Would spraying my apple trees with a oil lime sulfur spray after fall leaf drop be beneficial and if so would I need another dormant oil spray in the spring before green tip?
Yes, it would be beneficial to spray after leaf drop. Although you wouldn't need to spray again in the spring, it would probably help somewhat to spray again, as the fall spraying probably wouldn't have gotten 100% of the bug eggs and the lime sulfur will have been washed away by then.
A short question often seems to require a longer reply. I don't know why that is. Maybe because simple answers that cover all situations are hard to come by.
First, I would ask: Why are you spraying? Have you seen disease problems such as apple scab that might be reduced by spraying with a fungicide like lime/sulfur? Where I live, the most troublesome apple disease is cedar apple rust, which cannot be controlled with dormant sprays since it overwinters elsewhere -- specifically on eastern red cedar trees.
Dormant oil sprays can be very helpful in controlling overwintering pests such as aphids, mites, and scale insects, but are not effective against insect pests such as plum curculio and codling moth, which hatch out in locations other than the trees themselves, and attack from the air.
If you have had serious problems with pests such as aphids, which often roll up the leaves and can be found on their undersides, more than one application of dormant oil might be very helpful -- especially at the green tip stage. I tend to believe that all dormant sprays are more effective just as the trees, along with the pests and diseases, are waking up. However, if I had widespread observed problems I would favor doing more than one spray.
So tell us what you have concluded from observing your trees over the past growing season, including problems you may not have identified but can describe. About 98% of fruit growing is keeping an eye on things and understanding what is happening to the trees and fruit. Without this understanding, application of any sprays, dormant or otherwise, could range from very helpful to a waste of time and money, and all points between.
It is helpful to specify where you live when asking a question of this nature, since location can significantly influence the type and extent of problems with fruit trees.
Don Yellman, Great Falls, VA
My location is NE Connecticut and I have a few Macintosh and Macoun trees. This past season was the worse I ever had. Almost all my apples went to the compost heap.
It started with aphids in the spring and progressed to scab, sooty blotch, and Cedar apple rust. The scab was the most prevalent problem.
I use an all in 1 fruit tree spray from Agway but it seems to cause brown spots on the leaves. I spray at least every 3 weeks and have tried making my own mixture of garden insecticide and captan. The homemade stuff didnt do any leaf damage but wasnÂt very effective.
Other factors= we did have an unusually wet summer which made spraying difficult to time and my yard is surrounded by Cedar trees if this has anything to do with Cedar apple rust.
Apples are grown successfully in this area by commercial growers and I am determined to find the answers to meet their results. There is nothing worse than to care for your trees all summer just to throw the fruit in the compost pile.
Thanks Don and Mainegardener for the help I really appreciate it
In my situation I would consider fall spraying a waste of money.
I think you need to google "apple spray program". Those apple growers in your area know a lot more than you do and you need to educate yourself. Not trying to be mean, but just saying. It isn't easy and just putting on "an all in 1 fruit tree spray from Agway' ain't gonna cut it.
Here is one which showed up on a google search, there are many and you need to familiarize yourself with them. I know you are a smart man or you wouldn't have come here for help You can do it.
You also need to invest in some new varieties that are resistant to cedar rust, scab, et al. Liberty, Redfree, Pristine, others that are fine apples.
I feel your pain.
Im in South Kingstown, RI so Im probably not too far away from you. For me here, my biggest problem has been the Cedar Apple Rust, followed by scab, but Ive had every other disease you can name here. *sigh* The good thing about sooty blotch (and the related flyspeck is that it does wash off with water and a brillo/scruffee(sp?) pad.
One thing that youll find here on the forum, (and this is something that took me a while get past) is that most people here dont like the all-in-one sprays. I used Bonide Fruit Tree spray (which I believe is available through Agway) religiously, and it did help with the scab (because of the Captan), but it did nothing for the CAR. The more CAR I got, the more I sprayed the Bonide (within the recommended instructions). In was only after 3 seasons of being devastated by CAR that I realized Even though the Bonide Fruit Tree spray says it works on CAR, it does NOT. As you will see in this thread, the Bonide Fruit Tree sprays active ingredients are Captain & Sevin and those ingredients do nothing for CAR as you will see in this Fungicide Chart on page 3-3. (If your spray isnt the Bonide one that Im talking about, then maybe this info isnt as pertinent, but if you look at the active ingredients, they may be the same.) People here on this forum prefer to target each disease/insect instead of an all-in-one spray which wont target what you problems, and probably gives you chemicals that you dont need.
The reason why your local orchard is having more success is that theyre spraying more powerful fungicides which arent available to the homeowner. Talking to my local orchard owner, apparently URI has a fungicide class (which he took) which gives him a license to spray these advanced fungicides. Apparently it was a 2 day weekend class, and he also has to do X-number of hours visiting other orchards per year. Once he got the license, URI actually tells him what he needs to spray on any given year based on the current RI conditions, etc. So basically he got a license so he could buy the chemicals and then they tell him when/what/how much, etc. Ive considered taking the class and seeing if theyd give me the same info. Has anyone out there done anything like this?
