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State Avocado Society to Discuss Problems

September 17, 1993|JEFF McDONALD

Pesky spider mites, rising water costs and a bumper harvest that has driven market prices down will dominate discussion this weekend as California Avocado Society members meet in Ventura for their annual meeting.

"We hope to give our members a little bit of optimism about the future of the industry," said Thelma Piercy of the California Avocado Society. "Last year was really hard on growers."

Piercy and others said ideal weather conditions contributed to near-record yields for avocados in Ventura County, where 16,000 acres of avocado trees are cultivated.

But other factors also are conspiring to make life difficult for avocado growers, society members said.

Mites discovered in San Diego County avocado trees three years ago have been spotted in Ventura County, said Larry Rose, the society's vice president.

"We're still keeping our fingers crossed in Ventura County," he said. "From what I've seen in San Diego County, every tree is infected."

The perseae spider mite destroys the tree leaves, which ruins the avocados by exposing the fruit to direct sunlight, he said.

The California Avocado Society has more than 1,000 members, but organizers say about 150 will attend the conference.

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