Orchard Outlook Newsletter: Vol 23, No 0.5

Thursday, April 13, 2023

Hello everyone, here comes the 2023 season! This is a mini Orchard Outlook newsletter before we are truly up and running with the first issue.

The Orchard Outlook committee will have their first meeting and the first full newsletter will be published on April 18, and on every Tuesday thereafter. Meetings for commercial growers in Nova Scotia will begin on April 26. If you are not already on the contact list for the meetings and are interested, please let me know.


  • Check the expiry date on your pesticide license. In order to renew you must fill out the application form, have receipts totalling 15 Pesticide Continuing Education Points, and pay the fee of $66.35 as a cheque to the Minister of Finance. The cheque and paperwork can be delivered to a local office of the Department of Environment
  • Peaches: A protectant fungicide is needed for peach leaf curl in spring if one was not applied in fall, or if you applied a fall fungicide but disease pressure is generally high. The fungicide can be applied when buds are dormant and up until bud swell. Delayed applications prior to green tip will still provide some but not complete control. If applying a fungicide during both fall and spring, do not repeat the use of chlorothalonil products (Bravo ZN or Echo 90 WSP) because they can be applied only once for peach leaf curl either as a fall or spring dormant spray.
  • Pears: The first line of defence against pear psylla is the use of dormant oil to delay egg laying and synchronize control of pear psylla with later insecticide applications. Dormant oil application has been ongoing and can be made when conditions allow.
  • Pruning: With bud break just around the corner, ensure that the youngest blocks are pruned first to ensure growth is directed into desirable leader and terminal extension. Prioritize high value trees and then return to low value areas.


    I do not often have the chance to talk to all of you individually so I would like to give you an update on some activities that might interest you. Please feel welcome to ask me about activities anytime.

    Nematode Research

    Over the last few years, Perennia has been working on a nematode project that is provincially funded. The project is cross-commodity and there are three field trials in orchards exploring cover crops and chemical treatments (Figure 1). The project also includes a sequential sampling initiative and province wide sampling that some of you have been involved with. 

    These microscopic nematodes are quite challenging to study especially at a field scale and I do not feel comfortable communicating trial results until we have data from multiple seasons. By the end of this season, I will have information to share. In the meantime, Perennia is also building our capacity to analyze for nematodes in our local Plant Health Lab.

    Figure 1: Pre-plant and post-plant nematode research is ongoing in commercial orchards.

    Farm Data Tools

    How often have we had conversations about wanting access to models and decision making tools? Very often. I have explored this issue in depth and we cannot simply join existing platforms (US platforms do not have Canadian forecasting, Maritime models are not incorporated etc). I have been closely involved in the development of a web platform at Perennia called Farm Data Tools. You have already heard me say that the first model is for fire blight management and it is called PomeBlight. This web platform has been developed with a long term vision to offer more tools.

    Provincial Weather Stations

    There are now over 100 Davis weather stations on-farm in the province of Nova Scotia with data that is publicly accessible. I have offered my support, especially where the fruit growers stations are concerned. 

    If you would like to create a custom list of weather stations to monitor on the app, download the Davis Weatherlink mobile app, create your own free private account then search for station names, and bookmark the stations to your list of favourites. All stations acquired with provincial funding are named with NSW in brackets and a station number. 

    Having access to on-farm weather data has been helpful for so many reasons like temperatures and wind for spraying, frost pockets, wind for trauma etc. In addition, now that we have a unified weather station network it is possible to feed the data into a platform like Farm Data Tools mentioned above. We now have an abundance of data and data can be made even more useful when it is interpreted.

    Figure 2: There are over 100 on-farm weather stations across the province that feed into the Farm Data Tools platform.

    Opportunities with New Chemical Thinners

    Over the last few years, I have had the opportunity and continue to have the opportunity to work with new chemical thinners prior to their commercial registration. It is very encouraging that the product companies are testing the products locally in Nova Scotia. Most of the trials have been contracted so the information is proprietary and that is why you have not heard it reported. However, this contact work helps to expose me to new products to learn about them prior to registration so that I can help support you when they do become registered.

    Nutrient Planning

    I am now a certified nutrient management planner. This past winter I improved my knowledge in this area by taking the nutrient management course at Dalhousie. I can better help answer your questions and in the off-season I can consult on planning.

    Events and Notices

    Pesticide License Pre-Exam Courses by Marbicon

    The next series of in-person courses from Marbicon Inc (Jim Jotcham) has been announced. Pre-exam courses (with 5.0 points available T2237).

    April 14 - Berwick Legion in Berwick
    April 20 - Newcombville Fire Hall in Newcombville, Lunenburg Co.
    May 5 - Truro Horsemen’s Club in Bible Hill
    More courses are expected in May.

    Email/call Jim ( marbicon@eastlink.ca ) or 902-538-7101 to pre-register. More courses can be set up upon demand. Contact Jim if you’d like a course nearer to you and/or at a more convenient date. Pre-exam courses are $125 including HST. People sitting in for 5.0 recertification points for T2237 only pay $110 including HST. Cash or cheque or e-Transfer. Doors open at 8:30am. Food & drink on your own. A course manual is provided.

    Limestone Trucking Assistance Program

    The Limestone Trucking Assistance Program opened this week on April 3, 2023 and is now accepting applications until September 30, 2023. The application and guidelines are available online here or contact your local Agricultural Office for assistance. New for this year, the program offers two options: 1) using a trucking company for trucking the limestone (same as previous years), 2) applicants are allowed to truck their own limestone and will be paid based on the trucking rate for the distance traveled. Farms will be required to provide proof of purchase of limestone and proof of payment.

    As programs transition from CAP funding to the new Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership programs, producers will need to fill in a new Program Funding Registration Form

    Save the Date - Upcoming Events

    • May 3 at 12-1 PM WEBINAR: Understanding Fire Blight Biology while using PomeBlight
    • July 23, 24, 25: International Fruit Tree Association visits Nova Scotia for the annual summer study tour! Must be a member to register. Registration is open.
    • Wednesday, August 9: Nova Scotia Fruit Growers' Association Summer Tour

      Pest Management Guides 2023

      All changes new to 2023 are made in red text directly on the guides. The information on all expected changes was summarized in a blog post on March 7.

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