ALTERNATIVE MANAGEMENT TECHNIQUES FOR ORCHARDS

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  • 1 Department of Fruit and Vegetable Science, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14583

Concerns about the impacts of agricultural practices on the environment dictate that all management techniques must be examined from the perspective of minimizing such impacts. Integrated pest management practices such as scouting, use of biological controls, improvement of pesticide application techniques, tree-row-volume spraying, and consideration of the environmental impact of alternative chemical controls offer opportunity for minimizing the adverse impact of pesticides. Improved spray equipment with canopy sensors and spray recovery systems improve deposition and reduce pesticide waste. Applying nutrients on the basis of need as indicated by leaf and soil analyses offers the best means of assuring optimal crop performance and minimizing the potential for contamination of surface and ground water supplies. Soil management practices must be evaluated for their potential to minimize soil erosion and competition, and for their potential contribution to pest management. Ground covers that are nonsupportive of nematodes, disease, or insect pest populations merit additional research. Methods for managing ground covers with low rates of growth regulators or herbicides to minimize invasion by problem weeds, reduce the need for mowing, and regulate competition, while retaining their beneficial attributes in minimizing soil erosion and maintaining soil structure, would be advantageous to orchardists and the environment.

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