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The Pitch and Needle
pitch and needle logo  
March 2011
About this newsletter
Senior horticulturist retires
Plan ahead for Christmas-tree exports
Budget constraints and inspector changes
Hawaii shipments
Let's slug it out
PCIT frequently asked questions
Useful web sites
What to look for now
Evaluating and timing fertilizer applications
Oregon section24(c)s: Special local needs registrations for Christmas trees
Good buffers make good neighbors
State of Oregon holiday schedule
2011 Christmas Tree Advisory Committee
About this newsletter
Christmas tree plantation  
Christmas tree plantation
The Pitch & Needle is a semi-annual online publication of the Oregon Department of Agriculture and is intended as an aid to anyone involved in the growing and shipping of Christmas trees. Through this bulletin, we hope to provide you with the most current shipping information as well as other topical information related to the Christmas tree industry. If you have any suggestions for topics or articles for the next issue, contact Karl Puls via email at kpuls@oda.state.or.us.
 
Horticulturists:  Debbie Driesner, Dan Hawks, Lisa Rehms, Eric Reusche, John Ekberg, Karl Puls, Sherree Lewis, Scott Rose, Dennis Magnello, Gary Garth, Bev Clark, Susan Schouten
 
Gary McAninch, program supervisor; Jan Hedberg, lead horticulturist; Sue Nash, program assistant; Kim Lawson, office specialist; Melissa Lujan, GAIP auditor
 
Karl Puls, editor
 
This will be the last printed edition of the Pitch & Needle distributed via post. Future editions will be electronic and posted to the ODA website.

Senior horticulturist retires
John Ekberg  
John Ekberg
By Gary Garth, ODA horticulturist
 
John Ekberg, senior “Horticulturist” aka Nursery and Christmas tree inspector, retired on October 31, 2010 after 30 years of service with Oregon Department of Agriculture. Originally from southern California, John graduated from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona in 1972 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Biology with an emphasis in Economic Entomology. He was employed as an Agricultural Biologist with the San Bernardino County Dept. of Agriculture for 8.5 years with many varied duties. John began working for the Oregon Dept. of Agriculture, Nursery and Christmas Tree Inspection Program as a Horticulturist in November,1980. His primary responsibilities were inspecting and certifying grower and retail nurseries in portions of Clackamas and Multnomah Counties and also in other northern and eastern Oregon areas. Through the years, John developed a good working relationship with many of the industries’ major growers. His expertise has nurtured a reputation of thoroughness and fairness with the businesses with whom he has consulted for these 30 years. In 2007, John was awarded the Carl E. Carlson Award for Regulatory Excellence by the National Plant Board. This prestigious annual award is presented to recognize one individual in the nation, who works in the field, for their service in plant regulatory protection within the nursery industry. He is an avid gardener and recently assisted in teaching a weed ID class through “SOLV” in Multnomah County. John also has musical talent, playing his banjo and dobro in a local bluegrass band, “The Why Nots”. He will be greatly missed by the O.D.A., his fellow Horticulturists and many members of the nursery and Christmas tree industries to which he provided outstanding service. We wish John and his wife Irene well in his retirement years in Corbett.

Plan ahead for Christmas-tree exports
By Dennis Magnello, ODA Horticulturist
 
Sending Christmas trees to foreign countries or U.S. territories overseas? If so, please follow the guidelines below for a hassle-reduced shipping season.
  • Determine the import requirements for the destination country or territory. Ask your ODA Christmas tree inspector for the most current information, or refer to the appropriate section in the September issue of the Pitch and Needle. Be aware that information provided by the customer is not always accurate.
  • Obtain any necessary Import Permits from your host country contact (buyer or broker).
  • Provide ODA with a list and maps of the plantations from which your Christmas trees for export will be harvested, as well as a list of the countries and territories to which the trees will be shipped. Trees will then be inspected in the field, ideally in September and early October, to determine if they meet the host country's import requirements.
  • Submit your requests for Phytosanitary Certificates through the PCIT online certification system. See the article in this publication entitled "PCIT and Christmas Trees" for details. Requests should be made a minimum of two days in advance.

