WSU Tree Fruit Research & Extension Center

Tree Fruit Research & Extension Center

Monday, March 25, 2019

TFREC is the research and extension center of Washington State University dedicated to the tree fruit sciences. Located in the primary fruit producing region of the world, the center features a cooperative, multidisciplinary approach to tree fruit production in the 21st century.

TFREC's newest crop...of owls

Momma (or poppa) great horned owl with two of the three young they raised in the WSU-TFREC parking lot (photo Stefano Musacchi)

Parasite follows its invasive prey to WA

The discovery in Washington state of a parasitic wasp that kills its host like a scene from the “Alien” sci-fi movie has entomologists cheering from the west coast to the east (video). That’s because the wasp’s victim – the brown marmorated stink bug – is far more wicked. What’s more, the wasp, which hails from Asia and is being studied under quarantine in the U.S., has been found living at a public park in Washington (more...)

WSU-TFREC researchers receive USDA grants

WSU-TFREC horticulturalists received grants under the USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant Program: Cosmic Crisp: Training System and Orchard Management, Stefano Mussachi, $249,191; and Physiological Responses of Apple under Photoselective Hail Netting, Lee Kalcsits, $248,608. In total WSU received grants for 10 of the 24 projects funded, and the total award for the state was $4.1 million. (more)

Lee Kalcsits lab - tree fruit physiology

Covering research activities on tree fruit physiology, a new web site is now available for reading at

Tree fruit extension team leader

Karen Lewis, a Washington State University Extension regional tree fruit specialist, has been appointed to lead WSU’s tree fruit extension team, effective Oct. 1. (more)

Kate Evans video interview

Kate Evans sits down with Shawn Brook, SeedWorld, at the 2015 NAPB/PBCC Annual Meeting at Washington State University from July 27-30, 2015.

Welcome TFREC's new director, Jim McFerson

Jim McFerson is the new director for the Washington State University Tree Fruit Research and Extension Center (TFREC) in Wenatchee starting Aug. 24. Former director Jay Brunner will continue part-time to support the leadership transition until he officially retires as entomology professor at the end of the year (more...)

Dr. Achour Amiri joins TFREC

On Septemeber 1 Dr. Achour Amiri joined the WSU-TFREC faculty as our new plant pathologist. Dr. Amiri previously was project manager at the Gulf Coast Research and Education Center, Univ of Florida. We look forward to his expertise on plant disease applied to tree fruits.

Website features orchard management research

The orchard management research group managed by Dr. Stefano Musacchi at TFREC has a new website, At this time Dr. Musacchi is currently looking for two motivated, enthusiastic, hard working students who want to pursue a Ph.D to join the group. Persons interested are encouraged to check out the website.

New video: Photo-selective Netting

An Integrated Agro-technology: Improving Fruit Production While Coping With Environmental Constraints is now available on-line at WSU-Tree Fruit .

Dr. Shahak presents an invited expert seminar reviewing research around the world where anti-hail shade nets of various colors have been used to alter the field microclimate and bring about various positive benefits for plants.

New videos added to Tree Fruit playlist

Beating Apple Replant Disorders and Managing Quarantine Significant Post Harvest Diseases in Pacific Northwest Apple and Pear Orchards are the two most recent videos added to the Tree Fruit playlist now up on YouTube. These are part of the 22 videos now in the collection, with more planned for the future. Videos on the playlist are supported by the WSU Tree Fruit Endowment.

Postharvest specialist opening at Prosser

Information and Technology Transfer Postharvest Specialist (#121089). Washington State University (WSU) is seeking a full-time, 12-month, temporary, non-tenured track, faculty position located at the Washington State University IAREC in Prosser, WA. Required: M.S. or Ph.D. in Horticulture or related plant sciences discipline with a background in postharvest research and/or management of temperate fruit crops, especially apple, pear and sweet cherry and other stone fruit; ability to travel and work occasional weekend and/or evening hours; must have, or able to obtain at time for hire, a valid driver’s license. Application screening begins July 13, 2015. For a full description of the position and to apply, please visit: For questions about the position contact Dr. Desmond Layne, 509-663-8181 Ext 233, EEO/AA/ADA.

WSU Irrigated Agriculture: Announcements

The Cooperative Extension team for WSU Irrigated Agriculture makes regular announcements through e-mail. To sign-up visit their site at Users can choose the commodities they want to receive information about.

