Tree fruit research updates, workshops planned at Aug. 7 orchard field day

WENATCHEE, Wash. – New apple varieties, a new fruit scientist, pest control and tree fruit research will highlight workshops and presentations during a free field day beginning at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 7, at Sunrise Research Orchard, located off highway 28 on Sunrise Lane about 11 miles south of Wenatchee.

The fifth annual field day, hosted by Washington State University, will include:

  • Research on development of a solid set canopy delivery system (an efficient, in-place way to deliver nutrients and pesticides);
  • a new planting of the new WSU apple, WA 38;
  • an update on the apple-breeding program with the possibility of taste tests of some new apple variety candidates by fruit breeder Kate Evans, WSU associate professor in horticulture;
  • introduction of Stefano Mussachi, the newly appointed WSU endowed chair in pomology (the science of fruit and fruit growing);
  • research advances in fabric coverings to protect apples;
  • apple-thinning research comparing chemical and mechanical approaches; and
  • a replant study, in its final year of evaluation, by Mark Mazolla, with the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Wenatchee.

Workshops about biological control and weed control will be held 3-5 p.m., followed by the main presentations 5-6:30 p.m. Dinner will follow in the orchard equipment compound.

The workshops are free, but please RSVP to indicate which workshop you would like to participate in by contacting Darla Ewald at or 509-663-8181 by July 31.

In the session on enhancing biological control, participants will learn about identifying natural enemies in different life stages, including predators, parasitoids and their pest prey or hosts. Sampling techniques will be reviewed and natural enemies collected to hone identification skills. New monitoring tools and pesticide effects for natural enemies will be discussed and take-home guides will be provided.

In the second workshop, WSU extension educator Tim Smith will discuss weed control while touring orchards with attendees and showing combinations of herbicides that provide season-long control. His expertise and access to plots at the research orchard will provide a realistic and practical comparison of different weed control programs.