COUNTRY LIFE IN BC • AUGUST 2019 Apple dieback investigation underway
Summerland researchers collaborating with US scientists by TOM WALKER SUMMERLAND—
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada scientists have $730,000 in funding over three years to formally investigate Sudden Apple Decline (SAD). “This funding allows us to
conduct specific research and share our findings with other experts across Canada,” says Jesse MacDonald, knowledge and technology transfer specialist at the Summerland Research and Development Centre. “The work that was completed last year was off the side of researcher’s desks. We are really happy at how quickly this project was approved.” Last year, growers across
the Okanagan began seeing productive apple trees die within a few weeks of showing signs of stress. There was no single apparent cause for the mortality, and the roots of the trees seemed healthy. This rapid die-off affected orchards across the
Okanagan and destroyed up to 40% of some blocks. A stakeholder engagement session in early June attracted about 45 people. “We reviewed the symptoms that we saw last year and confirmed that we are seeing a similar die-off again this year,” says MacDonald. Seven research scientists at Summerland are part of the new project, including experts in pathology, virology, nematology, entomology, physiology and winter injury and soils. “The researchers gave a
review of studies done on SAD in their disciplines thus far across North America, of which there are not many,” says MacDonald. “And then they gave an outline of where they are hoping to go with this project.” Stakeholders were given time to share their own experiences. “Every grower who was
there was concerned enough about this that they are
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Newly appointed Summerland Research and Development Centre knowledge and technology transfer specialist Jesse MacDonald surveys an apple tree that died suddenly last year in his family’s Summerland orchard. TOM WALKER PHOTO
opening their orchards to us to observe and take samples,” he says. MacDonald adds that he is hoping to get feedback from as many growers as he can. He’s also developing a factsheet that will help growers recognize the condition. “Some growers just see a
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2020 Tree Fruit Replant Program ANNOUNCEMENT:
Application forms and the updated requirements of the 2020 Tree Fruit Replant Program are now available on the BCFGA website, www.bcfga.co
Project applications (along with the required documents) will be received by November 30, 2019. Please avoid the last minute rush and get your application in early.
An horticultural advisor is required to sign individual applications for the 2020 Tree Fruit Replant Program. The following information will be provided to assist growers in completing applications.
a. A list of qualified advisors. b. Program operational policies. c. A series of reports on replanting and variety performance and selection are available and should be referenced when preparing a Tree Fruit Replant Program Application.
The Tree Fruit Replant Program provides funding for quality projects. Project approval is subject to funding availability and is allocated by the date of receipt of applications. Completed projects are verified by inspection and must attain minimum program standards.
The Tree Fruit Replant Program is a 7 year program, funded by the Province of BC.
stressed or dead tree,” says MacDonald. “They might not realize that it is the apple decline we are looking for. I
need to know if it is in their orchard or if it is not.” The researchers are collaborating with apple growers across Canada, says MacDonald. “We had industry members
from PEI and Nova Scotia listen in to our meeting,” he says. “They are seeing similar conditions out east and after hearing what we had to say, they are going to go and investigate. We don’t really know the incidence of the
condition across Canada. That is a big black hole.” Summerland is also collaborating with researchers at Pennsylvania State University and Cornell, who first identified the condition in 2013. A collaborator in Washington state has also joined the Summerland project, says MacDonald.
A meeting to share this
year’s work with growers should occur in early 2020.
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