Nov 7, 2018
Intensive management improves fruit quality

{Sponsored} Optimizing orchard productivity in a high-density apple production system requires vigilant management.

Kenny Barnwell“High-density systems enable you to grow better-quality fruit, but they also force you to be a better culturist. The tighter you plant your trees, the more they must be managed,” says North Carolina apple producer Kenny Barnwell.

Barnwell’s farm currently consists of a combination of conventional, medium-density and high-density systems, with dwarf stock trees planted 1,000 trees per acre on heavy clay soils in the high-density system. In his previous conventional production system, trees had to be pruned at least once a year. In his current high-density system, tree maintenance is increased to four to five times a year. Tree growth must be managed by tying limbs down and manipulating limbs to keep them in that tight spacing. That requires intensive management.

Achieving success with high-density production also requires an elevated weed resistance management program. That’s why he relies on Pindar® GT herbicide.

“Pindar GT is another tool in our toolbox. It does an excellent job, it is competitively priced, and it gives us another product to rotate in our efforts to avoid resistance development,” he says.

“Pindar GT is a great rotational partner in our orchard herbicide program. We need to rotate every crop protection product we’ve got, whether it’s a herbicide, an insecticide or a fungicide,” says Barnwell. “We also always use a lethal rate. Otherwise, you’ll build resistance in whatever pest you are attempting to control.”

In his second year treating his apple orchards with Pindar GT, Barnwell says he’s achieved good control of his most troublesome orchard weeds, including mugwort (wild chrysanthemum), marestail, dock species and vines.

“Pindar GT works better than other products on vines such as morning glory and trumpet vine. They can pull trees down if left uncontrolled,” he says.

Barnwell treats his acreage with a full rate of Pindar® GT herbicide as a pre-emergence herbicide in late fall or early winter.

“This year, we are aiming for an early December treatment of Pindar GT. That’s our target time and seems to be when the product works best,” he says. “That timing will get me to the first of June. At that point, I will rotate to another herbicide tankmixed with a burndown product, such as paraquat, to catch any potential breakthrough weeds.

“Pindar GT gives me better control in rotation compared with my previous weed control system. It’s got broad-spectrum control that holds well into the season,” he adds.

Tank-mix and application-timing flexibility allows applications of Pindar GT anytime postharvest until just prior to bud swell, providing preemergence and early postemergence control of broadleaf weeds. With two modes of action, Pindar GT provides dependable weed control and up to six months of residual activity. An innovative product, Pindar® GT herbicide contains two active ingredients — penoxsulam (Group 2) and oxyfluorfen (Group 14).

In addition to adopting a high-density production system, Barnwell has added to his apple variety mix to lengthen harvest season. He now grows more than 25 different varieties, including a few heirloom apple varieties. The first variety to be harvested is Londi, which is picked in June. His last to be harvested is Pink Lady, which will finish picking at Thanksgiving.

A sixth-generation apple grower, Barnwell has been in farming since 1983 when he purchased his first orchard. His wife Sandra is also actively involved in their family farming operation.

®Trademark of Dow AgroSciences, DuPont or Pioneer, and their affiliated companies or their respective owners. Pindar is not registered for sale or use in all states. Contact your state pesticide regulatory agency to determine if a product is registered for sale or use in your state. Always read and follow label directions.

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