Questions about using Imidan to control Plum Curculio

davidwv(z6SouthernWV)April 21, 2010

I really like to grow everything organically, but it is a real challenge to grow fruit this way. My two main insect pests in the orchard are, Plum Curculio and Apple Maggot Fly. I can get somewhat acceptable control of Apple Maggot Fly with traps and Surround.

My main concern about spraying my fruit trees with chemicals is that I have lots of birds in my yard. I did notice on the label of my Imidan that it would kill any birds nesting in the sprayed area. I bought my Imidan from Gardens Alive! many years ago when they still carried the product. They said that it was the least toxic product to control the Plum Curculio. I think that Imidan is supposed to control Apple Maggot Fly, am I correct about this too.

My questions are; do any of you now how toxic is Imidan to birds? When should I spray my trees with it, when all the petals have dropped? This is probably a very stupid question, but I donÂt have a respirator, would a dust mask be sufficient?

Thanks for any advice youÂll can provide,


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franktank232(z5 WI)

I've always been under the assumption that early sprays of Surround WP will protect against PC?

    Bookmark   April 22, 2010 at 12:59AM
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alan haigh

I don't think Imidan kills birds, at least if they are not sprayed directly, but they do abandon nests in the fruit trees sprayed. I use Imidan on my trees and my property is a virtual bird sanctuary with plenty of nests very close to fruit trees and the birds are fat and healthy looking to me.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2010 at 5:43AM
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theaceofspades(7 Long Island)

Gardens Alive only sells biological and very low toxic controls so it doesn't make sense that you got it there. Your mypage says "organically is the only way to go". Imidan does not break down routinely so it is very effective on insects but it is not at all organic. Imidan is a powerful synthetic pesticide that the maker Gowan recently relabeled 'Not intended for residential use' so it can be sold until the planned phased out.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2010 at 6:48AM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

Just use Surround, it works very well. The only downside is you need to re-coat quickly after a big rain before the curculio gets at too many fruits. It rained here all yesterday afternoon/eve and I can't re-coat until tonight so all day today the curc gets to lay away some easy eggs. I don't thin until very late for this reason -- I end up thinning a lot of curc-stung fruits but there are still more than enough left.


    Bookmark   April 22, 2010 at 8:32AM
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Thanks for the advice everyone. aceofspades, in my original post you will notice that I said I bought the Imidan from GA! MANY years ago when they still carried the product.

But the issue is moot now anyway. After closer inspection today, my wife and I found a couple of nesting sites, so the Imidan is out of the picture now.

Scott, what is the easiest way to apply the Surround, a pressure sprayer or a hose end sprayer? I have been using a pressure sprayer but it takes a lot of work to cover all of the trees.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2010 at 4:08PM
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alan haigh

Scott, not everyone endorses Surround that has tried it. I'm not sure that everyone can get adequte control with it, even when applied by your methods. Lee Reic considers it worthless and Cornell is very luke warm about its efficacy. Works OK for me, so far, if I deal with the mite and scale outbreaks it encourages.

Gardens Alive did sell Imidan because before Surround there was absolutely no organic way to thwart plum curculio and Imidan is relatively kind to beneficials and has fairly low mamalion toxisity. Funny how sure we can be about our logical deductions. Leads me to make an arse out of myself daily.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2010 at 5:38PM
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So far I've heard of such things as Sevin, Surround, and other pyrethroids like permethrin and triazicide that can lead to mite and scale outbreaks.
How does one deal with mite and scale outbreaks?

    Bookmark   April 23, 2010 at 8:29AM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

David, don't use a hose end sprayer for anything on fruit trees. I don't think its that hard to spray the trees with my backpack sprayer.

Harvestman, Surround is a completely different kind of product and I expect many people are not applying it properly and that is why they are not happy. It took me several years before I felt like I understood the "Surround system". Or, maybe they are expecting perfection like you can approach with Imidan. In some years I have gotten over 50% of my baby apples stung, but since I am thinning out 80% I am fine with that.

So far this year I am going better than usual because I started early enough. Now I am doing an experiment if I can add Stylet oil and not reduce the efficacy; tests have shown that drying oils, those that dry hard, are not good because Surround will not flake off onto the curc, but Stylet is mineral oil which evaporates so I am hoping it will not cause this problem.


    Bookmark   April 23, 2010 at 8:35AM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

Oh, I forgot to mention I don't have mite or scale problems myself but I am hoping that the Stylet oil addition every now and then will help nip that if it ever does arise.


    Bookmark   April 23, 2010 at 8:36AM
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Stylet oil is something to add to the insect killer spray (be it Imidan, Permethrin, triazicide, etc.) to help control mite and scale outbreaks?

    Bookmark   April 23, 2010 at 9:03AM
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franktank232(z5 WI)


If you read enough literature, Surround does work well in a lot of applications and is the ONLY way it seems to organically grow apples. I guess some people need to have a more open mind about things and with backyard growers, we don't need perfection. Not all of us are growing on huge estates.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2010 at 9:09AM
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" the ONLY way it seems to organically grow apples. "

Not true. Many of us use bagging to grow organic apples, although some people still use various sprays even after bagging, to protect trees from other damage such as mildew and rust.