Hort meeting handouts available

Handouts from some of the talks presented at the Washington State Horticultural Association meeting Dec 1—3, 2014 are available online in pdf format at

RosBREED2: Disease Resistance Plus Horticultural Quality

Imagine the day when you can commercially grow fruit, nut, and ornamental cultivars that have high consumer acceptance, are highly productive, and are resistant to one or more major diseases. That hope may be one big step closer as scientists work together on a newly funded federal grant. On Oct. 2, the National Institute of Food and Agriculture Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI) announced that a team working on the genomics, genetics, and breeding of crops from the Rosaceae family had been awarded funds for the first year of a $10 million, five year competitive grant.

More at

Drs. Beers and Ostrom receive specialty crop funding

Funding from USDA and WSDA specialty crop programs will support further research at WSU-TFREC. Dr. Elizabeth Beers received funding for projects on Brown Marmorated Stink Bug and managing Little Cherry Disease; and Dr. Marcia Ostrom for a study on enhancing local and direct markets of specialty crops. (More...)

A multi-state project on the genetics of roseacea crops (apple, peach, blackberry, and strawberry among others) also recevied funding. WSU-TFREC scientists Drs. Kate Evans and Desmond Layne are participating. (More...)

Cider apple orchard costs

WSU Extension faculty recently released a downloadable fact sheet, 2013 Cost Estimation of Establishing a Cider Apple Orchard in Western Washington. The guide examines the feasibility of establishing and producing cider apples. An accompanying Excel spreadsheet is available at the Extension Economics website,

Little Cherry Disease…..a growing concern for Washington sweet cherry growers

Trees with little cherry disease produce cherries of small size and poor flavor making the fruit unmarketable. This disease has been present at low levels in Washington State since the 1940s, but became increasingly evident during 2011-2013 resulting in unpicked limbs/trees, tree removal, and even whole orchard removal. Little cherry disease has been verified in commercial sweet cherry orchards in Grant, Chelan, Douglas, and Okanogan counties. To learn more about little cherry disease management, spread, and current WSU research, go to

Life on a leaf

Amazing video describing mites that can be found on apple leaves; taken through a dissecting microscope, 10x-70x (more...)

WSU announces the name for its stellar new apple

The newest Washington State University apple, designated WA 38, is one step closer to hitting supermarkets with announcement of its brand name, Cosmic Crisp (more)

Orchard diseases, finding a solution in the genes

Dr. Desmond Layne, in a May 2014 American Fruit Grower column, provides a summary of the progress toward breeding tree fruits for both disease resistance and superior fruit quality. Armed with tools that only recently became available, breeders have become more creative, accurate, and efficient (more; download pdf).

Predatory mites in northwest orchards

Information on predatory mites recently discovered in northwest orchards has been added to the Orchard Pest Management web articles.

New timing tools for blossom thinning

A timing tool for blossom thinning on apples is available on the WSU AgWeatherNet (AWN) this spring. Based upon the rate of growth of pollen tubes, the tool differentiates the good and bad timings for effective blossom thinning with lime sulfur. More information and help files for the tool are available at AWN after user login.

Potential March harvest for greenhouse peaches

Washington has the potential to produce greenhouse peaches with harvest as early as March if Washington growers follow a method used in China. Dr. Desmond Layne, WSU-TFREC horticulturalist, reported on practices used in 30,000 acres of greenhouses at the Jan 21st North Central Washington Stone Fruit Day (more at Capital Press)

WSU-CAHNRS to provide additional resources for DAS

WSU-College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences acknowledged the importance of the tree fruit Decision Aid System by announcing additional support for the system, and the appointment of DAS leader Vince Jones to an Extension position (more)

Fruit Testing Technology Tries to Catch Up With Our Mouths

"pierce a peach with your teeth....too soft, you’ll pull back before any spoiled mush slips past your gums...too hard, you probably won’t even take the first bite." October Modern Farmer features an interview with WSU-TFREC researchers Katherine Evans and Desmond Layne discussing technology to duplicate what every fruit lover knows about just right firmness.


