When is the best time to prune apple and peach trees? Also when should you spray dormant oil, Before pruning or after? And what kind of spray do you use after the dormant oil and during the growing season?
Apples can be pruned much of the year, but for young trees probably bout mid-March is optimum. Peaches, from first signs of growth to bloom so wounds heal quickly and trees are less likely to be infected by canker.
Oil is best for apples from first growth to first definition of blossoms before they show much color and before any open. Oil doesn't benefit peaches much in your area, IMO, but same rule as applies. However they are usually about a week ahead of apples.
Thanks, Any suggestions on what spray to use for insecticide and fungiscide?
Jimmy, here's something I wrote for this forum some time back. I expect your pest complex is similar to mine so this should be helpful. Good luck.
REPRINT PERMISSION FROM ALAN HAIGH REQUIRED
Low Spray Schedule for Home Orchards in the Northeast
Here's my spray schedule for the scores of orchards I manage around SE NY adapted for home owners managing a few fruit trees. It has functioned well for me for over 2 decades, although J. Beetles and brown rot of stone fruit increases the number of sprays and necessary pesticides some years some sites. Stink bugs are also an increasing problem requiring more subsequent sprays when they appear. Time of spray is based on apple bloom as that is the predominant fruit here but I generally get away with spraying all trees at the time I spray apples.
Please note that pesticide labels must be read before their use and my recommendations do not override the rules on the label. The label is the law. This document only communicates what has worked for me and your results may vary depending on local pest pressure, which may require a different spray schedule.
Dormant oil (this is optional if there were no mites or scale issues the previous season, which is usually the case in home orchards). Do oil spray somewhere between the point where emerging shoots are 1/2" and the flower clusters begin to show a lot of pink. Mix Immunox (myclobutinol) at highest legal rate (listed on label for controlling scab and cedar apple rust on apple trees) with 1 to 2% oil. If it's closer to pink use 1%.
Don't spray again until petal fall when petals have mostly gone from latest flowering varieties and bees have lost interest. Then spray Triazide (Spectracide Once and Done) + Immunox mixed together at highest legal rates. Repeat once in 10 to 14 days.
Where I manage orchards, the space between earliest flowering Japanese plums and latest flowering apples is only 2 weeks or so which usually allows me to wait until the latest flowering trees are ready to begin spraying anything. Plum curculio seems to time its appearance conveniently to the rhythm of the last flowering apple varieties. This may not be true where you are.
If plums or peaches need oil they may need application before apples. I’ve only had mites on European plums here and never need oil for other stone fruit.
All this is based on plum curculio being your primary insect problem which is the case most areas east of the Mis. River. These sprays will also absolutely control scab, CAR and Mildew as well as most of the crop fatal insects. Apple fly maggot is an exception as it tends to merge a couple of weeks after last spray looses affectiveness, but I haven't had much of a problem with this pest in the orchards I manage. This pest can be controlled with a lot of fake apples smeared with tangle trap.
If you don't want to use synthetic chemicals try 4 applications of Surround about a week apart starting at petal fall. You may need to start on earlier flowering varieties as soon as they drop petals because Surround is a repellent and can’t kill eggs after they’ve been inserted into the fruit..
Stone fruit may require the addition of an application or 2 of Indar (Monterey Fungus Fighter is closest available chemical for home growers) starting 4 weeks before first peaches ripen. Apricots must be sprayed sooner if they are scab susceptible with same compound. Some sites that single spray will also prevent serious rot on later ripening varieties on seasons not particularly wet.
Because I manage so many orchards so far apart I have to resort to a spray schedule that is based on expectations rather than actual monitoring. You may be able to reduce insecticide sprays with monitoring but PC can enter an orchard over night and if your insecticide lacks kick-back (as is the case with Triazide), do a lot of damage in a couple of days..
Other problems may occur later in the season and you will in time learn to monitor and react to the pitfalls.
Good luck, Alan Haigh- The Home Orchard and Nursery Co.
Thanks a million, Maybe after 10 plus years I might get something, Just 1 part Where I'm alittle confused, You wrote (Then spray Triazide (Spectracide Once and Done) + Immunox mixed together at highest legal rates. Repeat once in 10 to 14 days.) Not sure about the part once and done but then to repeat in 10 to 14 days.
I am not sure if you have these but Borers are a problem here in Iowa. I get a spray called Super 8 at Earl May's out here and spray trunks late April and May. And whatever your do, do not have your trunks wrapped with anything in the spring. this will be sure to attract Borers. Although you may not have them . Tend to be more in the south.
Jimmy, Once and Done is a second name of the pesticide. Also at most sites in east only peach borers are a lethal problem. There's plenty of other ones but usually the injury doesn't kill trees and you can add control of that pest once you know it's a problem.
Thick white latex paint works pretty well for apple borers and might be fairly affective for peaches as well.
Anecdotal for sure but, I've been slathering a very thick coat of Surround on the trunk and scaffolds of my peach trees in the Spring for several years now after a year with borer damage and haven't had any since. Our environment has been nearly rain free and has left at least a complete white film on the tree by the end of the Fall each year. I don't recall the water:Surround mix rate but, it gets applied with a paint brush and is too thick to run down the trunk when brushed on. The mix is not as thick as pudding :) User results may vary in wetter climates, of course, requiring additional applications.