Here is a link that might be useful: Apple Bagging

    Bookmark   April 23, 2010 at 4:28PM
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austransplant(MD 7)


Here in Maryland if I don't spray and wait for the apples to get to the size of the one in the picture before bagging, they will be hit by curculio. Curculio hit my apples as soon as they get any size on them. Hence I spray Surround and then bag when the apples get a bit bigger.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2010 at 4:53PM
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alan haigh

The point I'm making is not that Surround is bad but for Scott to say "just use Surround" as if it's for everyone doesn't seem like well rounded advice.

I've known from the beggining that the requirement for affectiveness is a thick coating on the fruit- this was clearly explained by the manufacturer from the day it came to market as I recall. From the first application I was struggeling to get a thick coating.

It is very labor intensive to protect fruit this way and a personal decision. For some of us, there's absolutely nothing wrong with properly using a synthetic insecticide. I can get better protection in a fraction of the time (and much less wear and tear on my sprayer) and have yet to discover any visible down side to going this route.

As far as scale and mites, summer oil- not necessarily the much more expensive stylet, is affective if you get cool enough weather to use it.

Purespray makes an oil that is approved for organic application, evaporates as quickly (I believe) as stylet and is a fraction of the price.

Scott, I'm curious why you prefer stylet.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2010 at 4:55PM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

I prefer Stylet oil because I have 2.5 gallons of it I am trying to get rid of :-) Somehow that particular brand got very popular amongst grape growers and so about five years ago when I bought my 2.5 gallons I felt like I had to buy that kind. When that runs out it is over. I prefer Saf-T-Side oil which is much better at smothering things due to its "gloppy" consistency - it is rated better than Captan for brown rot in some studies.

Re: Surround, I would say anyone who wants to be organic should give it a good try.


    Bookmark   April 24, 2010 at 9:53AM
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alan haigh

Absolutely, and I would say that anyone who wants to grow fruit poison free should give it a try also. I much prefer the term "poison free" or minimum poison production to the tired term "organic". Anyone else have a good word to coin non-toxic agriculture? Maybe just non-toxic is good enough.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2010 at 12:48PM
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Non toxic? So everything you grow is toxic ?lol just jabbing ya in the ribs. :)

I like "Naturally Grown" myself. THe term Organic is trademarked by the usda.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2010 at 6:53PM
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Scott, thank you for your advice on using the pressure sprayer vs. the hose end. I don't have a backpack type sprayer, just the carry around type.

The reason I asked about using the two different types of sprayer is; I have a complete blockage of the brachial artery right before it separates in to the radial and ulnar arteries. This happened when I slipped on some ice and hade a compound dislocation of my right elbow. And I just happen to be right handed.

I have had surgery to repair the pinched ulnar nerve, but the peripheral surgeon wonÂt touch the blockage unless that my hand would happen to lose much more blood flow. Luckily my arm built smaller vessels to get blood flow around the blockage, but I still donÂt have the normal amount of blood flow to my hand. Because of this my hand and forearm get tired much easier than before my injury. To boil all of it down, it is harder to use a pressure sprayer than it use to be.

As I previous noted, the Imidan issue is moot, we have birds nesting is some of the trees now. I already have a big bag of the Surround so I will try to get it applied very thick, but I will have to wait until this rainy spell is over. There is no reason to spray the trees and have it washed off the next or even the same day. Plus some of the apples have not finished blooming. I just hope that I donÂt get too much Plum Curculio damage in the mean time.

Bagging fruit sounds interesting, but it may be a little more labor intensive than I can handle. I will do a little bit of reading and research on the subject.

Thanks to all,


    Bookmark   April 25, 2010 at 6:31AM
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alan haigh

Here in southeastern NY it is usually safe to wait for the late bloomers to drop their petals before spraying all fruit with insecticide, or in this case repellent. However, once the last drop their petals better find time between rain to put down the Surround. It takes quite a bit of rain to remove, actually. As Scott will tell you, you reapply when you see it is needed, not after every rain.

Not that this would change your thinking, but I believe most species of birds will start a new nest if they lose one in early spring and will have adequate time to raise a brood. My Dad was as passionate and at least as knowledgeable about birds as I am about fruit trees, and I believe I got this info from him.

I had to remove a nest from one of my apple trees this spring for the first time because I waited too long to prune. If you have other, more densely branched trees nearby the birds will probably prefer them for nesting sites as they do here. Next year I won't wait to prune my trees before pruning all my customers.

If birds are choosing your apple trees to nest in it's possible that you are not pruning your trees open enough for optimum fruit production. A properly pruned fruit tree is not a good hiding place. Every part of the tree should be visible from the sky- at least in spring.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2010 at 7:02AM
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