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Washington: Seeing the apples through the smoke

Updated: Aug 3, 2021

In January 2020, we've covered the effect of Australian bushfires on local vine growers. Unfortunately, extreme weather conditions are now affecting nearly every part of the globe.

For the last couple of days, Washington state has been suffering from what the Washington post describes as "an unprecedented blanket of smoke" which originated from wild bushfires across the Canadian border.

Seeing through the smoke

A satellite image showing the progression of smoke from British Columbia (Courtesy of

"Apart from the obvious hazardous levels of pollution and the disturbing apocalyptic images, the smoke obscure sunlight, thereby reducing photosynthesis and consequently - the growth of both the tree and its fruits", explains Omer Sagee, Monitoring and Analysis products manager at Phytech.

"This is clearly seen in many of our customers' blocks suffering from this 'smoke blanket' across central Washington's regions of Okanagan, Wenatchee, Quincy, Royal City, Othello and Tri- cities", Says Iftach Shalev, WA territory manager.

In the images below, taken from Phytech's app, trees and fruits are telling the whole smoke story. We can easily detect how both the trunk and the fruit growth decreased during recent days.

Listening pays off

So even when things are foggy and smoky, with our dendrometers and fruit sensors generating real-time data, our growers can still get clear visibility of their trees health and growth rate.

Also, observing data from thousands of acres in the Washington area across different apples varieties, it's apparent that customers who "listened" to their trees in the beginning of the season and followed Phytech's irrigation recommendation have managed to sustain their fruit size trajectory despite the heavy heat-waves.

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