Extension Report Tree owners invited to join ‘Backyard Project’

October 19, 2005

Sometime in the next few weeks, all Hood River Valley residents will be receiving some important information in the mail from the Hood River Grower-Shipper Association.

You will receive an invitation to participate in an effort to address a problem with high significance to the fruit industry. This effort is called the Backyard Fruit Tree Project.

The goal of the project is to minimize the impact of unmanaged fruit trees on commercial fruit orchards. Pests that spread from these trees can foil the efforts of commercial growers to implement integrated pest management programs.

The project, which has been in planning since late 2003, shifted into implementation last spring. It is currently focused on codling moth, a key pest of pear and apple.

The project has several components.

One of the major ones is informing tree owners of their responsibility and options for complying with Hood River County Ordinance 263, which requires them to control pests on these trees.

This is being accomplished through an intensive outreach program which includes face to face visits from a HRGSA representative.

To coordinate those visits, the HRGSA developed a database of potentially problematic trees. This was done by conducting a valley-wide survey during bloom when the trees are most apparent.

As an incentive to remove unmanaged trees, the HRGSA is offering coupons, which are redeemable for non-fruit-bearing replacement plants from Good News Gardening and Gorge Nursery or for fresh fruit from Hood River Fruit Loop Members. In cases which residents would like to remove the trees but are physically unable to, the HRGSA will provide assistance with tree removal.

For those residents who are determined to maintain fruit trees, information on controlling key pests is provided along with an explanation of the challenges involved and an assurance that their success will be determined through follow-up visits.

According to HRGSA Executive Director Jean Godfrey, the community has been very receptive to the project, demonstrated by a high level of cooperation from fruit tree owners contacted this summer. The springtime bloom survey identified nearly 800 addresses with pear or apple trees, with an average of about four trees per address.

All of those residents have received a face to face visit or printed information explaining the project goals and how to participate. Nearly 200 tree owners have removed or are scheduled to remove fruit trees totaling close to 800 hundred trees.

The impact of unmanaged trees has become more significant in recent years because many Hood River orchardists are using an innovative approach, known as pheromone confusion or mating disruption, as the foundation of their codling moth control program.

One of the potential pitfalls of mating disruption, which is a non-chemical control, is that mated female codling moths can fly into an orchard and lay eggs on fruit, which is not protected with a conventional insecticide. Unmanaged pear, apple, and even crabapple trees can serve as reservoirs of mated females that ruin the efforts of growers to employ this environmentally friendly method of pest management.

The Backyard Fruit Tree Project has developed broad-based support from the tree fruit industry as well as from Hood River County government.

The Center for Agricultural Partnerships recognized the potential impact of this project, and has provided grant funding to support the project outreach efforts in addition to funds provided by the HRGSA membership.

The near term success of the HRGSA Backyard Fruit Tree Project and the long term success of orchard pest management practices such as mating disruption depend on a high level of citizen cooperation. For more information about the Backyard Fruit Tree Project, contact the HRGSA at 387-4769.

For information on controlling pests on fruit trees or selecting an appropriate replacement, contact the OSU Extension Service.

In the Hood River area, call 541-386-3343 or visit us on the Web at: http://extension.oregonstate.edu

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge



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