At this time of year the weather app does not away look like this:
but when it does, the problem is pre-Christmas blight. A bacterial infection that may transform any part of the tree into a charred bushfire facsimile. Walnut trees were struck here four years ago. The memory of that disaster is fixed in the minds of local walnut growers. At that time, we had few nuts to lose and losing them was a minor discomfort.
Now, we have a reasonable crop of walnuts and total or even partial loss would be crippling, metaphorically and financially.
So seeing this red, green and yellow polka-dot pattern on the weather app I shake and quiver, appalled by the prospect of imminent disaster.
The only thing to do is wheel out the tractor & sprayer again for a final performance with kocide and summer oil. I thought about kelp, but the one container I had was last year’s and the constituents had precipitated to a gluggy merky ooze that would surely clog the nozzles of the spray unit. Today was the last outing for the orchard copper team, starring myself. No sightings of blight were made during the operation. Time to put my blight fighting feet up.
After Christmas, the challenge swaps to sunburn prevention. There is no corresponding mechanical solution to this problem; just keeping the water up and having stimulated the leaf to shade the nuts; apart from 25 kg/hectare over the next few days which may help.
Let’s see what the weather app had in store for us in Jan and Feb.