At this point in my post, things get harder. The main problem is, there really arent many home-grower approved fungicides that work all that well. There is a fungicide called "Ferbam" that I havent yet used, but people here swear by. Do some searching here for "Ferbam" for more information Youll also see it referenced in that fungicide chart above. Unfortunately, it was taken off the home-grower market a few years ago, and is very difficult to obtain. Some people have gotten them simply by looking at the back shelves at their hardware store and finding old stock back there! This is a post which says how I got got close to obtaining Ferbam (in case you want to pick up where I left off), but luckily an anonymous friend was generous enough to share some with me. Well see how it works this year and Ill be reporting my results here.
Also, in that fungicide chart, youll see Immunox mentioned. Immunox is indeed allowed for the home-grower, but not too many people have too much experience with it. If you search around this forum for Immunox, youll see how, even though I have Ferbam, Im going to test it out on some trees next year and report back on that too.
Finally, when it comes to insects, do some searching here on the forum for "bagging apples". So far, thats worked quite well for me.
My plan for this year is to do a dormant oil spray (which I always do), and then 2 Ferbam sprays in the spring, and then bag my apples. On a few trees, instead of the Ferbam, Ill be using Immunox. Thats the plan anyway, well see how it works.
Ha! Going back to your post, I can now see that Geraldo beat me to it. Before Ferbam/Immunox gave me hope, I had resigned to converting all my trees to disease resistant trees. Actually, this isnt such a bad thing. I think Liberty actually tastes better than the McIntosh & Courtlands I tried and was my 2nd favorite apple in the whole orchard. (And it was just barely 2nd almost 1st). If I had a Mac/Court then I would definitely replace it with a liberty... (Oh, wait, I already did replace my Court with a Liberty!) There are many disease resistant apples to choose from, many of which have the reputation of tasting as good as, if not better than many of the other popular varieties. My Williams Pride able is reputed to taste great (search this forum), it also has a very early mid-July ripening date (some say its harder to find great tasting early apples), and is very disease resistant. With NO spray on it this year, there wasnt even a speck of CAR or scab on it. Unbelievable. (And yes, my other trees had the usual problems) If the above fungicide talk scares you (and it scares me a bit), then Id really recommend looking at disease resistant trees.
Anyway, hopefully this post will give you some ideas to start your Google searches. If you find any easy answers, please let the rest of us know. Until then, read, read, read good luck and have fun.
Thanks for the additional input Glenn and Geraldo.
I purchased some immunox today from lowes and plan on using it every 2 weeks for both my apple trees and cedar hedge row. For insects after petal drop I will add malathion. I will still do a dormant lime/sulfur.
Is there a problem with also using captan at the same time as the immunox?
As far as new varieties, thats not a good option at my age plus my wife will shoot me if I plant anymore trees ha ha.
As for Ferbam my search results have been forgive the pun, fruitless. Unless I can befriend an orchard owner!
I am certainly better informed now and even encouraged and yes I will continue to do my research. I did go to the school of agriculture at the University of Connecticut but my major was Food Manufacturing and never took an orchard management course. If I could only go back lol. I do know how to use them as a resource and will do so. If I discover anything worthwhile I will share it.
It is my hope that you/we wont need to spray the Immunox every two weeks. With the Ferbam, according to the extremely-knowledgeable/helpful Jellyman (and others here), you only spray it twice: Once at Petal Fall, and once 7-10 days later. See here for more info on that specifically, the 3rd post.
Immunox is a systemic fungicide, and according to the one person (Michael357), who is has experience with Immunox, like Jellyman/Ferbam, he only sprays it twice.
Take a look at the this post. (specifically the 2nd post from the bottom).
In my research, I havent seen anyone mentioning problems spraying Captan at the same time as the Immunox, but you should do your own research to back this up (just like everything else Ive said not an expert here, just trying to save you some time) Im not planning on spraying them on the same days but rather waiting a few days in between.
Because I dont have cedars on my property, Ive never investigated spraying the Cedars. Im not sure if all cedar trees can host CAR I know with Junipers, only certain ones can host it, so my blue-rug creeping junipers are not a problem. If you havent seen any galls on your cedars, then Im not sure Id bother. I dont have any cedars anywhere near me (that I know of), yet the spores still come in from somewhere.
On a previously talked about topic, heres another good post by Jellyman about why all-in-one combo sprays dont work. (specifically, look at the 5th post down) So, youre not convinced on the bagging yet eh? (understandable if you have tons of apples) In that same post, Jellyman talks about how the bagging has almost eliminated his flyspeck / sooty blotch. In my small sample testing of the bags last year, I found that some flyspeck still got in, but Im hoping with the switch to Ferbam this year, that along with the bags will be enough to prevent it.
I had aphids this year. I only got them on one tree, and that was a just-planted that I know didnt get a dormant-oil spray. All it took was a nice benign insecticidal soap spray or two once they appeared to kill em. Im hoping once that tree gets a dormant oil spray this year, that they wont be back. Time will tell.