WSU Tree Fruit Research & Extension Center

Tree Fruit Research & Extension Center

Friday, April 18, 2014

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.

Predatory mites in northwest orchards

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

As Extension celebrates 100 years, new goals are set for tree fruit

Dr. Desmond Layne recently laid out the next steps WSU is taking toward new tree fruit extension resources. In an article published in Goodfruit Grower on the 100th anniversary of Cooperative Extension, Dr. Layne, tree fruit program extension leader, described the several projects underway to enhance activities in tree fruits.

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.

El Niño alert for this summer or fall

The NWS-Climate Prediction Center has issued an El Niño watch for this summer and fall.  In some years, insect developement, fruit maturity, and apple sunburn have been affected by El Niño conditions.  Follow on the TFREC Climate Prediction links and use the WSU-DAS horticultural models.

TFREC welcomes physiologist to faculty

Dr. Lee Kalcsits will join the WSU-TFREC faculty March 1 in the position of plant physiologist. Lee grew up on a small acreage in Saskatchewan, Canada where he developed his passion for horticulture and trees. He completed his B.S. in Plant Sciences majoring in Horticulture at the University of Saskatchewan while also gaining experience in plantation forestry and domestic fruit breeding during the summers. He then completed his M.S. in tree ecophysiology looking at interactions between autumn temperature and dormancy development in hybrid poplar. He recently completed his PhD at the University of British Columbia where he worked towards developing a new integrated isotope approach to measure nitrogen-use traits in poplar and other plants. Since July, 2013, he has been working at the Centre for Forest Biology at the University of Victoria exploring the interactions between nitrogen source preference and temperature in tree seedlings. He is looking forward to introducing and developing new approaches for addressing physiological problems associated with tree fruit production

Workshop on biological control in tree fruits

The WSU Tree Fruit Research & Extension Center is offering a hands-on workshop on biological control in tree fruits. This workshop is free, but signup is required (find registration link below). Participants can receive pesticide recertification credits. Sessions will be held Friday, 28 February and Wednesday, 12 March 2014 in Wenatchee and Friday, 21 March 2014 in Prosser. This biocontrol workshop will consist of 2 modules; you can choose to participate in both modules or just in Module 1.

Module1: Understanding the basics of biological control and learning to recognize natural enemies in the orchard: discuss general principles and examples of biological control in orchards, review key natural enemy groups and features used for their identification, and practice insect identification skills.
Module 2: Applying new biocontrol information: monitoring, models, and pesticide effects on natural enemies: learn about new and traditional ways to monitor for natural enemies, explore how knowledge about natural enemy phenology helps in pest management, understand how pesticides affect natural enemies, apply new information in a practical exercise


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)

“WA 38,” an eye-catching, large, dark red apple

Remarkably firm, sweet, tangy, crisp, and unbelievably juicy. These are words that describe WA 38, the latest creation of WSU’s world-class tree fruit breeding program. After more than 16 years in the making, this eye-catching, dark-red beauty is ready for launch into the help ensure a fair distribution of initial inventories amount Washington growers, the university will conduct a lottery in late spring 2014 for trees to be distributed in 2017. (more)

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)

Sunrise Field Day a success

Participants at the annual WSU Sunrise Research Orchard Field Day on August 7 had a great time (link to photo collection)

Dr. Del Ketchie, WSU-TFREC researcher

We just received the sad news that Del Ketchie, retired WSU-TFREC horticulturalist died on July 31. Dr. Ketchie was well known for his expertise on the cold-hardiness of fruit trees, and conducted pioneering work on preventive measures. In recent years, he was also involved in evaluating cultivars of red delicious apples and studying the causes of horticultural disorders.

TFREC pomologist to be introduced at Field Day

Dr. Stefano Musacchi, new WSU Endowed Chair in tree fruit physiology and management, will headline the Fifth Annual Sunrise Research Orchard Field Day on August 7. Dr. Musacchi, a world-class scientist, joins TFREC from from the University of Bologna.

The main orchard tour from 5 to 6:30 pm will be followed by dinner. Other features of Field Day will include apple breeding updates, replant study evaluation, delivery of pesticides by an innovative solid set canopy system, and a review of crop load management. Workshops (beginning at 3pm; please RSVP) will be held on weed control and biological control. The Sunrise Research Orchard is located halfway between East Weneatchee and Quincy. Directions and additional information are available (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)

Spotted Wing Drosophila carry over through mild winter

WSU researchers continued to catch Spotted Wing Drosophila through this last winter. However, there is no indication yet what the populations will do during the pest season 2013. News will be logged on the SWD website.

