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graphs showing water deficit timing 2017-2019
Mean soil volumetric water content (m3/ m3) (n = 3) of ‘Honeycrisp’ apple under deficit irrigation from full bloom to harvest in 2017 (bottom), 2018 (middle), 2019 (top). Four treatments were established including a well-watered control (line), early-season deficit (16–45 days after full bloom [DAFB]; dashes), mid-season deficit (46–75; dots), and late-season deficit (76–105 DAFB; small dashes).
side by side pics of Honeycrisp and WA 38 apple orchards
‘Honeycrisp” (left) and ‘WA 38″ (right) apple at harvest on 30 Aug 2018 and 26 Sept 2018, respectively, showing a more robust canopy for ‘WA 38’ than ‘Honeycrisp’ apple.
pie charts of honeycrisp size vs bitter pit and water deficit treatment
Size class shifts in Honecrisp under deficit irrigation (graphic by Jared Johnson and Kate Prengaman, Good Fruit Grower, April 9, 2020)
  • It must be summer, because Brenda Castaneda is back in the lab. Brenda is a Washington Apple Education Foundation scholarship recipient returning for her third year of working on sunburn research.
  • Congrats to five TFREC graduate students, including our own Erica Casagrande Biasuz, who were awarded a Hambelton Fellowships for 2020! Hambelton Fellowships are awarded annually for graduate students to use for travel and research-related expenses.
  • Jessica Waite started her new job as the USDA-ARS pear research geneticist on April 6th. Congratulations Jessica! We will miss you (and look forward to seeing you again once the social distancing is over, since you’ll just be across the parking lot).
  • Nadia Valverdi returned to our lab in February as a post-doc. We are happy to have you back Nadia!
  • Raquel Gomez joined Caroline Torres’ postharvest group in January as the lab manager. So glad you are staying in the building Raquel!


  • Congrats to Nadia who successfully defended her Ph.D. Dissertation “Interactions Between Rootstock Genotype and Soil Environment Affect Scion Physiology and Mineral Nutrition of Apple” on November 22!
  • Congrats to Raquel for successfully defending her M.S. Thesis “Physiological Factors Affecting Nutrient Uptake and Distribution in Apple” on November 8, 2019!
  • Science in Our Valley returns for Fall 2019 with presentations by Raquel and Nadia.  Check out the full schedule.
  • Welcome to Bi Tan from the University of Tasmania who is joining the lab as a visiting scholar for the remainder of summer 2019. Read more about Bi’s work in Tasmania here.
  • Join the Kalcsits Lab at the WSU Tree Fruit Research Field day on Wednesday, August 7, 2019 from 3:30 to 6:30 pm at the Sunrise orchard in Rock Island. We will be highlighting our work on sunburn mitigation using netting and deficit irrigation for Honeycrisp. See the WSU Tree Fruit website for more details.
  • Nadia’s first article from her PhD research was published today in Agronomy:  “Apple Scion and Rootstock Contribute to Nutrient Uptake and Partitioning under Different Belowground Environments“.  Check it out (it’s open access). Congrats Nadia!
  • Raquel, Erica, and Lee attended ASHS in Las Vegas in July 2019. Raquel presented her work on exogenous ABA application in apple, Erica took home 2nd place for her poster on rootstock variation as part of the @AppleRoot2Fruit project, and Lee did a presentation about the effects of elevated summer temperatures on apple production.
Erica standing in front of a poster with a second place ribbon on it
Erica Casagrande Biasuz with her second place poster at ASHS in July 2019
  • Jessica has a fantastic new web site that covers everything from when she decided to become a scientist through her current position as a postdoc in our lab.  Check it out:
  • The Kalcsits lab will be at the Wenatchee Mini Maker Faire this Saturday (June 1) at the Town Toyota Center.  Fun for all ages:
  • Congrats to Erica, one of this year’s Hambelton Scholarship winners! Great job!
  • Nadia, Michelle, and Lee are off to Italy in June 2019 to present work on water relations in Honeycrisp apple and how rootstocks contribute to scion responses to water limitations at the International Society for Horticultural Science Symposium on irrigation of horticultural crops in Matera, Italy.
Nadia standing in front of a poster
Nadia Valverdi with her ISHS poster in June 2019
  • As a lab, we have had a busy winter season of sharing our research with the scientific community and industry. We have given more than 15 talks since the start of 2019 and will have more to come shortly!
  • Welcome to Brenda Castaneda and Antoinette Avorgbedor who are starting summer positions in the lab. Brenda is a Washington Apple Education Foundation scholarship recipient returning for her second year of working on sunburn research and Antoinette is a Research and Extension Experiences for Undergraduates Intern coming from Cornell University. Welcome to both of you!
  • Michelle successfully defended her M.S. Thesis “Timely Deficit Irrigation as a Tool to Improve Fruit Quality and Bitter Pit Incidence in ‘Honeycrisp’ apple” on April 10, 2019.  She will be assuming her new role as the Kalcsits lab manager after graduation in May.  Congrats Michelle!
  • Welcome to Orlando Howe who is working in the lab while attending Wenatchee Valley College.
  • Tia Fathia, a visiting M.S. student from Wageningen University in the Netherlands spent two months working in the lab running quantitative analysis on synchrotron-based three dimensional reconstructions of apple fruit. Thank you for all your hard work!
  • It has been a while since this was updated: Giverson has moved on to take a faculty position at the University of Massachusetts in December 2019, Hector started a Ph.D. at the University of Birmingham in England, Michelle has defended her MS on April 10th, and Erica successfully passed her preliminary exams. Congratulations to all.