ODA inspectors will be glad to inspect fields of non-export Christmas trees also, per your request.
Budget constraints and inspector changes
Regional divisions for Oregon horticulturists  
Regional divisions for Oregon horticulturists
Due to budget constraints, the ODA reduced its number of inspectors for the foreseeable future. As recently as a year and a half ago, 14 inspectors assisted growers throughout Oregon. At present, we have 11 inspectors for the entire state. It is our goal to continue with the highest quality of service we can provide. We are committed to meeting that goal. We have approximately 800 Christmas tree growers licensed in the state of Oregon. Approximately 80% of Christmas trees grown in Oregon are shipped out of state. With that in mind, we ask that you give us lead time when planning and scheduling for exports and submitting PCIT applications for those countries and states that require inspection and certification. How much time? For PCIT applications, 2 days is the minimum, but more time would be helpful if there are complications, e.g. import permits, treatments, etc. Inspections for shipments to Mexico should be planned well in advance of shipping due to the demanding nature of these inspections. These are challenging times for everyone and if we all do the best we can, we will succeed. If you are unsure of who the inspector is in your area, please consult the inspector territory map.
Hawaii shipments
Moving trees by helicopter  
Moving trees by helicopter
Hawaii continues to find quarantine pests on Christmas trees, including shipments from Oregon. A recent communication from an agriculture official in Hawaii indicates that 16 containers, from 5 shippers, had live yellow jacket wasps and multiple species of slugs not known from Hawaii. Ten of these containers were treated at the port of entry and released. The owners of six containers of trees had their trees rejected when they refused post-entry treatment options. In the 2009 season there were 6 shipments of Christmas trees rejected due to quarantine pests.

Among the interceptions were yellow jackets, slugs, Pacific tree frogs and salamanders. A total of 253 shipments of Christmas trees, composed of 140,000 trees, were sent to Hawaii in 2010 and a majority of these shipments were from Oregon.

The weak spot still seems to be the time a tree remains on the ground after bundling but not yet loaded. The old adage ‘an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure’ is appropriate for Christmas tree shipping. We continue to urge shippers and growers to safeguard the trees from slugs and other organisms. It may not be convenient to shake, bundle and store the trees away from slugs immediately after cutting the trees, but it will save money and headaches when the shipment gets to Hawaii. When the consequence of finding slugs or other organisms on these trees is treatment (in Hawaii, at considerable expense to the shipper/grower) or returning the shipment, the advantages of prompt shaking and packing of trees are obvious.
Let's slug it out
Shaking of trees  
Shaking of trees
 By Gary Garth, ODA Horticulturist
 
The incidence of slugs being transported along with harvested Christmas trees is becoming an increasing problem.  Within past two years, Oregon growers have experienced tree shipments rejections for presence of slugs in Hawaii, Florida, Mexico and other foreign destinations. The species of slug that appears to be most prevalent in Oregon's plantations is Deroceras laeve, commonly known as the gray field slug. It is approximately one inch long, with great mobility (for a slug) and cold tolerance. Listed below are some measures that will help prevent these slimy creatures from arriving at your customer's destination:
  • Keep weeds under control in the field; slugs have a wide host range and weeds provide food and cover.
  • Use bait in graveled loading areas; best when applied under boards or ground cloth.
  • Check the trees on the bottom of the stack (those directly on the ground) most thoroughly.
  • Shake, bale and load soon after harvest to avoid slugs looking for safe haven.
  • Shake the trees well and long enough so that all "livestock" are dislodged.
 
For more information on slug biology and control measures visit the Pacific Northwest Insect Management Handbook online.

PCIT frequently asked questions
By Dennis Magnello, ODA Horticulturist
 
What is PCIT?

What is PCIT used for?
  • PCIT is used to issue, store and track electronic copies of State and Federal export certificates, including phytosanitary certificates (PCs). Exporters will continue to receive original paper certificates.

Who is required to use PCIT?
  • All exporters of Christmas trees and other commodities are required to use the PCIT system to submit requests for State and Federal phytosanitary certificates and other export certificates.

