Alternative Production and Protection Practices for Pistachios

in HortScience
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  • 1 Dept. of Pomology, Univ. of California, Davis, CA 95616

Pistachios are the single most-successful plant introduction to the United States in the 20th century. Part of this success is due to the alternative production practices that have made this crop more economical to grow. Controlled deficit irrigation (CDI) can produce 25% savings in irrigation water with no adverse effects. Reclaimed drainage water can be used for in-season irrigation up to 6 dS/m. Nitrogen applications can be adjusted for crop load and alternate bearing. Foliar sprays of boron, copper, and zinc can replace heavy ground applications to alleviated these micronutrient deficiencies. Some early season insect damage can be tolerated due to the tree's ability to compensate for the damage by filling a higher percentage of the remaining nuts, Maintaining a clean orchard floor can limit some insect pests. Mechanical pruning has been demonstrated to be cheaper and cause no loss in yield. Foliar fungal diseases can be partially controlled by limiting trajectory angle, frequency, and duration of irrigation or by using buried drip irrigation systems. Soil-borne fungal diseases and nematode damage are controlled by using resistant rootstocks.

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