Colored nets over your orchard, and your investment

Recent arrivals at TFREC, Drs. Desmond Layne and Stefano Musacchi, plan to establish research plots to test new advances in protecting high value orchards with netting. In a recent commentary in Growing Produce, Dr. Layne describes orchards in Europe and South Africa using netting to reduce sunburn, hail, and pest damage. Forthcoming changes in national food safety regulations may impact the ability of fruit growers to use overhead evaporative cooling for sunburn protection. (download pdf)

Great For New Cultivars Or Systems

Test blocks: words of wisdom on creating your own test blocks from Desmond Layne, WSU Tree Fruit Extension Program Leader, appear in Growing Produce. Dr. Layne lays out the six steps for trying out new cultivars or systems before establishing them in commercial orchards; discover if the latest and greatest works for you. (download article in pdf)

Fruit quality the the bottom line of the producer

In a new article in American Fruit Grower, Desmond Layne tells the story of Peter Welacky Sr., a Hungarian immigrant, and how he taught his young picking crew the importance of fruit quality...that if you have "peaches and when picked tree-ripe, and handled carefully, and displayed nicely, they would literally sell themselves." (download article in pdf)

2012 Red Delicious Economics Factsheet

A new fact sheet with updated values for Establishing, Producing, and Packing Red Delicious Apples in Washington is now available. Produced by Karina Gallardo and Suzette Galinato, the pdf document has an accompanying MS Excel worksheet. This and other enterprise budgets can be downloaded from the Extension Economics website.

Organic Fruit Presentations Online

Presentations from the 2nd International Organic Fruit Research Symposium held June 2012 in Leavenworth, WA are now on-line. eOrganic recorded the sessions and has now made them available on their web site at This information will be of interest to anyone who wishes to learn the latest developments in the worldwide organic fruit supply chain.

Establishing, Producing, and Packing Honeycrisp Apples

Production costs and returns for Honeycrisp apples is now available in a new publication from WSU economists, "2011 Cost Estimates of Establishing, Producing, and Packing Honeycrisp Apples in Washington (FS062E)." A separate spreadsheet (Excel) is also available for downloading.

USDA updates cold hardiness map

The USDA recently finished a new cold hardiness map. The results are of no surprise to growers who have been testing the limits over the last ten years, but they do make it somewhat official. The interactive map is available at

Integrating New Insecticides--interactive presentation

Integrating New Insecticides Into a Strategic Plan for Codling Moth and Leafroller:  the Apple IPM Transition Project has prepared an interactive presentation addressing topics related to implementing new insecticides for codling moth and leafroller control as the industry transitions away from organophosphate insecticides (more...)

Visual Guide to Adult Stink Bugs

The Brown Marmorated Stink Bug is an invasive species native to eastern Asia where it is considered a major economic pest of soybeans and woody plants. Its presence in the US was first discovered in 2001 in Pennsylvania, and has since spread west with detections as far as California and Oregon. As in Asia, this pest is known to attack our high valued tree fruit crops as well as vegetables and small fruit. (more at PMTP)

Organic Tree Fruit Management in the West

New concepts and techniques are featured in Organic Tree Fruit Pest Management in the West: Bringing New Science to Old Problems. The presentations from this symposium are now available on-line at

Domestic apple genome published

An international team of scientists from Italy, France, New Zealand, Belgium and the USA have published a draft sequence of the domestic apple genome in the current issue of Nature Genetics. The availability of a genome sequence for the apple will allow scientists to more rapidly identify which genes provide desirable characteristics to the fruit and which genes and gene variants provide disease or drought resistance to the plant (more...)

Updated cost estimates for producing sweet cherries

WSU economists have released new data in the on-line publication, "2009 Cost estimates of establishing and producing sweet cherries in Washington" along with an Excel spreadsheet for grower use.

Establishing and Producing Gala Apples in Washington

Since the first commercial plantings of Gala apples in the 1980s, the popularity of this cultivar has grown exponentially until today Gala is the second largest cultivar grown in Washington. This new WSU Extension Fact Sheet identifies typical practices and corresponding costs of a modern, well-managed Gala apple orchard. It indicates current trends in the industry, and as such, can be helpful in estimating the physical and financial requirements. (fact sheet)



Consumer Horticulture

The Consumer Horticulture Community at eXtension has a new web site to provide resources on backyard horticulture with such topics as composting, pollinators, and tree selection (go to eXtension).

WSU-TFREC Sites of Interest


Plant breeding

Tree fruit economics

Tree fruit physiology

Integrated Pest Management

  • Pest Management Transition Project
  • Western Orchard Pest & Disease Management Conference (moved)
  • Enhancing Western Orchard Biological Control
  • Survey results: pest management practices 1990 & 2000
  • IPM Decision Aid System (DAS)

Orchard Management

Harvest and Postharvest

and More

Tree Fruit Research & Extension Center, 1100 N Western Ave, Washington State University, Wenatchee WA 98801, 509-663-8181, Contact Us