lime sulfur vs red berry mites

thisbud4u(San Diego)March 20, 2010

My local farm store just told me that new Federal pesticide regulations have taken lime sulfur off the market. Looks like those idiots in Washington have done it again. Does anybody know an alternative (preferably organic) spray for red berry mites on cane fruits such as blackberries and boysenberries?

Any help MUCH apprecidated!


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jean001(z8aPortland, OR)

To tell the truth, the manufacturer voluntarily removed it.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2010 at 11:55PM
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Lime sulfur is pretty easy to make and the same farm store will have what you need (sulfur and quicklime or hydrated lime, I forget which, though you can easily make the latter from the former). Google it or look in an old book on fruit growing.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2010 at 8:43AM
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If someone finds that recipe, I would be interested. I also have called nearly every garden center in miles and was unable to find lime sulfur spray. I didn't feel like paying all the postage to have any mailed. I suspect I already have all the ingredients on hand to make it. Also, does anyone know how soon one can apply it to dormant fruit trees after spraying them with copper spray in the spring? Or are the two redundant?

    Bookmark   March 21, 2010 at 7:29PM
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You would have to vastly reduce the amounts proportionally, use a cast iron pot (though stainless would probably be fine), and do the "cooking" outside because of smell (a grill would be good).

I'd bet MG Kain's "Home Fruit Growing" (1930s or 40s) has an easy smaller recipe.

I bought a few bottles of LS as I had heard about some upcoming shortage, but will have to make my own thereafter. I notice that Canada just re-approved LS (2009).

    Bookmark   March 21, 2010 at 8:07PM
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Thanks for the reference, I love looking at old books. Kains's book was published in 1918, which means that it's out of copyright and available for free online from Google Books. I think the recipe you're referring to is on pg 92, although his recipe makes a batch of 50 gallons! I'm not sure how many home fruit growers need 50 gals of lime sulphur :).

Here is a link that might be useful: Kains's book on Google

    Bookmark   March 22, 2010 at 1:18AM
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If someone tries making this in a smaller batch, let me know how it goes. However, book mentions the spray is useless for fungi in winter, which was when I thought one was supposed to use it.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2010 at 11:00AM
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thisbud4u(San Diego)

One caveat that seems worth mentioning is that this stuff is pretty nasty (assuming you can even figure out how to correctly make it), and the chances are pretty good that you would seriously burn your plants if you got the concentrations wrong.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2010 at 3:12PM
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