US: Texas A&M sets dates for fruit and high tunnel conferences

The second annual Texas Fruit Conference will offer information for both novice and experienced growers, according to organizers with the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service.

“While this conference is intended to assist commercial fruit producers, the materials presented will also be helpful to homeowners and gardeners who simply want to grow fruits and nuts for home consumption and pleasure,” said Monte Nesbitt, AgriLife Extension horticulturist of College Station and one of the organizers.

The conference will be Sept. 30-Oct. 1. An additional Texas High Tunnel Conference will be offered on Oct. 2 for those who want more information on that type of growing system.

The fruit conference begins at 1 p.m. Sept. 30 at the Best Western Atrea Hotel at Old Town Center, 1920 Austin’s Colony, Bryan.

Online preregistration is $80 for the fruit conference and $55 for the high tunnel conference, or $125 for both. At-the-door registration for the fruit conference will be $90. People also can register by phone at 979-845-2604.

Nesbitt said experts will present the latest information on new Texas A&M AgriLife peach and nectarine varieties, commercial grape opportunities, assessing and coping with insufficient winter chilling, stone fruit disease control, food safety for fruit growers, brown marmorated stink bug issues in Texas, blackberry production history and managing Phytophthora root rot.

New growers will hear about basic issues such as tree planting, orchard establishment, disease problem solving, and assessing orchard and vineyard nutrition.

On Oct. 1, speakers will cover 12 topics including a statewide overview of renewed interest in commercial fruit crops like pomegranates.

The Texas High Tunnel Conference on Oct. 2, sponsored in part through a grant by the University of Arkansas National Strawberry Sustainability Initiative and The Walmart Foundation, will have a half day of presentations on strawberry production and management for Texas growers, and a half day on other fruits and vegetables in low-cost, frost protection shelters, according to Dr. Russ Wallace, AgriLife Extension horticulturist in Lubbock, conference organizer.

Wallace said the daylong conference, will also include talks on high tunnels in the US and around the world, construction techniques, crop and cultivar selection, pest management, economics and the US Department of Agriculture-Natural Resources Conservation Service high tunnel programs for growers.

Texas Department of Agriculture pesticide continuing education units will be offered at both events to those who present their applicators license.

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