Is it Salt Damage or Almond Leaf Scorch

Is it Salt Damage or Almond Leaf Scorch

August 3, 2020

Salt Damage and Almond Leaf Scorch Look Similar

By Patrick Cavanaugh

Franz Niederholzer is a UCANR Cooperative Extension Orchard System Advisor based in Colusa County. In his area some growers are seeing symptoms on their almond leaves and they don't know if it's leaf scorch or chloride damage.

“Could it be salt damaged, take a sample for chloride and sodium. Just to check that box,” Niederholzer said.

He said to send those leaf samples to an agricultural lab. “If that comes back negative, there are labs that do test for the bacteria Xylella fastidios that causes almond leaf scorch. Answer that question,” he said. “The symptoms are similar, but not exactly the same. The chloride test is easier to do, but if it comes back that the chloride levels are low, then that leaves you with the option of testing for the almond leaf scorch bacteria, to be absolutely certain that that's what's going on,” Niederholzer explained.

And Niederholzer said, depending on where you're growing your almonds in the Northern Sacramento Valley harvest could be starting about two weeks from now.

“I bet that'd be some people going in the next 10 days at the very earliest site. Maybe I'm getting ahead of myself, but on the farthest West side where there are some gravelly soil, things happen early. So those are the earliest sites in the Sacramento Valley,” Niederholzer said. “I know the weather between now and then could alter things, but I wouldn't be surprised that somebody was shaking first week of August.”