local pest pressure up this year

windfall_rob(vt4)May 28, 2012

I just came back in from thinning some of the apple trees...pretty grim. The PC damage was severe, coupled with the low set/frost damage it will be a very light crop.

For the last 3 years I have had pretty good control using Surround. But this year we had a long stretch with lots of heavy rains after petal fall and keeping adequate coverage was not possible. I think that in combination with the earlier warm weather lined me up for trouble.

OFM also seems to be especially bad. They have been getting progressively worse for me the last few years, so perhaps I am just seeing classic exponential growth taking off. But I have been doing a great deal of shoot pruning for the last 3-4 weeks and every time I walk the grounds I find more damage...I need some new/additional strategy for this pest I think.

At least the leaf rollers seem to be in check...but it's a bit early to be confident on that.

On a side note, aphids:

these have always been an issue in the black currants during early growth, long before I see them anywhere else. We have reached over-production on them so I just let it go this year...they got crazy bad but the ladybugs came in right behind them in numbers I have never seen before around here. And I haven't seen any aphids anywhere else since then (they usualy appear in the younger apples by now)

small win, intersting but not much consolation.

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franktank232(z5 WI)


There is a chainsaw in store for at least one of my apples coming this fall. These disease ridden, bug ridden trees are the worst in my yard. I have a 5 gallon bucket half full with dropped apples, almost all of which have multiple egg laying scars (PC)...Some have as many as 10 hits. Apples are cheap and plentiful in this area, so no sense in my growing them too. I do plan on keeping at least 1 Honeycrisp.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2012 at 2:05PM
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I've never seen such damage from birds as this year. They peck through the ziplocks at the growing apples and ruin them.

And a lot of PC damage on the plums.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2012 at 2:54PM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

Rob, for OFM consider mating disruption and spinosad.

For mating disruption you need at least 1/4 acre or so of trees getting infested. It cuts down on the matings so cuts down on eggs and worms.

Spinosad you spray on all the tips right when you see the first drooping tip and keep it up for two weeks (it wears off in 5-7 days or in a big rain). I pretty much eliminated all my OFM this spring, I saw two wilted shoots and I sprayed and then I found only one wilting shoot / live OFM in the month since that. Later in the season you spray the fruits but I think I got the first generation so strongly that I may not need to spray any more spinosad this year.

I do the same trick on CM except use the codling moth granulosis virus and always spray the fruits. This year I was late on the granulosis so I had more CM than I should have. And again use mating disruption if you can.

Surround for PC is always hit and miss. I did OK this year, maybe a bit better overall than in past years.


    Bookmark   May 28, 2012 at 5:11PM
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Frank, apples and apple trees hold such a special place in my heart I have to keep them. When I see the pricing on some of the good local fruit it's tempting to give up on my own, but I would probably just let most of the trees go feral before I cut them down.

Scott, I had been meaning to attempt mating disruption this year but just did not get my act together, use in combination with spinosad is good to know. I have been looking into spinosad for gooseberry sawfly as well (the red currants and gooseberies have been hammered 2 years running).
I have not seen damage to fruit from OFM years past, just lots of shoot injury. when pruning this year I was surprised at how much scarring I could see in 3-4 year old wood that I now recognize as "light" OFM spring injury.

We have always been lucky and coddling moth as a non-major concern...surprising considering the number of feral trees around us. We leave no drops, but I would have thought more would migrate in. I will take lucky while it lasts.

ltilton, fortunately birds are also rarely a significant pest for us. We have had nesting hawks a stones throw from the orchard 4 years running now and I think that helps. But also have a lot of stone fruit that should begin bearing soon, and that may change things. I really don't want to have to start dealing with netting trees.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2012 at 9:58PM
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blazeaglory(10 SZ22/24 OC Ca)

I dont know much about growing apples but I have heard kaolin clay (I think its called?) is good for pests to disrupt their brains and mating?

    Bookmark   May 28, 2012 at 10:35PM
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