  • We are off to the American Society for Horticultural Sciences annual meeting in Washington, D.C. from July 30-August 3, 2018 where Giverson, Nadia, Michelle, and Lee will be presenting research.
  • Lee presented two invited talks at HortConnections in Brisbane, Australia in June 2018
  • Welcome to summer undergraduate students: Ryan, Jack, Chloe, and Brenda from WSU, Western Washington University, Montana State University, and Wesleyan College!
  • Giverson presented an invited talk at the end of May to the South African fruit industry on his work with protective netting in apple.
  • Congratulations to Sumyya Waliullah for co-leading a publication on efficient primer design for gene expression studies in apple!
  • Congratulations to Michelle Reid and Raquel Gomez for receiving Hambelton Scholarships for 2018. Great Job!
  • Congratulations to Corina Serban who completed her M.S. in my lab in April and has accepted a position in the research and development arm of Stemilt, one of the largest tree fruit producers in the United States.
  • Lee presented the Robert F. Carlson Lecture at the International Fruit Tree Association Annual Meeting in Napier, New Zealand on February 26, 2018. The talk was featured in the Good Fruit Grower Article “High-Res Honeycrisp
  • Lee presented keynote talks at the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Convention in Niagara Falls, Ontario on February 22, 2018 and to the Nova Scotia tree fruit industry on March 14, 2018.
  • Giverson led the effort on a review article published in Scientia Horticulturae titled “Effect of Protective Netting on Tree Physiology and Fruit Quality of Apple: A Review.” Great job!


  • The lab group was out in full force for the Washington State Tree Fruit Association Annual Show December 4-6, 2017. Corina, Giverson, Nadia, and Michelle presented in the 5-minute research flash session. This year, there were line-up to get into the room and strong industry attendance!
  • Corina, Giverson, Nadia, and Lee presented research at the American Society for Horticultural Sciences Annual Meeting in Waikoloa, Hawaii September 19-22, 2017.
  • Erica Casagrande Biasuz (PhD student) and Raquel Gomez (MS student) joined the lab in August 2017. They will both be taking classes in Pullman fall semester before joining us in Wenatchee in January. Welcome Erica and Raquel!
  • “Protection nets boosting orchard health, fruit yields in Valley”, Yakima Herald (August 4, 2017)
  • Welcome Rayane and Guilherme, visiting scholars from Brazil.  Rayane and Guilherme will be in Wenatchee from April to September, 2017.
  • Check out our video explaining our “Photoselective Anti-Hail Netting Trial for ‘Honeycrisp’ Apple” (April 6, 2017)
  • Photoselective Anti-Hail Netting Trial for ‘Honeycrisp’ Apple
  • “Advanced sensing techniques for analysis of elemental concentrations associated with bitter pit in apple,” Postharvest Biology and Technology. Accepted February 21, 2017.
  • “Above and below-ground environmental changes associated with the use of photoselective protective netting to reduce sunburn in apple,” Agricultural and Forest Meteorology (May 1, 2017)


  • Corina Serban, MS student, reflects on the  conference, CSANR (December 5, 2016)
  • “Orchards under cover: Hort Show Preview,” Good Fruit Grower (December 1, 2016)
  • Sumyya Waliullah joined the Tree Fruit Physiology Lab  on December 1, 2016 as a Visiting Scholar. Welcome Sumyya!
  • Read more about our joint research project on photoselective netting in the Yakima Herald (August 22, 2016)
  • Nadia Velverdi (PhD student) joined the lab in August 2016. Welcome Nadia!
  • A profile of Lee Kalcsits appeared in the Capital Press (May 12, 2016)
  • “Better ways to irrigate,” Good Fruit Grower (April 14, 2016)
  • Giverson Mupambi (Post-Doc) from Zimbabwe joined the lab in March 2016. Welcome Giverson!
  • “Ask Dr. Universe: How do leaves make themselves?” WSU News (February 2, 2016)
  • Corina Serban (M.S. Student) and Michelle Reid (Research Assistant) joined the lab in January 2016. Welcome!


  • Our research on changes in physiology of apples under photoselective anti-hail netting was featured in the Good Fruit Grower (November 2, 2015)
Visiting collaborators at INRA Forest Sciences Centre in Champenoux near Nancy, France.
Visiting collaborators at INRA Forest Sciences Centre in Champenoux near Nancy, France.
  • On October 2-8, I visited collaborators at the INRA Forest Sciences Centre in Champenoux, France that work on our WSU CAHNRS Emerging Research Initiative (ERI) grant. Here, I presented a seminar to the center, further developed interdisciplinary collaborations related to calcium uptake and distribution in woody plants and firmed up plans for upcoming research related to our ERI grant.
Photoselective netting installed at a commercial ‘Honeycrisp’ orchard to look at how colored netting impacts the physiology of apple
Photoselective netting installed at a commercial ‘Honeycrisp’ orchard to look at how colored netting impacts the physiology of apple
  • Our research on changes in physiology of apples under photoselective anti-hail netting was featured in the newest article of Fruit Grower News (September 8, 2015)
Honeycrisp ready for harvest on August 14, 2015 at a commercial orchard in Southern Washington State
Honeycrisp ready for harvest on August 14, 2015 at a commercial orchard in Southern Washington State
  • Harvest is now complete! We have harvested apples from orchards around the state that have participated in projects this summer. I would like to extend a big thank you to all of our collaborators for accommodating us in your orchards. We are now processing our samples and crunching the data.
  • “Understanding Key Roles of Roots”, a research report by Lee Kalcsits, was published in the Good Fruit Grower (April 20, 2015)