When and what to spray on my fruit trees

shekanahhJanuary 11, 2009

My fruit trees seem to be forming buds already. When should I spray pre-emergence fruit tree spray? And what should I spray on them???

Also, I have some baby fruit trees I planted last year. Even though they won't produce this year, should I spray them anyway?

Some of this is new to me and sort of confusing to say the least.

Thanks for any help or advice. This is almost as confusing to me as how to prune, and make slips, (which I would LOVE to know how to do!)


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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

FRUIT TREES: I've linked the OSU Fact Sheet on Fruit Trees for you.

If you prefer to do it more organically, as many of us do, let me know and I'll find a link for an organic spray program.

For what it is worth, I've had fruit trees for 25 years, don't spray with chemicals, and never have. Not everyone chooses to go that route, though, and I understand that. If you are in a more humid part of Oklahoma, it may be very hard to avoid the use of chemical sprays because the higher humidity levels often encourage fungal diseases.

PRUNING: Are you referring to pruning fruit trees or to pruning, in general, because with different plants that bloom at different times, you prune differently.

MAKING SLIPS: What kind of slips?


Here is a link that might be useful: Home Fruit Tree Maintenance

    Bookmark   January 12, 2009 at 6:58AM
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Shekanahh, I have two peach, two apple, one plum, and two nanking cherry bushes. Last fall, I sprayed because all the plums and some of the peaches had worms. It's enough that I lose my fruit to that final bitter freeze and the high winds. I just cannot stand to have that beautiful fruit infested by worms!

I bought Volck dormant spray. It comes in a brown bottle as a liquid, you mix it with water and saturate the bark of the tree with it using a sprayer. I use one of those plunger-type sprayer containers that you pump to create pressure. You must not use it, however, when the temperatures are freezing or below. However, if temps drop after the spray has dried, that will do no harm so I'd recommend waiting for a warm-up for your window of opportunity.

I've used Volck before and have had good results. I think in a post last spring, Dawn recommended Bordeaux but I was not able to find that and since I had used Volck before, I just bought it again. You do need to keep pets and children out of the area while the trees are still dripping and the ground below them is still wet, and follow the instructions given on the bottle.

I try very hard not to introduce chemicals into my yard but this is one case where I just don't know of anything else to do.

If you have Japanese Beetles on your fruit in the summer, see my post on Milky Spore.

Hope this helps!

    Bookmark   January 15, 2009 at 8:59AM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7


For what it is worth, if I lived in your climate with your humidity and your rainfall, I'd probably spray every year with Volck or one of the similar petroleum-based oils, or with a similar organic oil (cottonseed oil, neem oil, soybean oil, etc.). I think it would be hard to have fruit without them. And, if worms in the fruit were an issue, I'd spray at the appropriate time with a Bt product too. It is too hard to get good fruit otherwise.

Of all the "chemicals" that you can apply to plants, I consider the petroleum oils to be very safe when used correctly (as you point out) and they have very low toxicity as far as humans/domestic animals are concerned.

I know that many people, like you and I, who try to avoid the use of chemicals if at all possible do use dormant oils that are petroleum-based. Some people also use copper-based sprays at the same time they use dormant oil (some mix the two together in the sprayer) and some use lime-sulfur spray.

Of all the things you can spray in your yard or garden, dormant oil is one of the most effective and least hazardous. : )

I'd love to be 100% organic, but that is VERY hard and I am not even sure it is realistic in our climate, so I am happy to "settle" for being mostly organic. And, to repeat a point I've made before, there are many "organic" products that are just as dangerous, or even more so, than the "chemical" products they are intended to replace. Sometimes I see people go wild spraying all kinds of "organic" stuff that I wouldn't use in a million years and I think they are lulled into thinking that "organic" automatically means safer or less toxic, and that's not always true.

I hope we all get a good fruit crop this year because last year wasn't so great.


    Bookmark   January 15, 2009 at 11:50AM
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