It’s been a month since Cyclone Gabrielle made her way down the East Coast & affected many livelihoods in the Hawke’s Bay region. We have been head-down in disaster recovery mode for the last 4 weeks, prioritising the clean up blocks that can be salvaged, clearing access into properties, and prioritising the removal of silt where it is likely to impact tree health.
As we get used to our new normal, our attention is starting to shift. We need to be prioritising the removal of fruit from trees that can’t be commercially harvested. The sooner we relieve the pressure on the already highly stressed root systems, the sooner we can optimise the rate of photosynthesis to drive vegetative and root health. This will enhance post-harvest bud quality for the sake of next season’s crop (both yields and quality). Replenishing the trees reserves should be carried out as soon as practicable, and for many of our non-harvestable crops, now is the time we should be prioritising post-harvest care.
Protecting the trees from disease pressure, such as phytophthora should also be a key focus. NZAPI will be releasing some guidelines on best practice Phytophthora management in the next few days.
The sooner phytophthora preventative management is taken, the more effective the results. We won’t know the true impacts the flooding will have on phytophthora pressures until next season, so it’s essential we do all we can now to protect our flood affected canopies.
NZAPI have been working hard with the Industry to help give clarity in these challenging times, producing decision matrices and information bulletins to help growers make the best-informed decisions for their blocks including:
• Flood soil assessment
• Silt Decision Tree
• Orchard Survey
These resources can all be found on the NZAPI website: http://www.applesandpears.nz/Floods/Technical_and_Crop_Advice