WSU Tree Fruit Research & Extension Center

Tree Fruit Research & Extension Center

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

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.

Full time farm job available at TFREC

Open through Feb. 8; see (or for details

Tree Fruit video playlist

The Tree Fruit video playlist is now up on YouTube. Recently added videos include seminars on soil management and soil testing plus a further look at CosmicCrisp™, the WSU developed apple variety.

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

Managing Pollination Risks with Mason Bees

Tuesday, November 18, 2014, 10am-1230pm, WSU Tree Fruit Research and Extension Center
Pollination is essential to tree fruit production. Risks to successful pollination include poor weather, hard-to-pollinate varieties, decline in honeybee availability, and escalating honeybee costs. Mason bees, particularly blue orchard bees (Osmia lygnaria), are a well-researched alternative pollinator that can be combined with honeybees (or used alone) to reduce pollination risks. Both research results and grower experience have shown that they can lead to yield increases in some situations, and other benefits are being investigated. Come learn about these alternative pollinators and how they might fit your operation from the four leading mason bee companies in the country. They will introduce you to the behavior and performance of the bee, and how it can be used in a managed program (versus relying on wild populations) with a positive return on investment. Background on the bees can be found at

For more information, contact David Granatstein, WSU, at 509.663.8181 x.222, or . RSVP is encouraged.

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...)

Precision soil management

Dr. Dave Brown's presentation, The Potential for Precision Soil Management in Orchards, given at WSU-TFREC on August 13, 2014 is now available for viewing on-line (

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,

New look coming to WSU-TFREC web sites

In coordination with the development of the new WSU Tree Fruit one-stop website later this year, WSU-TFREC websites will receive a makeover. Readers are invited to view the initial stages of the project with a test version of the Soils and Nutrition site at

Coming WSU One-Stop-Shop website for tree fruit

Dr. Desmond Layne and a team of other WSU faculty are in the process of creating a new, comprehensive, one-stop-shop tree fruit website with a targeted launch date by the end of 2014. Dr. Layne, Tree Fruit Extension Program Leader for WSU, in a Growing Produce column, described the on-going process to develop a single place to draw together the diverse information of numerous websites currently maintained by WSU for tree fruits (pdf)

Spotted Wing Drosophila update

July 11: Trap catches remain low again this week: Brewster, Wenatchee, Stemilt Hill and Mattawa all had positive trap catches for the first time this season however. Get updated monitoring information from the WSU Spotted Wing Drosophila 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)

Community Display Garden: Roses

Roses are now at full bloom in the Community Display Garden, southeast corner of the TFREC campus. Visitors may walk through the gardens anytime during daylight hours, and discover numerous ideas and concepts for their own gardens. Thanks to the hard work of the WSU Chelan County Master Gardeners.

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.

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 joined 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

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)

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.

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)



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