OK, I should have fiqured that out but I never heard of the stuff, I'm going to try and do some apple tree pruning maybe this weekend since it is suppose to be above freezing for a couple days, I'm tired of all this cold weather we have been having.
Surround is a kaolin clay product. It's an organic method of protecting fruit from insects.
Several places sell Surround. Just google it. I attached one link on Surround here.
Here is a link that might be useful: Surround, kaolin clay
Interesting article mamuang, I never saw it around here but will look more closely for it, Thanks.
Before I found this article, Scott Smith, our resident organic expert, gave me the info about where to buy it. The source Scott mentioned was the same one mentioned at the bottom of the article.
I think I have the spraying part fiqured out, Thanks too all the help, Just pruned my trees and my wife says there is nothing left, Every year after I prune they look the same as the year before, After 6 to 7 years I still don't seem to know what I'm doing, I cut all branches that go straight up and the one's that grow inward, So here is some pictures before and after and hopefully someone can tell me were I'm going wrong or if this is right, Because it would be nice to get some fruit once, Picture 0029 is a pear tree.
Guess I have to upload pictures one at a time.
If you go to Help Pruning Peach Tree thread you will find a good link called Open Center Pruning. They give a good visual and verbal description that you will find helpful.
It looks as if you are pruning all of the fruiting wood off of your tree.
Yea, They sure look bare now, Can you tell me which limbs are the fruiting wood?
On a Peach tree,it's the wood that grew the year before.It's okay to remove some of it,maybe even up to 50%.If the branches get too long or are growing into each other or shooting straight up or pointing towards the middle.By shortening or removing some of the new wood,then that will promote more shoots and then some of these can be pruned as needed. Brady
I'm surprised you haven't gotten more pruning advice on this thread. Brady and Braun are correct. You pruned off all your fruiting wood. Only grapes are pruned that excessively.
Apples and peaches are pruned a bit differently (and there are a lot of different pruning/training systems for each) but here are a couple general principles to help you.
First try to leave branches/shoots which point more horizontal (vs. vertical) no matter which direction they are oriented (N,S,E,W) even if they grow inward.
If you are only getting branches which grow straight up, you can tie them down, or if they are small, break them about halfway through and bend them over so they stay. They will slow down, heal over and develop fruiting spurs (if they are apples).
It might help a bit to label the pictures. It looks like the trees you pruned are apples. I don't see any spurs on the unpruned tree, is it a peach?
Sorry about the pictures, The first pic is a pear tree, The next 2 pictures are apple, I was under the impression that all limbs going straight up or inwards should be cut, But now I realize that doesn't leave me anything left, Guess I will have to tie them down, Thanks for that olpea.
In addition to pruning lighter, don't forget you can prune some in the summertime to open the trees up a bit more. This allows more sunlight to penetrate the canopy (allowing more growth lower down) and reduces the vigor of the tree.
Once you get the trees fruiting, they will slow down a bit too. Also the weight of the fruit will help bend branches down.
Olpea, My peach trees are about 3 years old and look like the peach tree I saw on another posting in which you responded too with good advise, You mentioned to keep 3 scaffolds, Should you keep more scaffolds as the tree grows or just keep 3?
I used to keep 4 scaffolds, one pointing in each direction (N,S,E,W). Then when the tree got too crowded, or I got a bit of canker on a scaffold, I would lop one off. Anymore, I just start out with 3.
Once you select the scaffolds on a peach (and trim off all the other growth on the trunk, and cut the leader just above the highest scaffold) some new shoots will generally appear on the trunk. This generally occurs at a wound where you have previously pruned a shoot on the trunk. I prune this new growth off as opportunity arises. I want to keep only the three scaffolds originally selected. It takes a bit of time to select and train scaffolds, so you want to focus on that investment. After a couple years the trunk will generally quit throwing out new shoots from pruning scars.
That said there is nothing magic about the number of scaffolds. For open-center training, three scaffolds are generally recommended because they generally fill the canopy space nicely.
However, I have some trees with two scaffolds, when I've had to cut an extra scaffold off, or there wasn't three scaffolds to choose from. A peach tree with two scaffolds will still fill the canopy, just takes a bit longer.
I know one commercial grower who uses 5 scaffolds per tree.
One thing I should probably mention. If you choose to tie the highest scaffold down, make sure you leave a small stub above that scaffold where you cut the leader. If you cut the leader right at the top of that scaffold, and then tie it down, the wood will split where it attaches to the trunk. Leaving a little stub above the scaffold prevents that. Later, after the scaffold position is set, you can cut off the little stub.
This post was edited by olpea on Fri, Feb 7, 14 at 8:29
Thanks everyone for all the great information, As soon as all this snow melts alittle I'm going to go out and do my 2 peach trees which are only about three years old, I have 1 peach tree about 6 years old that I will post a picture of and maybe someone can give me advise on it, Last year we had peaches on it and I was really happy about it and thought we were going to get fruit for a once, Peaches were nice size then all of a sudden leafs turned brown and started falling off like it was fall, Then the peaches all fell off.