Improve fruit tree spray regiment by treating surrounding land?

garedneckApril 30, 2012

Please critique my annual stone fruit, apple , pears, grapes, etc. spray regiment:


I use round up in the spring and fall to kill all non fruit producing plants within 20 feet of my fruit trees believing the grass/weeds just harbor pests which will attack the fruit trees , and the dead grass/weeds roots will at least reduce soil erosion problems ( i let the grass/weeds grow when the fruit is not being produced), and grass/weeds take nutrients from fruit trees. During fruit growth season the "dead" grass/weed areas are sprayed with malathion or another bug killer to again reduce the potential pest pressure on the fruit trees.


Dormant oil spray in winter

Copper spray in late winter

immunox or captan at bud break

triacide and immunox every 2-3 weeks during fruit growth until harvest.

A few weeks after fruit forms treat fruit trees with Bayer systemic once and done pest control.

Maybe once during fruit growing season use Bonide complete fruit tree spray and or another product which uses different chemicals than immunox or triacide.

Once all the fruit is gone immunox in the fall.

Do you agree with this regiment or recommend something different? I have noticed many of the chemical labels seem to indicate to not spray until the problem is occurring , but isn't being proactive better? I realize i may need special chemicals at times if specific problems emerge, but just looking for a basic regular annual approach which will keep most problems at bay.

The "orchard" area drains well and there is no standing water, all waste fruit is removed from the grounds, pruning waste is stored (composted) 50 feet from orchard area, 6-8 hours sun per day.

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I don't know much about spraying fruit trees, but that sure sounds like a lot of chemicals. The systemic would scare me. I am sure the fruit would look good but could you eat it?

    Bookmark   April 30, 2012 at 11:01PM
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I agree this philosophy is not the best way to go. Working with nature is a lot easier than fighting it. And then use sprays an such IF necessary.

If you are wondering what I mean by that look into permaculture.

Here is a permaculture forum you could check out....

Here is a link that might be useful: Permaculture Forum

    Bookmark   April 30, 2012 at 11:18PM
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Randy31513(Georgia 8b)

In our current drought you should consider a mulch instead of roundup.

In the hot-humid South, if you do not spray you want have any fruit. Fruit rot is a battle.

Johnson's Nursery has a simplified spray schedule that might help you get started. People on this forum don't like Bonide Fruit Tree spray but it is good for new orchard people to get their feet on the ground.

I will try to post more latter.

Here is a link that might be useful: Johnson's Nursery

    Bookmark   May 1, 2012 at 7:18AM
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alan haigh

I actually make my living managing home and estate orchards so maybe my opinion will carry some weight here. No, I don't completely agree with your approach.

Using herbicides to speed establishment and increase productivity is acceptable to me, although it is not something I do in managing home and estate orchards as a general rule. Mulching accomplishes the same thing and more- although the extra work is a negative from an efficiency stand point.

Your expressed reason of eliminating pests by eliminating all other plants in the vicinity of your trees is what I disagree with, because all major pests will have no trouble finding your trees from longer distances. I don't understand the fall application of herbicide- I should think mid-summer would be the time to end such applications or maybe late summer for latest ripening fruit.

Mid winter oil would be a waste of time for me as the only reason I have to apply it is to help control mites, scale and pear psyla and they are much more vulnerable when trees first start growing in early spring.

Immunox is only useful in spring. It is not affective for summer fungus on apples or brown rot on stone fruit- use Monterey Fungus Fighter for brown rot and maybe Captan for fly speck and sooty blotch if those are your summer apple fungus pests. I don't know what the Bayer product is but I'd stick with Triazide if I was you.

Your program seems arbitrary and not based on a complete understanding of the pests you are trying to control or the efficacy of the material you are using to control them. You need to monitor your pests and figure out what they are specific to your site. Perhaps you can get some help from your cooperative extension or a nearby experienced grower on this.

I can't speak for your pests and I know you need much later insect control where you are than where I am in southeastern NY, but I doubt you need to spray until a couple of weeks before harvest. I usually don't need any insect control during summer as worst pests have finished their cycle by then.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2012 at 7:28AM
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olpea(zone 6 KS)

I would also add it won't help to spray insecticide under the trees.

If by Ortho systemic, you mean imidacloprid as a root drench, I wouldn't do it. Imidacloprid is weak on major pests.

If you want to use two different insecticides, Triazicide and Ortho Flower, Fruit, and vegetable spray (acetamiprid) are your best choices.

