3. Because we found cultivars of chestnut that work hard for your profits:
3.1. ‘Colossal’, an outstanding yield leader with large nuts;
3.2. ‘Bouche de Betizac’, because we knew someone would bring in the Asian Chestnut Gall Wasp (ACGW) and we are ready with the only resistant cultivar available; and,
3.3. New generation cultivars with superior winter survival such as ‘Marigoule’.
4. Because we have found a nursery to work with us:
4.1. Forrest Keeling Nursery grafts our selected cultivars;
4.2. They will have delivered 6,000 trees for Michigan for fall and spring planting;
4.3. In 2016, we toured a farm that purchased trees from FKN and another un-named nursery and we showed you the stand establishment differences (99% versus 30% stand establishment)
4.4. FKN brings the trees to Michigan for you to pick or for COS to deliver them to your farm.
4.5. FKN listens closely to MSU growers and watches yields and provides the trees that grow and yield best for us; and,
4.6. They only sell Michigan trees to Michigan growers.
5. Because we have confidence developed from:
5.1. Michigan being one of 2 states whose Land Grant University Extension Educators work on your behalf in integrated pest management (IPM) where you can find answers to your pest and pesticide issues;
5.2. Michigan being the only state that provides a COST of PRODUCTION software tool stating the way to make profits and how much profit might be made; and
5.3. Michigan being the only state with public chestnut cultivar trials in more than 4 locations.
- Because we started a cooperative where:
6.1. MSU extension value-added educator, Tom Kalchik, helped growers develop the single most important marketing tool, the cooperative;
6.2. Roger Blackwell and the CGI board of directors have worked to maintain the financial health of the cooperative;
6.3. Customers can find chestnut products at the best prices;
6.4. technicians maintain the quality of the chestnuts during storage; and
6.5. the sophisticated equipment helps grade the sizes and types of chestnuts to meet the customers needs.
This website is setup as a post, thus do not hesitate to scroll down to see previous posts. These previous COS website posts include what COS has been involved with in a year (2016). Enjoy!
Chestnut Orchard Solutions (COS) only exits because of the hard work of research started at MSU and of the professional growers in the state. COS was founded to consult with new and existing growers to help them be successful in this industry.
This article published by MSU Futures magazine highlights the industry and where it is going and that more, professional growers are needed.
The COS team knows better than anyone how to do things correctly and can help you be successful a s a grower of chestnut–we have the solutions!