Where do I begin?
  • To use PCIT, you must first establish a USDA eAuthentication account. You can find instructions for creating a new account on the PCIT website at https://pcit.aphis.usda.gov/pcit/. Follow the directions on the sign-up menu for level one access. If you need assistance setting up your account, contact the PCIT help desk at pcithelpdesk@aphis.usda.gov or 1-888-457-7248.

How do I use PCIT?
  • Once you have established an eAuthentication account, you may use PCIT to create and submit applications for PCs. Log on to PCIT and follow the instructions under "Industry Users Quick Reference Guide." For assistance, contact the PCIT help desk, Sue Nash at the ODA Plant Division office at 503-986-4640, or your ODA Christmas tree inspector.

What type of certificates do I need?
  • When required, Federal PCs are used for certifying exports to countries and non-U.S. territories outside the United States. State of Oregon PCs may be needed for certain states, such as Hawaii, or U.S. territories such as Puerto Rico or Guam.

How much do the PCs cost and how do I pay for them?
  • The fee is $21 each for Federal phytosanitary certificates and $15 each for State of Oregon PCs. Before your request for certificates can be processed, you must transfer the appropriate amount of funds into a financial management account in PCIT. To do so, log on to PCIT and follow the instructions in the Industry Users Quick Reference Guide under "Adding Funds to an Organization's Account in PCIT." The "Financial Management" link in PCIT may also be used to review financial transactions.

Useful web sites
Oregon Department of Agriculture

Oregon State University Extension Service

Oregon State University Extension Catalog page (Publications for Christmas Tree growers)

Washington State University Extension—Christmas trees

Pacific Northwest Christmas Tree Association

Pacific Northwest Management Handbooks

What to look for now
Spring (March-May)
 
Insects
Life stage Host
Symptoms
Balsam woolly adelgid Adults
True fir (esp. Fraser)
White woolly masses on bark, swelling of branch nodes
Balsam twig aphid
Adults
True fir (esp. grand)
Small greenish aphids in tops or along branches, twisting of new growth
Douglas fir needle midge
Adults
Douglas fir
Place adult midge traps around April 1 and treat before bud break, if adults are present
Douglas fir twig weevil
Larvae
Douglas fir and noble fir White grubs under bark of branches or into pith
Cooley spruce gall adelgid
Crawlers
Douglas fir
Cottony masses develop as new growth elongates
 
Disease
Host
Symptom
Swiss needle cast
Douglas fir Rows of small, black fruiting bodies on undersides of needles
Needle rusts
True fir, esp. grand
White, tube-like fruiting bodies on undersides of needles
 
 
Summer (June-September)
 
Insects
Life stage Host 
Symptoms
Root aphids
Adults and immatures
Noble fir
Tree decline, presence of ants in new plantings, clustering white aphids on roots
Root weevils Adults Douglas fir and true Fir
Poor growth and discoloration esp. in new plantings, notches in needles and trunk girdling
Spider mites
Adults and immatures
Douglas fir and true Fir
Yellowing and stippling of the foliage
Eriophyid mites
Adults
Douglas fir and true Fir
Olive-green or bronze foliage beginning on interior needles
Yellow jackets
Adults
Douglas fir and true Fir
Presence of ground or aerial nests. Control of aphids important
 
Disease 
Host
Symptoms
Grovesiella canker True fir, esp. grand and concolor
Large cankers with overgrowth at base of limbs resulting in death of branches
Phytophthora root rot True fir, esp. noble Brown stem cankers with branch flagging resulting in death of trees
 
The pest and pathogens noted above are the Christmas tree problems most often encountered. There may be other pests, diseases or abiotic problems causing damage to your trees. Call your area Christmas tree inspector for specific help with diagnosis and control recommendations.

Evaluating and timing fertilizer applications
Douglas fir  
Douglas fir
By Chal Landgren, OSU Christmas Tree Specialist

And you thought you could rest after harvest. Sorry to add a few more items to your “To Do List” for February through April. Our “newish” Guidebook for Christmas tree fertilization is now available for free online at:  http://extension.oregonstate.edu/catalog/. When you get to the website above type in EM 8856-E or Christmas Tree Nutrient Management Guide. You then will have access to our best thinking about the entire subject and the reasons behind current guidelines. (Editor's note: An excellent resource from over 20 years research on Christmas tree nutrition.)

