Intensive preventative sprays

drew51 SE MI Z5b/6aJuly 30, 2014

Often experienced users here tout infrequent sprays, but I have found doing preventative sprays on all my fruits has worked rather well. I have never seen a fungus on my blueberries or brambles. Once you get it, it's a matter of control. I never got it thanks to a very intensive spray schedule. All you have to do is check your local university to see what fungal problems are in your area. Waiting till you get them is a huge mistake IMHO. As at best you have to control, it's there now, and never going away. In my case, it could not establish anywhere, so spore counts are extremely low.
I'm not advocating unnecessary sprays, they are needed according to MSU in my case. Some of the advice to wait and see what problems may or may not happen is bad advice. It's easy enough to find out what is in your area without waiting for infections.

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Can you provide some details on your spray approach? Substances used and timing on which plants (e.g. blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, etc.)? That would be helpful. I realize this may vary by location and climate but it provides a real example that works.



    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 11:59AM
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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

Yes, busy at the moment, and yes may vary by location. And I'm no expert, I just try to use expert advice I get and apply it. i will go over what I do tomorrow. If anybody else wants to comment on what they use feel free. I'll do it by plant type and will start with bluberries.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 12:42PM
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alan haigh

Most problems that I have encountered over the years haven't been made worse by making sure they are an issue on a given site before dealing with them. I strongly disagree with the idea of spraying just to make sure something doesn't crop up while trees are unprotected.

An example of this is apple fly maggot. According to Cornell they are a very common pest in commercial orchards within 30 miles of me. In 25 years it's never been a problem in a single orchard I manage. If I sprayed pre-emptively for this pest it would double my basic insecticide application rate to get sound apples from two to four because they show up much later than plum curculio.

The same thing goes for coddling moth and Oriental fruit moth- the coddling does some damage but is adequately controlled when I hit the first generation. OFM may damage shoots but rarely infests fruit.

It is somewhat a challenge to learn what are the basic requirements to get sound fruit in any given region or site, but I believe sprays should always be based on monitoring and responding to known pressure. Plum curculio is the only pest I make an exception to this rule because it arrives so consistently and does so much damage almost immediately.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 5:56PM
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I'm still figuring it all out. I started my berry patch in 2012 and just kept adding to it. Here's what has worked and what I'm planning to do next year.

Blackberries (Eastern). Triple crown, Ouachita, Black Satin, Prime Ark45, and Osage. I have yet to spray anything on my TC's and they have performed well. I get some mild leaf spot fungus on it and on some of the other Eastern varieties but nothing worrisome so far. I do plan to start a dormant spray program for them using lime sulfur, but that's it. Red neck cane borers caused some damage this year but it was tolerable. Late in the season, primarily for Prime Ark 45, I will probably use some type of safe wasp / yellow jacket killer because last year they were very destructive.

Blackberries (Western Trailing). Marion, Wild Treasure, Columbia Star, etc. I have had more problems with these than the more adapted Eastern varieties. Leaf spot fungus ranges from mild to bad but this seems to depend on the seasonal weather patterns. This year, itâÂÂs bad all over but on a hotter, drier year, it was mild on all but the boysenberry plants. I also had serious problems with red neck cane borers and was forced to use Macho 2.0FL as a systemic insecticide. It was either use this or not have any trailing blackberries. Since the leaf spot fungus is pretty bad, IâÂÂm testing the efficacy of Immunox for curing and preventing the spread of the leaf spot fungus. Next year IâÂÂm going to probably incorporate Immunox into my spray program along with lime sulfur as a dormant spray. One challenge with the trailing berry plants is that when they are covered during the winter, they usually keep all of their leaves, which makes dormant sprays less effective and also carried over the fungus into the next year.

Raspberries (black, yellow, red, purple). So far I have not sprayed them because they have been resistant to most issues other than stink bugs. I have been vigilant with smashing as many stinkbugs as I find and this actually seems to have lessened the problem somewhat.

Blueberries. I did a dormant spray with lime sulfur this year and that helped with leaf spot fungus and blights.

Gooseberries. I bought 4 plants this year and they had been impacted with leaf spot fungus. I used Immunox recently and will utilize both that and lime sulfur going forward on these.

Grapes. Wowâ¦I underestimated the work on these. IâÂÂm doing some research using the Midwest Fruit IPM guide which lays out a spray schedule. I have used Captan and recently Immunox but will have to make a better effort at starting these correctly in the early spring so that I can actually have a few grapes.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 10:10PM
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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

I like to use products that I can use on multiple fruits. Often a disease can be prevented with a number of pesticides. I never really developed a hard and fast schedule. I try and use each product at least twice a season.
Lime Sulfur -
Blueberries, brambles, cherries, peaches and currants.

