Revisiting Pear and Plum Bagging

bart1(6/7 Northern VA)June 13, 2012

It's been a while since I've seen a discussion on plum and peach bagging and I wanted to check in to see what the current thinking is.

I have all my apples and pears bagged (in plastic) and was just starting to do my peaches and plums in cloth bags and was wondering if it was worth it. They take so long to put on compared to ziplocks, and I seem to have much more peaches and plums than apples, it seems like a daunting task. Add that to the fact that (for the most part) my peaches and plums will be done long before my apples, I wonder if I should not do any bagging and just spray?

What's the biggest benefit of peach and plum bagging? Bug protection or bird protection?

Do you bag every fruit on the tree or just some?

What's a good source of bags? It's been a while since I've bought any and I have a lot more fruit to deal with since my original purchase.


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bart1(6/7 Northern VA)

Let me ask it another way....does anyone still bag their stone fruit!?!?

    Bookmark   June 15, 2012 at 4:08PM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

I don't but I have found it useful in the past for both moth and squirrel protection. As you have discovered, bagging is a pain and if the spraying works it ends up being a lot easier. For squirrels it doesn't always stop them but it can slow them down. For them I found the Kania traps work better. For the moths I have been doing great the past few years with mating disruption and the occasional spinosad spray.

The squirrels moved in on me this week, go out of town for a week and the critters decide its their orchard. Two trapped today and 4-5 to go. The deer also decided to move in and munched all my new apple grafts. siiiigh.


    Bookmark   June 15, 2012 at 6:11PM
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Scott, are Kania traps messy?

    Bookmark   June 15, 2012 at 6:43PM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

Well, there is a dead squirrel to get rid of so I guess that is messy. Once I also had a raccoon stuck in the trap but not dead and that was very messy.

Squirrels are a huge problem with no easy solution. Kania traps are not perfect but are the best method I have found. Currently they are not completely working because the squirrels are usually going right to the tree with the fruit and are ignoring the traps. But they usually have a moment of curiosity at some point and get whammed.


    Bookmark   June 15, 2012 at 7:47PM
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Using the ziploc bags on peaches. Seems like its never ending. I had no crop last year, but its hard to believe it was that difficult two years ago. Maybe the peach trees grew when I wasn't paying attention.

Two years ago the bags didn't work very well. Before that season each bag translated into a perfect fruit, which made the tedium much more bearable. Having 150 plus pounds of perfectly ripened peaches was pretty darn nice. the last season I had a crop, Bugs got in at the top towards the end of the season as the fruits forced the top open. Also Earwigs got in too. I'm hoping that cold weather killed some of the bugs, but also I'm only trimming off about half the plastic above the zip, in hopes that that will deter the bugs some.

No problems with squirrels--hooray for coyotes!

Put snack bags around a few of my 'Summercrisp' pears. (a small 'Seckel' type pear). I haven't had much problems with pears with or without bags. Tried a few bags on 'Seneca' 'Victoria' and 'Rosy Gage' plum, but they seem to catch the wind and snap off the fruits.

the bags are now on probation. If I get another bad crop, I'll have to dial up Scott's description of his spray regime.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2012 at 12:19AM
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koko - how do you ziplock peaches and fruits w/o stems?

I had earwigs get into the plums the one time I tried footies on them, but at least they have stems to fasten the bags around.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2012 at 11:11AM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

Koko, I am surprised you got plastic bags to work on peaches. I never tried them because I heard stories of fruit rots since there is no air circulation to dry out the fruits after a rain.


    Bookmark   June 16, 2012 at 2:47PM
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I live in an extraordinarily dry climate in the rocky mountain foothills. Never a problem with fungus or mold. Of course, I cut off the corners, but I doubt that would save you in Maryland.

Its true you can't completely surround the fruit most of the time. Until my last crop, it was enough, though. What happened last crop was the peaches did fine until they began to bulge past the opening at the top. We also had an infestation of apple maggots which is a new development here. I don't know if that was what they were, or just the second or third generation of codling moths.

I would pre-staple the top about one third of the way down. Of course I would make sure the bag was zipped on that one third. Then I pull the bag tight on the peach against the staple. zip and staple as close to the fruit as I could.

I toyed with the idea of getting a special dedicated stapler, then taking my angle grinder or somehow cutting off the part of the stapler past the anvil as close to the anvil as I could get. I think that would really allow me to scrunch up there. Perhaps next year. This year I am slicing off only maybe 2/3 of the lip of plastic past the ziploc, in hopes that that will help. Growing organically (if you count putting disposable plastic bags on every single fruit as 'organic') is a game of inches.

The bags work very well with our birds. We also have a lot of crows here. I've never seen them bother the fruit, but they don't allow other birds to hang around and get too creative--that's the crow department.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2012 at 3:13PM
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I bag just about everything but never thought it was possible to ziplock peaches.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2012 at 4:21PM
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I haved netted my peaches and plums this year and am hoping for the best. My June apple drop seems to be complete, bagging and all. Only lost 15 apples. Bagging peaches without stems would be a real trick, netted instead. Am thinking of buying 'concertina' wire for around the bases of the trees (can't take the New Yorker out of the gal!) to deter squirrels. How did bagging peaches work out?

    Bookmark   June 16, 2012 at 5:44PM
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myk1(5 IL)

I have my Shiro and single Santa Rosa in plastic. They've been in for many hot weeks with no problem. They're not sizing up yet but they are starting to get color so the final verdict is still out.
I think it will work here because that was the only way I got plums the last time I tried them and was organic.

What would be easier than bagging each individual is to use a bread sack and bag the limb. But this is the first bearing year so I only had one cluster and that wasn't even that many.
A bread sack on the limb was how I did it last time before I knew what bagging was.

Pears would be a waste of time here. The only problem I've seen with them around here is fireblight and squirrels.

On my way out to a friend's yesterday I saw someone with 3 complete trees under cover. Looked like they sewed up some bags with row cover.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2012 at 2:26PM
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bart1(6/7 Northern VA)

Has anyone else tried using a floating row cover over a tree for critter protection? To me that seems a lot easier than traditional netting (braches won't get caught in the holes), but I wonder how the reduction of sunlight will effect the fruit?

    Bookmark   June 18, 2012 at 8:22AM
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I've used tulle. It doesn't present a shade problem.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2012 at 9:15AM
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olpea(zone 6 KS)

Last year I tried 50% white shade cloth on a peach tree to deter birds. It did work but also seemed to have a negative effect on fruit quality.

The fruit ripened about a week later than it should have and wasn't as sweet. Perhaps it wouldn't have been a problem if I would have used it a little closer to harvest, but I put the net on as soon as the fruit started coloring, which is when the birds sometimes start attacking fruit.

The shade cloth was fairly expensive (couple hundred dollars). This year I am trying it on some blackberries since blackberries don't seem to mind a little shade.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2012 at 10:13AM
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skyjs(z8 OR, USA)

We don't bag plums because we have no curculio. We don't bag Euro pears because nothing bothers them either. I tried using paper bags on apples and Asian pears. It was ungainly, and all of them blew off in the wind. I use ziplocs and footies on them. Footies with surround work much better than without. Ziplocs and footies work well here. Even better, use both and have chickens scratch under your trees in winter. I will never use paper bags again.
John S

    Bookmark   June 22, 2012 at 11:53PM
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