I bought a home with 20 fruit trees. I need some advice!
I bought a home a 2 acres with the allure of having a small established home orchard! How exciting I thought! I will never have to pay for apples, peaches, and pears for canning and apple butter ever again. The daydreams of families bringing their children to my home to enjoy picking fruit and creating memories quickly clouded my judgment and now that I'm 4 weeks moved in I am quickly feeling overwhelmed!
The home was purchased through an estate and the orchard was un-manicured during that time and I'm sure for several years before due to the mans age. I have several varieties of apple trees (14ish) 2 pear trees, and 4 peach trees,(along with blackberries and grape vines, but we won't go there).
Through many calls I have lined up an experienced tree guy that has given me an estimate on pruning the trees back to working order this winter (In hopes that I can maintain pruning them after the initial grooming). I have proceed to try and decide on what chemicals to start purchasing and am a little overwhelmed. I tried calling my local county extension and everyone's best idea is to cut the trees down and start over?! I guess I was raised old-school and the idea of hard work does not intimidate me?! not sure
So what I am looking for is an idea of what has worked for you fellow orchard growers and at what schedule I should use them. I know their are many threads started on here dealing with this so it may be a bit repetitive but helpful for me thanks.
So here's the advice I've received and that has confused me. I have already decided to not use an all in one store concoction like Bonide fruit tree spray. I'm looking for what I put on the trees in the fall (since my trees haven't been sprayed for many years and need it). I've been told to use dormant oil and others have said that in addition to lime sulfur? I know the oil suffocates bug, eggs, etc. What is the purpose of lime sulfur? I know I should spray oil again in the spring before any growth and then I'm confused as to what to do from their for disease and insect control.
I'm contemplating Captan, Immunox and Ortho once and done? but not sure if Captan and Immunox do the same thing? and during what cycle I spray them, all season? I will post pics of the issues I have going on now, later today! Thanks in advance to all that are willing to share their knowledge!