Captan (mix with acidic water)
blueberries, strawberries, brambles,peaches grapes, plums, and apricots

Brambles, blueberries, cherries, tomatoes, strawberries
currants, grapes, stone fruits.

Chlorothalonil (fungonil-Daconil)
Tomatoes, blueberries,and stone fruits

Monterey Fungi-Fighter
stone fruits

Salts of Phosphorus acid (organicide or Agri-foss)
Used for late blight on peppers and tomatoes, can be used for root rot, downy mildew on anything.

Actinovate - on everything for Powdery Mildew
⢠Downy Mildew
⢠Grey Mold (Botrytis)
⢠Fire Blight (Erwinia)
⢠Leaf Spots and Rusts
⢠Black Spot (Diplocarpon rosae)

Anyways if you read the labels of these products, which almost all are online. you can see when to use, amount etc. I do use all of these, mostly in the dormant season, and early spring. Only a few are used all year.
Many do the same thing, but this multiple weapon approach works for me.
I will probably add a few more in the near future.
This is a hobby, not a business, cost is of no concern to me. Lime-sulfur will probably be discontinued when I run out of product. I stocked up though and have a lot.
As far as insecticides, still working on that. I have not decided on what final products to use.
If you have any questions let me know.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 11:15PM
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alan haigh

In 25 years of growing blueberries here I've never needed to spray anything- their only pests for me, besides wasps some years, are birds, which usually must be excluded (although I have two sites where the birds don't bother them much). Yet commercial growers usually need to spray them a great deal in NY, apparently.

In the wild I've not seen them bothered by anything either- even where they are almost at the scale of monoculture.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 5:32AM
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I'm no expert, but...

I am reasonably sure that some of the stock that I received this year came with issues. I don't know enough about the life cycle of these fungi/bacteria. I suppose it is possible that they came from my site, but I tend to doubt it.

2013 - I planted 3 asian pears in a row. No issues other than aphids.
2014 - I planted 2 more asian pears at the end of the row. What I think was scab originated at the newly planted end of the row and progressed toward my older plantings. The new trees were hit much harder. The opposite end of the row was not hit at all.

Also this year, I planted a row of spring satin, tomcot, and 3 plums. Shot hole seemed to start at the spring satin (on the end and from a different nursery) and spread to the others.

I'm not agreeing or disagreeing with the idea of preventative sprays-- I'm still trying to figure this stuff out. But, I think it is possible that nursery stock can come with extra baggage. I don't know if nurseries do any preventative or reactive spraying in the early years.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 11:03AM
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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

I know that i will get infections dispite my attempts not to. I agree it could come in with the plant. I made this post because of strawberries. I have 2 infected beds, and keeping the gray mold out is near impossible. In my 3 other beds I treated before any infections and things are going really well. It pays to be ahead of the game. So you are going to have to spray for those fungi, might as well figure out a routine. Get it on all trees too! I left apples and pears off as I do not grow them, but many products listed can be used.
Also the combo products by bonide is another approach. Having a commercial license would be even better! Well this is just backyard stuff for me, so the over the counter stuff is all i have to work with.
Fruit is difficult. I'm in the middle of building a cage for blueberries as the birds are stealing my crop! I'm about to attach the netting, taking a break...

    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 11:56AM
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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

Hman your approach is your approach, mine is different.
I'm happy with results, so not changing a thing. I think your approach is asking for trouble, thanks but no thanks. I'm not letting anything in, no chance, here or not, they are not welcome. Defend your harvest anyway you see fit, i'll do the same. I was asked what i do, so there it is, take it or leave it. Doesn't matter to me.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 12:08PM
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alan haigh

And the reason that I state my opinion is that your approach is generally considered the wrong one and I want to counter your influence here. What you are doing is illegal (at least for professional applicators) and for good reason.

IPM is about determining what the damage is, the extent of the damage, what is causing the damage and then responding appropriately with the least disruptive solution, only applying chemicals when it is necessary to save a crop.

What ends up happening when you use too much poison is, over time, certain pests will benefit from the extinction of beneficial insects and such destructive pests as mites and scale will enter the picture. You will find yourself spraying more and more and getting worse results.