For the quick version, there are numerous “timing” issues with fertilizer applications. Some are seasonal, such as when to fertilize and when to collect needles. Other issues relate to when during a rotation to fertilize. Without getting into too much detail, let’s talk a little about what to do in February, March and April.

First, is deciding if you need to fertilize your trees at all. To make that decision, a foliar test helps. It costs less than a bag of fertilizer and the guide above gives details on collecting and evaluating your results. For many reasons, we have identified February as the best month to take your samples. February is a month in which the tree nutrient levels are stable and allow for comparison against the charts in the guide. A number of private labs provide foliar analysis. When you get the results, do not just rely on the recommendations the lab offers. A number of companies are not accustomed to Christmas tree nutrient requirements and, dare I say it, may want to sell you something. That said, there are also some excellent crop advisors who can provide insights into your trees nutrient needs and help interpret these lab results.

So, now you have a foliar test. The results will likely be something like a gas gauge on a car. The tree is probably not exactly Full or Empty, but somewhere in between. You need to decide when to get your trees close to “full” or how to keep them there so buyers can rave (and purchase). Also, your eye and your experience are incredible tools. If the trees are a dark color, growing well and foliar tests are fine- why fertilize? Yellowish- and low foliar N- try fertilizer.

In most cases, the “best “ time to apply fertilizers is just before active plant growth begins. This also reduces potential loss from leaching. Each species and site will have different growth patterns, but generally, root growth precedes top and shoot growth by approximately 2 months. One of the most common strategies for application of nitrogen fertilizer is a March/April application. This provides fertilizer to the plant as roots, and later, shoots emerge.

Is it better to split the application into multiple applications in March/April? Probably, but growers need to balance the added costs of multiple applications. Rainfall levels in the spring are seldom predictable. Heavy rain can leach soluble nutrients out of the rooting zone where they are needed, especially in light or sandy soil. Try to maximize your March/April fertilization success. Fall fertilization often fails to produce adequate improvement prior to harvest and leaching creates other problems.

As the trees mature, they require more nutrients. Some nutrients are best added at specific “points” in a rotational cycle because they move slowly in soil. Likewise the application methods may change with size.

The table below summarizes many of these rotational timing issues.
Plantation Age
Pre Plant/Post Harvest
Up to 3' tall 
3'+ tall (mid to late rotation)
Type of Test
Soil
Foliar-only needed if you suspect a problem
Foliar
Test For
pH/SMP (SMP measures soil buffering capability) Ca, Mg, K, P
All Nutrients
All Nutrients  
To Do
Add/Incorporate needed nutrients into rooting profile
Fertilize it test indicates need
Fertilize it test indicates need
How Immobile elements are best incorporated into soil with site preparation procedures
Small Trees-Individual tree application or bands
Broadcast/Band application as needed
So, some more things to keep you busy and hopefully to keep your farm prosperous.

Oregon section24(c)s: Special local needs registrations for Christmas trees
By Rose Kachadoorian, ODA Pesticide Registration Specialist
 

ISSUED TO

PRODUCT
EPA #
SLN #
PEST

AMVAC

Tre Hold RTU Sprout

5481-460

OR-070005

Control leader length.

Bayer CropScience

Axiom DF (Flufenacet and Metribuzin)

264-766

OR-040017

rat tail fescue and other grasses

Dow AgroSciences

 

 

Kerb 50W

(proamide)

Restricted Use Pesticide

62719-397

OR-040029 (allows for aerial application)

grassy and other weeds

FMC

Brigade 2EC

(bifenthrin)

Restricted Use Pesticide

279-3313

OR-070015

spruce mites & root weevils

AMVAC

Discipline @EC

(bifenthrin)

Restricted Use Pesticide

5481-517

OR-050005

spruce mites & root weevils

Makhteshim-Agan

 

 

Thionex 50W** (endosulfan)

 

Restricted Use Pesticide

66222-62

OR-030012

(includes aerial & some ground appli. methods)

eriophyid needle mite, Douglas fir need midge, and certain adelgids & aphids.

