Tree fruit research day set for Aug. 7

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WENATCHEE — Fighting sun damage to apples, using genetics to track fruit maturity and using bugs against themselves will be among the topics at the third annual Tree Fruit Research Field Day, scheduled for early August.

Admission is free. Field day is scheduled for 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. Aug. 7 at the Washington State University Extension research orchard, 114 Sunrise Court, Rock Island. A dinner will be served following the classes. Field day is sponsored by the North Central Washington Fieldmen’s Association.

Dinner will be in honor of Jim McFerson, retiring director of the Tree Fruit Research and Extension Center in Wenatchee. Advance registration is requested for people who want to attend the dinner.

McFerson has been director of the research center since 2015. Prior to that he worked as director of the Washington Tree Fruit Research Commission. He combined the roles for about 18 months before joining WSU full time in 2017. He joined the research commission in 1999.

The field day “will highlight the latest in horticulture, entomology, plant pathology and breeding projects,” wrote Tianna DuPont, tree fruit specialist at the research center. Field day is designed for growers, packers, field consultants, and fruit industry employees, among others.

Stefano Musacchi will discuss grafting techniques for Cosmic Crisp (WA 38) apples, and Lee Kalcits will discuss fighting sun damage through evaporative cooling and netting. Netting also helps with pest control; Betsy Beers will discuss netting trials to fight stinkbug. Experts with M3 Consulting will talk about fighting codling moth with sterile moth releases.

Identifying natural enemies of pears and different kinds of particle film for insect control will be subject of a presentation from Louis Nottingham. Soon Li Teh will talk about pear rootstock breeding. Troy Schmidt and Manoella Mendoza will discuss cropland management and bitter pit predictive models. Loren Honaas will talk about research into gene markers for apple maturity.

DuPont and Mark Mazzola will talk about using “biologically-based methods to prevent replant disease.”

People can get more information at the WSU tree fruit research web page, by contacting dupont at tianna.dupont@wsu.edu, or by phone at 509-293-8758.

Cheryl Schweizer can be reached via email at education@columbiabasinheald.com.

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