Release of 'WA 38,' new apple cultivar

an eye-catching, large, dark red apple with a remarkably firm, crisp, and juicy texture that also stores well. The apple has outstanding eating quality, exceptional flavor, ample sweetness, and sufficient tartness to impart real character. Our feeling is that when it comes to the combination of taste, texture, and beauty, “WA 38” has no equal in today’s marketplace. Washington State University Research Foundation (WSURF), the licensing arm of WSU, desires to find an exclusive licensee to manage its commercialization (more...)

2013 Crop Protection Guide

The 2013 version of the Crop Protection Guide for Tree Fruits in Washington (WSU Extension EB0419) is now available in printed form from the WSU Extension Online Store or as HTML from the TFREC web site.

Growers approve $5 million investment

Cherry and stone fruit growers throughout the state have agreed to make a $5 million investment over the next eight years at WSU research and extension centers in Prosser and Wenatchee (more...)

Congrats to Gary Moulton on his retirement

On January 10, 2013 Gary A. Moulton was honored on his retirement from WSU Mount Vernon NWREC at a lunch celebrating his 30 years of service to agriculture in the Puget Sound. Over 60 well-wishers were on hand, including WSU Mount Vernon faculty and staff, representatives from fruit grower groups, home gardeners, nursery growers, and others who conveyed their thanks for his many years of work in tree fruit research and extension.

'Mr Peach' to join TFREC faculty Feb 1

In a farewell to Desmond R. Layne, who will be joining WSU February 1, the South Carolina Peach Council awarded Layne the title of “Mister Peach." Dr. Layne will occupy one of WSU’s newest endowed chairs. With funding from the state’s tree fruit industry, Dr. Layne will use TFREC in Wenatchee to reach out to the industry statewide as the leader of the tree fruit extension team.

Dr. Layne will be coming from Clemson University where he is an expert not only in extension information delivery, but also peach and pawpaw production.
His current activities include Everything About Peaches, a website for peach information.


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.

Flaming Weeds to Organizing an International Research Symposium

Washington State University agricultural education major Amanda Mattingly never expected the variety of experiences waiting for her as she started an internship at the WSU Tree Fruit Research and Extension Center in Wenatchee this summer (more...)

Sunrise Field Day, August 23

WSU held its 4th Annual Sunrise Field Day August 23, 2012 at the Sunrise Research Orchard, between East Wenatchee and Quincy (photos...)

Webinar: fire blight control without antibiotics

Dr. Ken Johnson of Oregon State University discusses the most current research related to control of fire blight without antibiotics, a situation organic growers may face in two years. The results can be helpful to any grower managing fire blight. Topics include fire blight biology, a new orchard monitoring tool, existing and new products, and integrated control. View at

Organic tree fruit trends

The most current statistics (2011) on organic tree fruit production in Washington State are now posted on line (, along with reports on the overall organic sector in the state. A comprehensive report on organic tree fruit with data from the past decade will be published later this spring.

AgTools Online Workshop forTree Fruits

AgTools™ Academy features an online workshop to explore the financial realities of orchard renewal strategies. The agenda includes a brief overview of the AgTools suite of software, benchmark production costs for three apple varieties, and the case study of Smith Apple Farms, where we present on a dilemma faced a family owned apple operation. The panel of lenders discuss what is required for a successful loan and how they see the situation of Smith Apple Farms.

To access this workshop go to:

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...)

WA growers invest $27 million in WSU

Apple and pear growers throughout the state have agreed to make a historic investment of $27 million over the next eight years to support tree fruit research and extension at Washington State University. It is the largest single gift in the university’s history (more...)

Sunrise Field Day 2011 on Facebook

Please check out our Facebook photo album from the Sunrise Field Day 2011 we held on August 16. Our guests included WSU President Elson Floyd and CAHNRS Dean Dan Bernardo.

