Bagging apples - reusable organza bags?

starladyApril 27, 2010

Hi all -- I've been reading with great interest the conversations about bagging apples in ziploc and/or cotton bags to reduce the need for spraying. Thanks to everyone who has shared their experiences -- I will definitely be giving it a try in the future.

It sounds like ziplocs work extremely well, but I have two concerns: first, I'd prefer to reuse if I can and ziplocs last only one season, and second, I'm not crazy about the way they'll make the tree look (this is a minor concern compared to reusability, but still...). Cotton bags sound like an alternative, but if I'm reading correctly, you have to remove them for the last couple of weeks for the apple to color up (and there is still the visual issue).

Any thoughts on whether organza "favor" bags (like this) would work? It seems that they'd let in a little more light than the cotton bags, and getting them in green (like the ones in the link above) would make them less visible. Do you think they'd protect against disease similarly to cotton bags? I think the weave is tight enough to still protect against insects.

Note: I'm talking about just a couple of trees, not a large orchard, so an addition in labor per bagged apple (versus ziplocs) isn't a big deal to me.

Here is a link that might be useful: Organza

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northwoodswis(4)

At 28c a bag, you would have to reuse them for several years to make them more economical than the ziplocks. They probably wouldn't last that long. The looks part might be better. It takes quite a bit of time even to put the ziplocks on, so you might want to experiment with just a few organza ones the first year. I don't know how they would be for the coloring up part. You might be the start of a new fad. Northwoodswis

    Bookmark   April 27, 2010 at 4:19PM
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starlady

Thanks for your reply! My desire for reusability is less about cost and more about trying to phase disposable plastic out of my life where possible. I haven't really shopped around for the bags -- that was just the first picture of a green one I found -- so I think I could probably get them cheaper than that (similar ones over here they're 19c each, and here similar ones are 11c or 17c each depending on size, for example). I've also considered making them if I can get the fabric cheaply, but if I get a good deal on the premade bags I'd rather use them.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2010 at 4:58PM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

Kiwinut has successfully used organza bags on grapes to keep birds off. I have a small pile of large ones for bagging my grapes this year, following his idea. For moths and PC I am not sure they would prevent damage -- footies are a similar fabric with holes (smaller holes than organza bags) and people have had mixed results with footies in terms of moths laying eggs through them. The footies are more flexible than the organza bags but the organza bags have larger holes so I don't know which one would give better protection.

In other words, if I was betting I would bet they would not work so well, but it would certainly be worth trying.

Scott

    Bookmark   April 27, 2010 at 5:08PM
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myk1(5 IL)

If those are like the rice bags for weddings I don't think they would be tight enough. Some are reporting that nylon footies don't stop egg laying.

I'm going to try reusing my baggies.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2010 at 5:13PM
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ben773(5a)

A friend of mine who sews is sewing me some bags, similar in shape with ties like an organza bag, but made up of row cover material - so, it lets in air and sunlight, and hopefully prevents egg laying. It maybe reusable too. I want it for wrapping peaches.
Ben
Beach Park, IL

    Bookmark   April 27, 2010 at 7:16PM
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donnieappleseed

Foot sox can be purchased from Justin Blair.....at about $8 for 144....so, relatively cheap.

They work for apple maggot here in the Northwest but are questionable for codling moth control.....it depends in part on the codling moth pressures in the area.....Ted Swenson of Portland, who came up with the idea of foot sox, is now working on dipping foot sox in kaolin clay and is having success with keeping the codling moth out.

( www.homeorchardsociety.org on their forum)

I have had success with dying foot sox green....nylon dyes very well with an acidic dye....and the green foot sox are cheap and hardly noticed.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2010 at 8:41PM
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lycheeluva(6/7)

scott- do u have a link for the organza bags for grapes. when do u put them on and will u still be spraying with immunox.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2010 at 10:58PM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

LL, I got mine at the link below. I got 6x9 and 8x12 and will see which size works best for my clusters. I mainly got 6x9 ones. They go on at veraison, when the grapes start to sweeten up and the birds get interested. I don't spray grapes with anything after that point, all my sprays area earlier and I primarily use copper since downy mildew is my main problem.

Scott

Here is a link that might be useful: Organza bags

    Bookmark   April 27, 2010 at 11:18PM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

Ben, if you want bags for peaches something like rowcover, I use cotton drawstring parts bags and they work fine and no need to make them by hand. As an added bonus you can tie them to a limb and the squirrels will not be able to swipe the peach. Many places sell them.

Scott

    Bookmark   April 27, 2010 at 11:23PM
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charleney(8a PNW)

where do I find cotton drawstring parts bags?

    Bookmark   April 28, 2010 at 12:43AM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

Charlene, if you type those words into Google you will find several sources. 6x8 works for nearly all apples. I bought mine from the place below.