Maybe you should go on Craig's List and locate an old stash of DDT. That will be the perfect solution to any of your insect problems.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 4:57PM
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Thank you everyone for sharing your approach and thoughts.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 7:38PM
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Drew51...I agree with you 100%, thing is, I really don't want to. I want to do more like H'man, but like you, everytime I've waited I've regretted it.I too do preventative spraying because here in my climate if you wait the disease WILL come. I agree with you too that after you got something it seems like all you can do is control it, there's no getting rid of it. My biggest issues aren't with insects (aside from plum curculio) but rather with mildews, rusts and the like. If I get sulfur on early and routinely there is no problems.
I spray early with sulfur mixed with my insecticides. I really like sulfur because it's cheap and effective and a bit more environmentally benign and sprays so well. I usually spray triazicide as my insecticide, but I'll spray carbaryl during Japanese beetle activity instead. Just recently I began using immunox as my later season fungicidal component. Soon I'll be switching back to sulfur when it cools a bit and I've ordered 5 lbs. Imidan for next season hoping to get at least some PC control.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 11:05PM
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Don't know if our definitions of "intensive" would agree but, as to pre-emptive spraying it is wise to know if you have at least the possibility of a problem before trying to "fix" it. My peach tree gave me 7 years of big, wonderful crops free of any OFM damage until this year which is a big, stinking mess. I've never sprayed for OFM before but will now control it to the best of my ability with the least spraying possible with good timing and the best selection of insecticides and spray equipment and doing the sprays well.

This Spring I was too lazy about nailing the CAR on a timely basis due to the extremely low number of galls on the Cedars within miles of my apple trees due to 2 years of drought (lucky Cedar trees). The apple trees do have sign of CAR infection but, I've seen much worse in pictures. Even though Myclobutanil has 24 hr. kickback, my protectant I tank mix with it doesn't so I have to apply it ahead of the Gall eruptions making those sprays necessarily pre-emptive. Good luck and best wishes.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2014 at 5:50PM
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alan haigh

Of course you have to use pre-emptive sprays to control fungal diseases- especially if you are relying on sulfur, but the same deal with Captan. But it is a mistake to suggest that pests generally get out of control because you give them a foothold. In some cases you might lose the crop for one season if you aren't paying close attention but you can gain control the next. Name a pest that this is not true of?

I think it is a good idea to risk your first small crop to learn exactly what the pests are on your site.

Just because a new pest arrives and then stays doesn't mean it has anything to do with your pest control program- that is the way it works no matter what you do. Sometimes it takes pests a while to find a site.

i have seen several very unhealthy looking orchards that were sprayed every two weeks throughout the season. When your E. plum and apple trees get that bronzed, bleached out look you know you've created the perfect environment for mites.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2014 at 9:03PM
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Growing plants is always, hopefully a learning process, last year after having 7 years with no CM I had them show up the apples. This year I'm starting to learn how to control CM and will see no later than pressing time how I did. The process has been educational, interesting and exhausting at times. Since OFM moths showed up in the CM traps for about 10 days in a row I know now they sure hang out in the apple trees and will now have to contend with the dual threat of OF and CMs, another learning experience, oh boy!

    Bookmark   August 2, 2014 at 8:14PM
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In some cases you might lose the crop for one season if you aren't paying close attention but you can gain control the next. Name a pest that this is not true of?


    Bookmark   August 3, 2014 at 2:13AM
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alan haigh

OK, but you still want to know borers are an issue in your area before putting down spray to control them on a schedule. Also, you don't need to check peach trees every day to stay on top of borers, if you check the base of trees every few weeks you won't lose a tree, even if you don't regularly spray for them.

I usually spray for borers AFTER I see some damage, but treat all trees in the area. One year I was set back when I sprayed all the peach trees in my nursery and the borers moved to the plums without my noticing. The plums didn't exude that much frass and it was easy to miss.

There are sites where borers of apples must also be sprayed as part of a schedule, but that has only been the case in a small commercial orchard in sites I manage.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2014 at 6:24AM
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Drew your raised bed gardens look so packed with plants are they getting enough air? Can a breeze blow through them. Perhaps your strawberries are filled with a fungi because they are smothered by other plants? I now have strawberries in 'gutters' don't laugh, I really tried it, and it is a fabulous way to grow berries. Off of the ground, waist level, tons of air and no need for mulch or spray. I have never sprayed my berries. I also trust the chemicals I do use, so that my now every three week spray is all that is done all summer long. Mrs. G

    Bookmark   August 3, 2014 at 12:12PM
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