Organic aphid control on fruit trees during bloom?

sammlApril 17, 2012

Hi All,

I'm new to the forum and hope this is the right place to post this question.

I live in MA and bought a home recently that has 2 Red Delicious, 1 Bartlett Pear and 3 Asian Pear trees. I am not a garden person, so this is very overwhelming to me. I think I'm heading in the right direction though. :)

I started spraying the trees about 2 weeks ago with a homemade mix of liquid seaweed,molasses, baking soda, apple cider vinegar,Murphy oil soap and 1 gallon water. The trees seemed to love the nourishment. All my Pear trees are in bloom, and the Apple trees are in "Tight Cluster" and "Pink Stage".

I have just noticed that there are aphids (tiny black specks?) on the leaves, and showing leaf curl from them. It's not severe yet, but enough of a concern to me. Other then that everything looks good.

My question is, is there anything I can do about it now or do I need to wait for "Petal Fall" ? I would prefer organic methods for now, chemicals if needed later. I also have some Chive Plants I can plant for companion planting.

Thanks in advance.

Samantha

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blazeaglory(10 SZ22/24 OC Ca)

I have used Organocide with good results. Its a mixture of fish and seed oils.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2012 at 12:47PM
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samml

Would that be ok during bloom though? I read about insecticidal soap, or a mix of dishsoap and water. I also heard putting some lady bugs would be helpful. I did see one on there today, hopefully there will be more.
I'm just leery since they are blooming.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2012 at 1:13PM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

I use oil during bloom. If you use a light mineral oil it will evaporate in a few days.

These aphids are nothing, the bigger problems are coming after petal fall: plum curculio and codling moth. If you don't already have Michael Phillips' Apple book go out and buy a copy. Growing apples organically is a challenge. The pears are less of a problem. Note that if you only have two red delicious you don't seem to have a pollinator for the apples, so they may not set any fruit. Bartlett may also have problems setting well.

Scott

    Bookmark   April 17, 2012 at 2:11PM
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samml

Thanks, I just spoke with the local nursery today and they have a free seminar coming up April 28th on Fruit Tree care and maintenance. So I will be attending that and trying to educate myself more about them.
They told me just leave them there for now, since the trees are blooming and it's not a large infestation. I'm going to bring in some samples and pictures when I attend the seminar.
All the trees set a lot of fruit. Last fall we had over 200+ Apples combined, about 30-40 between the 3 Asian Pear trees, and another 50 on the Bartlett tree. That was with only spraying Bonide once after petal fall. I gave up because I had no clue what I was doing.
The only thing that happened last year was what I think was Apple Scab ( from googling pics ) so we tossed all the Apples. All 4 Pear trees were fine, no insects or disease and had tons of fruit.

I will definitely check out that book and most likely won't be going organic after Petal Fall. I figured it would be easier and cheaper using home remedies, but I just want nice fruit so not a big issue with me. :)

    Bookmark   April 17, 2012 at 5:33PM
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blazeaglory(10 SZ22/24 OC Ca)

Yes organocide is good right up until harvest. Its mostly fish oil. For the aphids just blast them with the hose for now. Be careful not to break any branches:-)

    Bookmark   April 17, 2012 at 7:14PM
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