Fruit Orchard Specialist Joins CSU’s Western Colorado Research Center

A specialist in fruit orchard management will join Colorado State University’s Western Colorado Research Center in Grand Junction in June to conduct research and to work closely with fruit growers in the Western Slope region well- known for peaches, apples and other tree fruit.

Amaya Atucha, who recently earned a doctorate in horticulture at Cornell University, has assisted in management of her family’s avocado grove in Chile. Her doctoral minor is in soil sciences and biological and environmental engineering.

Atucha has studied the effects of orchard groundcover management, and soil and nutrition management. She also has conducted research projects and has worked with growers to establish best management practices with fertilization and irrigation programs, pruning, water and soil management, and disease and pest control.

Atucha will join CSU as an assistant professor in the Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture. Based at the Western Colorado Research Center, she will develop a research program in orchard systems and will work with local growers to improve production and sustainability by addressing issues such as variety evaluation, cultural practices, irrigation, pest control, and mitigation of environmental stresses.