As Hman points out, there wouldn't be much point in spraying Immunox all summer long, although I believe it has some action against brown rot. You could spray it a few weeks prior to harvest for rot, but Montery Fugus Fighter would be a better choice.

You can also learn a lot by observing unsprayed trees. I almost never walk by someone's fruit tree without looking at it. When I first started out, I would stop by houses of people I didn't know and talk with them about the fruit trees in their yard. They generally didn't know much about them and passed on lots of myths about their care, but at least one has the opportunity to observe unsprayed trees. Look at those trees throughout the season and note if the insect damage is continually fresh, or stops at some point. Observe if there is any harvestable fruit from the unsprayed trees.

In my immediate area, unsprayed apples and peaches produce no harvestable fruit and the fruit damage continues pretty much all summer long, till all the peaches have dropped and all the apples exude frass. However, my mother lives 45 miles away and she gets some peaches without any spray at all.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2012 at 10:20AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

are you seriously thinking of using a systemic on edible fruit ...

my bayer product.. a systemic ... is a whole year product ...

you are what you eat.. good luck


ps: i think i called you: residual toxicity ...

    Bookmark   May 1, 2012 at 4:19PM
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alan haigh

Yes, myclobutanil was originally touted as good defense against BR until proven inadequate. It's label still lists it as active against brown rot but Cornell doesn't recommend it's use beyond petal fall where they consider it affective for blossom blight.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2012 at 4:37PM
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Thank you for the tips and strategies for minimizing the amount of chemicals used and maximizing effectiveness. Each year i track which regiment seems to work and have been trying new approaches based upon others experiences in this forum.

I am a bit surprised how many are afraid of using chemicals, and obviously a purely organic approach would be safer, but that would require 100 acres to feed each person (american indians before serious cultivation) and 85% of your time just to grow/gather food. Based upon the data i've reviewed and others experiences using the over the counter fruit tree sprays most seem extremely safe if used according to instructions. Sorry, but i would worry more about salmonella, food poisoning, etc, than i would about the chemicals i use. Why be afraid of chemistry? Look at all the benefits we have gotten from systemic Fluoride treatments in drinking water systems!

    Bookmark   May 2, 2012 at 12:12AM
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blazeaglory(10 SZ22/24 OC Ca)

Its not that we are afraid of using chemicals, its that we try to use the right ones at the right times. Too much is too much sometimes...hehehe

And as far as a systemic for fruit trees, I wouldnt use it. You would need to put it in the ground in advance to make sure it has time to go through the plant and establish itself as systemic. I dont know the exact length of time, maybe a month prior? But I wouldnt use it. You can get more done with less. And besides, systemics kill beneficial fungi and earthworms BOTH of which helps plants immensely.

I would think a copper and captan or daconil treatment in early spring (or at proper bud development) followed in the mid to late spring with neem oil (make sure not to use with or close to application of copper). Maybe at leaf fall you could spray some copper or captan again. Then follow up if need be later with a dormant oil? For pests you can use concentrated triazicide (once and done) in a small spray bottle to spot spray for pest if need be or, if you have to, use a pressure sprayer for larger jobs. For weeds, if the job is not too big, I pull them by hand. If I must I use a weed killer that does not kill grass. It takes longer for the weeds to die but it is less potent than the weed and grass killers. I try not to use herbicides. But then again, Im only dealing with a small yard.

Im sure my method isnt %100 correct but with some tweeking you can greatly reduce the amount and time of chemicals used.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2012 at 12:40AM
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alan haigh

blazer, you're in CA. noticed you don't get much rain during the growing season for fruit? your spray experience only applies to CA and perhaps the few other places in the world with Mediteranean climates..

    Bookmark   May 2, 2012 at 4:34AM
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blazeaglory(10 SZ22/24 OC Ca)

No my spray experience is related to reading reports of what many different universities around the country have written mixed with a little bit of what I do and what to spray at proper times of year in MOST CLIMATES.

Either way, what I wrote was in response to the OP's original post. As the OP did not say anything about too much or not enough rain being a problem.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2012 at 2:13PM
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Randy31513(Georgia 8b)

As you in Atlanta hot and humid is a way of life. Fungus loves our state. No Captan, no immunox no fruit.

Here is a link that might be useful: Georgia Home Orchard blog

    Bookmark   May 2, 2012 at 7:31PM
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