Makhteshim-Agan

 

 

Thionex 3EC**

(endosulfan)

 

Restricted Use Pesticide

66222-63

OR-030013

(includes aerial & some ground appli. methods)

same as OR-030012

Dow AgroSciences

Lorsban Advanced

(chlorpyrifos)

Restricted Use Pesticide

62719-591

OR-090008
Aerial Appl.
Additional Restrictions

Douglas fir needle midge, spider mites, & aphids

The distributor label for OR-070005 was canceled: Lawn and Garden Product/ Sucker-Stopper RTU (EPA Reg No. 5481-460-54705).

The registration for OR-050004 was canceled, this use is now on the main product label, Syngenta/ Subdue MAXX (EPA Reg No. 100-796).

**Note: The Thionex labels were revised 12/10/2010 - use the revised labels. The rates were clarified, and the new labels state, It is unlawful to use this product on Conifers (grown as Christmas trees) after July 31, 2012.”  There will be no more use of endosulfan (Thionex) anywhere in the US after this date. Do not “stock-up”, you will not be able to legally use the product on Christmas trees.

 

With all pesticides, read the label before use. For copies of SLN labels:
http://picolsln.wsu.edu/slnDisplay.aspx?state=OR

 

 

 


Good buffers make good neighbors
Landscape trees used as buffer  
Landscape trees used as buffer
A 2 day workshop will be held April 19-20, 2011 at the Doubletree Motel at 1000 NE Multnomah Street in Portland. The purpose of this workshop is to share information on creating buffer zones that prevent the flow of agricultural contaminants into our water systems. What we grow, where we plant and the chemicals and fertilizers we use to protect and nourish those plants do not stop at your property boundaries. Building effective buffers, reducing chemical drift, weed and pest management strategies, improving water quality, and IPM approaches all can improve the productivity of our land and the environment. Research relating to these topics will be presented. Pesticide recertification credits are being arranged. The Soil and Water Conservation Society is sponsoring the workshop, with help from the Natural Resources and Pesticides Divisions of the ODA, EPA, NRCS (natural resources conservation service), and DEQ. The target audience is growers, other agencies, and watershed groups. Find out what is going on in your neck of the woods. Here is the link to the website: http://www.swcs.org/index.cfm?nodeID=29025&audienceID=1

For more information, contact Sheila Marcoe, Water Quality Specialist, Natural Resources Division, Oregon Department of Agriculture, 635 Capitol Street NE, Salem, Oregon 97301
State of Oregon holiday schedule
2011 Holidays and Furloughs


January 17, Monday- Martin Luther King Jr.’s Day

February 21, Monday- Presidents Day

March 18, Friday- Furlough

May 20, Friday- Furlough

May 30, Monday- Memorial Day

July 4, Monday- Independence Day

September 5, Monday- Labor Day

November 11, Friday-Veterans Day

November 24, Thursday- Thanksgiving Day

December 26, Monday- Christmas
2011 Christmas Tree Advisory Committee
Gene Carson
Holiday Tree Farms, Inc.
P.O. Box 182                                         
Sheridan, OR  97378
Phone 503-910-2277
 
Casey Grogan                                                                            
Silver Bells Tree Farm
3869 Victor Point Road
Silverton, OR  97381
Phone: 503-932-9713
 
Gayla Hansen                                                                            
Hansen Tree Farm
38973 S. Sawtell Rd.
Molalla, OR  97038
Phone: 503-829-9129
Cell: 503-519-2851 
   
Terry Muilenburg                                                                    
Green Valley Farm
13501 S. Maple Grove Road
Molalla OR 97308
Phone 503-829-5096
   
Bryan Ostlund (non-voting)                                               
Pacific Northwest Christmas Tree Association
P.O. Box 3366
Salem OR 97302
Phone 503-364-2942
Fax 503-581-6819 
 
Jim Schaefer                                                                               
Holiday Specialtrees
36252 S. Kropf Rd
Woodburn, OR 97071
Phone 503-634-2246
Fax 503-634-2661
                                                                                                                                          
Mark Schmidlin
Schmidlin Farms
43095 NW Sunset Highway
Banks, OR  97106
Phone: 503-314-8484