Scott

Here is a link that might be useful: bags link

    Bookmark   April 28, 2010 at 7:35AM
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starlady

Thanks, all, for the thoughts. I've got plenty of time to think about this -- I don't even have trees (or a yard!) yet -- but thought I'd go ahead and ask while I was doing research about bagging.

donnieappleseed, I'd read about the footies but hoped the organza bags (being bigger and thus not right up against the fruit in the early stages) might work... the aesthetics had me concerned too, but I'd never even thought of dying them green! I'll definitely keep up with Ted Swenson's work. Thanks for the recommendation!

Ben, the rowcover bags are a great idea. I have a sewing machine, so I could whip up a few of those and give them a try. In fact, when I get started on all this I'll probably try multiple methods as an experiment. :)

    Bookmark   April 28, 2010 at 8:22PM
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ben773(5a)

Scott: The row cover material lets in sunlight, so may promote ripening.
Starlady: Keep us posted!!!

    Bookmark   April 30, 2010 at 9:43PM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

Ben, I have ripened peaches in cotton bags for five years now and it works great -- I notice no difference in taste with peaches not in the bags. I think the only case it could matter is if you are in a cold climate where peaches are borderline; they need a lot of heat to ripen and lack of heat could be an issue if they are not getting enough sun exposure. Some sun is still getting in a cotton bag, I would guess its like two layers of thick rowcover.

I expect rowcover would also make excellent bagging material, the only downside is the work involved.

Scott

    Bookmark   May 1, 2010 at 8:13AM
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lycheeluva(6/7)

scott- thanks for the info and the links. my garden owes alot to your advice (as well as jellyman and others)

    Bookmark   May 4, 2010 at 3:56AM
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lycheeluva(6/7)

btw scott- what size cotton bags do u use for the peaches

    Bookmark   May 4, 2010 at 4:07AM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

LL, there was another recent thread on that -- see link below.

Scott

Here is a link that might be useful: thread

    Bookmark   May 4, 2010 at 9:28AM
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mrsg47(7)

Hi, I bought the 'organza favor' bags for my grapes last year. The birds pecked right through them. They could not get the grapes but damaged the fruit. They did create a 'dripping mess' under the arch where they 'Concords' grow. The organza bags still show the grapes, as they are see-through. I am going back to wax paper bags this fall. The ripening process for Concords goes well into October. I had to pick my grapes early last year and made a tasteless jam, due to un-ripened grapes. Back to paper bags for me. Mrs. G

    Bookmark   April 27, 2014 at 8:33AM
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mrsg47(7)

As for bagging apples, I get the "I don't like the look bit" but after bagging you surely get a great apple. My friends were so amused by my apple trees with 'baggied' apples on them they all pulled out their cell phones and took 'selfies' in front of my Pristine and Jonagold apple trees. Too funny, but great apples! Mrs. g

    Bookmark   April 27, 2014 at 8:37AM
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edmoodlee

I don't think they will last for long, the best option is to buy cheap rated organza bags. If you do this and reuse is several times then its worth buying.

Here is a link that might be useful: organza bags

    Bookmark   May 23, 2014 at 1:43AM
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ltilton

You can sometimes reuse the ziplocks.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2014 at 9:43AM
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mrsg47(7)

I agree with Itilton, you can reuse your zip lock bags. Also I bough 200 organza bags last fall for my concord grapes. It was a disaster. Not only does the fragrance of the grape still come throught the bags the birds can still see the grapes withing the bags. They peck right through the organza bags. They did get to eat the grapes they just got to ruin them instead. Which is worse? As for organza bags and grapes, I am finished. I will go back to brown paper waxed bags and twist ties. Mrs. G

    Bookmark   May 23, 2014 at 10:07AM
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northwoodswis4

Since the organza bags worked against birds in grapes for some people, but not others, what were the species of birds that were the problem? Maybe they only work on some kinds of birds. I just ordered some organza bags to try on grapes. Might experiment with a few apples, too, although the ziplocks work fine. The main problem I have had with ziplock baggies is the applets falling off the tree after bagging--usually about half of them! Makes a mess of the ground with fallen baggies. Northwoodswis

    Bookmark   May 23, 2014 at 8:08PM
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ltilton

It gives you an incentive to figure out which ones are least likely to drop.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2014 at 8:37PM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

Mrs G, I'm not sure why your birds were so after the grapes. I used the bags on my blackberries last year and they worked reasonably well. I still have to try them on my grapes, I moved the vines a few years ago and they more or less had to start over. This year its looking like I will finally get a big enough crop to contemplate bagging them.

Scott

    Bookmark   May 23, 2014 at 9:40PM
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mrsg47(7)

Scott I feed birds with seed all winter long and then stop at the end of nesting time in late spring. Next week. I do not know why the birds (wrens, grackles, cardinals) you name it, they attacked my Concords with a vengeance. They really did create a mess. We have large vineyards on Aquidneck island and they too use the white netting that I will use on my fruit trees this summer. Angry birds? Mrs. G

    Bookmark   May 24, 2014 at 10:57AM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

If you try the bags again (sounds doubtful) you could add some scare tape or hanging CDs along with the bags. If the initial hurdle is big enough they may not bother to check them out in detail.

Scott

    Bookmark   May 24, 2014 at 11:28AM
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