The UC Cooperative Extension has just launched “Growing the Valley,” a new podcast that focuses on orchard crops in the San Joaquin and Sacramento valleys. It can be found on iTunes, Google Play, or just played online at

We spoke with Phoebe Gordon, UCCE orchard systems advisor in Madera and Merced counties, about the first episode and her plans for the podcast.

Below you can find the Q&A with Gordon, followed by some key points from the first episode.

Q. What's the plan for this new podcast, the first from UC advisors?

PG: We want to cover anything and everything that could pertain to orchard crops in the valley. We have a couple interviews lined up for irrigation, chill, frost damage, that sort of thing.

We’re still trying to figure out what we want it to be.

In the future we’ll talk about some of the research projects that we have, and we’ll try to talk to some of our colleagues. Like, Craig Kallsen who put out an article about chill hours for pistachios and temperatures during the wintertime and spring. So, topical things that researchers have come out with.

I’d also like to do some podcasts on basic information like how to irrigate your trees properly.

We’ll probably have a really wide range of topics.

Q. What kinds of growers do you hope will listen to podcasts?

PG: The group we’re interested in mostly targeting is the younger crowd--they listen to podcasts, but it depends on the person.

The reason why we wanted to do a website too is so that people who aren’t super tech-savvy on their phones can still access the interviews. You can just go to the website and listen to it there.

With my general assessment of the orchard industry, I think it’s pretty diverse in terms of age group and how technologically savvy people are, that sort of thing.

Q. How widespread is herbicide resistance?

PG: I would not say it’s a problem for every single grower. It’s probably more likely if you have a lack of control, it’s a factor of bad timing, or maybe you weren’t spraying under the right conditions, or maybe not spraying early enough.

If you’re not hitting them when they’re first germinating, the older they get, the worse the product will control them. That’s a pretty big factor.

Even something like glyphosate or a contact herbicide, it can look like you controlled it. With a contact one, it can get burnt and die back, but because you only killed that tissue the herbicide touched, everything else is still alive and can regrow.

Q. What are you hearing from tree nut growers about the freeze earlier this year, now that the season is progressing?

PG: What I’ve heard from talking to my growers...nonpareil is off but it seems that for the most part I think we have a pretty good nutset.

A large harvest could be a function of not just how many nuts are on the trees but how many acres are bearing.

It wasn’t the worst case scenario...for the most part it looks like things are going to be pretty OK.

Q. Was the freeze worse in stone fruit?

PG: What I’ve heard is it wasn’t great. One person said they lost half their potential crop.

I don’t know what happened in the main apricot-growing region, but from what I know, apricots just didn’t fare very well.

Here are some tips and key points from Gordon’s first episode, an interview with Kurt J. Hembree about herbicide-resistant weeds.

  • Stage of life can affect how well an herbicide works.
  • Some plants will give up something to become resistant.
  • For example, Horseweed can not grow as tall...stay shorter, produce less flowers, but survive glyphosate.
  • Glyphosate is the primary herbicide that has shown resistance in different biotypes.
  • If herbicide isn’t working really examine the instructions to make sure spraying is as intended.
  • Tank mixing and rotating can increase efficacy and fight resistance.
  • It’s more important to have multiple modes of action in a tank, than multiple products.
  • How to set up a young orchard to avoid problems?
    • Plan ahead.
    • Pre-plant herbicides are available.
    • Perennial weeds out of the way before planting.

Industry trends Pest and disease Almonds

Back to blog

The difference between Ceres Imaging and other technologies I've used is the help I get from their expert team.
Jake Samuel, Partner
Samuel Farms
With Ceres Imaging we can take a more targeted approach to applying fertilizer and nutrients.
Brian Fiscalini, Owner
Fiscalini Cheese Company
These flights can cover way more ground and provide more insight than a dozen soil moisture probes — and it's cheaper to implement.
Patrick Pinkard, Assistant Manager
Terranova Ranch
The average Ceres Imaging conductance measurement from its imagery over the season has provided the best correlation with applied water.
Blake Sanden
University of California Cooperative Extension