Enhancing biological control team adds educator

Dr. Angela Gadino joins the Enhancing Biological Control in Western Orchards team from Oregon State University as education and outreach coordinator for the multi-state project. Her research at OSU focused on the biological control of mites in vineyards using ecologically based strategies and innovatative technologies. We welcome her as she brings her experience working with the Oregon wine industry to tree fruit growers. Dr. Gadino will be working with the programs of both Dr. Jay Brunner and Dr. Vince Jones.

First 2011 Spotted Wing Drosophila

We have the first 2011 captures of SWD in eastern WA. We are recommending that growers in this region begin crop protection sprays when their cherries reach a susceptible stage (blush).

The WSU recommendations for Spotted Wing Drosophila control in eastern Washington cherries are now available. We will be deploying traps throughout April, and will send out alerts for each region’s first catch of SWD this spring, as well as posting them on the SWD website. Western WA small fruit growers can find specific information on the Mt. Vernon web site.

Note: the SLN (Special Local Needs, or 24(c)) for spotted wing drosophila control with Entrust was updated June 28, 2011.

Entomologist joins Ecology and Behavior Lab

WSU-TFREC welcomes Dr. Andrea Bixby-Brosi to our Tree Fruit Entomology Program. Andrea comes to us from the University of Kentucky at Lexington where she developed expertise in multitrophic interactions involving arthropods, plants and beneficial insects. She is joining the Insect Ecology and Behavior Laboratory overseen by Dr. Vince Jones where she will be engaged in research and outreach involving conservation of natural enemies for orchard biological control, as well as work with attractants and monitoring of natural enemy colonization into orchards.

PMTP newsletter begin 4th year

The Pest Management Transition Project's newsletter is entering it's fourth year with details in the current issue on the further phaseout of azinphos-methyl, or Guthion. The newsletter has become a valuable tool to growers looking to reduce their use of organophosphates and other less environmentally friendly materials (more)

Kupferman, Apple Citizen of Year

Congratulations to Gene Kupferman, recently retired WSU horticulturist, who was named Apple Citizen of the Year by the 2011 Washington Apple Blossom Festival. Gene earned this honor by providing three decades of leadership in understanding the postharvest management of tree fruits.

Welcome our new molecular biologist

WSU-TFREC welcomes Dr. Rosa Caiazzo to our Plant Pathology program. Dr. Caiazzo comes from the facilities of the Italian Agricultural Research Council at Scafati where she developed an expertise in the molecular genetics of fungi.

WSU introduces 'WA 5', a new apple

Bright, attractive, crisp, and juicy with a good sugar/acid balance describes the latest release from the WSU Apple Breeding Project. Growers can now apply for evaluation trees to be available spring 2011. (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.

Field Day 2010 scrapbook

We've assembled a few of the highlights from the 2010 Sunrise Research Orchard Field Day held July 29 into an online scrapbook (and the TFREC Facebook page)

Pest Management Transition 2010 Handbook

The PMTP Handbook underwent a major update. The new edition added new pages including an explanation of Degree Days, more pest monitoring, updated web resources (indluding DAS 4.0), as well as changes to pages containing references to the Codling Moth model to reflect the no-biofix model. And, a Spanish edition of the Handbook is now available (more...)

Community Education Garden dedication

The Chelan-Douglas Master Gardeners dedicated the new Community Education Garden to the communities of Chelan and Douglas Counties on Thursday, May 20, 2010. This project is located at the Tree Fruit Research & Extension Center (more...)


WA 2: first WSU apple variety

After 15 years, the WSU apple breeding program has released its first apple cultivar. Currently known as ‘WA 2’ was released because of its outstanding eating quality, appearance and productivity and therefore it’s potential to be a successful cultivar in Washington State.

It is attractive with an orange-red to pinkish-red blush over a yellow background and has large and conspicuous lenticels which usually make it easily distinguishable from other cultivars and add to its overall pleasing appearance. The fruit has outstanding texture, being very firm, crisp and juicy and loses very little firmness in storage and on the shelf (more...)

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)

Orchard Pest Management on web

OPM: a Resource for the Pacific Northwest is now available on the web. This valuable reference for anyone concerned with tree fruit arthropod pests includes 98 species and other accounts and a new gallery of over 900 photographs. Go to OPM...

Impact: the value of research & extension

Washington State University's Tree Fruit Research and Extension Center is well situated to meet the immediate and future needs of Washington's fruit industry. More...



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

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