ABQ Fruit: Insect Problems & Successes

abqpalms(Albuquerque, NM)July 5, 2006

For Albuquerqueans -


Last year, I put in my back yard a Peach Tree and a Bing Cherry Tree.

Both this year yielded quite a nice, impressive amount of good fruit, considering their youthfulness. However, I have had problems with both - BUGS EATING THE FRUIT!

The Bing Cherry they attacked as soon as the cherries got to be a decent size. The peaches they left alone until now...when they are almost ripe, and now they are starting to gnaw into them.

I realize that it is too late this year to do anything about them (and the peaches, for the most part will be saved - picked - before they can do too much damage), however, for future years, do folks have recommendations regarding protecting Peach Trees and Bing Cherry trees from these pesky eaters?

(You go through so much work all year to get this wonderful fruit, and then in a matter of days the fruit can be ruined by these annoying bugs)...


In addition to my success with a Peach Tree and a Bing Cherry tree, this year I put in a Nectarine Tree. I would just be curious to hear any other (or these three same) fruits being grown around town, successes, failures, etc. What works well. What does not, etc. In addition to fruit trees, if anyone is growing nut trees either (almonds, pecans, etc.).

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I just moved from Santa Fe (where I am a master gardener) to Houston. In Santa Fe, I raised a nectarine, a plum, numerous chokecherries and one Nanking cherry.
Fruit trees in northern NM have a problem with insects wintering over, either as eggs or pupae beneath stems, in the crotches of stems, and beneath the trees in debris and/or mulch.
I would suggest several solutions to your insect problem.
1. In the fall, completely remove any mulch or other debris from beneath the tree. Replace it with fresh mulch (I have used hay straw (usually available from area farmers or from feed stores at about $4.00 a bale), cedar mulch or cypress mulch. Hay straw is okay, but the wind in northern NM plays havoc with it, and before you know it, you've got straw everywhere. I prefer the cedar mulch, which has a nice smell, is somewhat repellant to insects, and it looks nice. About three-four inches of new mulch around the base of the tree, out to the drip line should suffice. Make sure you don't lay the mulch directly up against the trunk of the tree, as this could encourage diseases to flourish.
2. Next, obtain some "dormant oil" from your local nursery, and follow the spraying directions. Dormant oil should be sprayed in the fall or winter.
The dormant oil will coat the exoskeletons of the overwintering insects, as well as coat pupae and eggs, effectively smothering all or most of the insects and their potential offspring.
I hope this helps. You also might want to check out the website below for more information,

Here is a link that might be useful: Xeric Gardening 101

    Bookmark   July 10, 2006 at 1:11PM
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