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Organic spray for Apple trees

Posted by jbest123 Zone 5 PA (My Page) on
Thu, Jan 31, 08 at 14:52

Can anybody recommend an organic spray for apple trees with a schedule? I maintain orchard bees so that is a concern also. The neighbors on both side of me each have a huge standard apple tree witch is not pruned or maintained in any way. They are havens for insects so I must spray often. I try to adhere to organic principals in my garden but if I want any useable apples I must spray. Any help would be appreciated.

John


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Organic spray for Apple trees

First I would be sure the trees are getting adequate organic fertilizer on the ground with mulch a foot deep under the tree but not touching the trunk. Also make sure the root flare of each tree is exposed. Then I would consider spraying fresh compost tea (full strength), liquid seaweed (2 ounces per gallon of water), and milk (2 ounces per gallon of water). I would spray them alternately every week. Be sure to spray every surface from the soil up.


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RE: Organic spray for Apple trees

What pest are you having trouble with. That would be the first thing to find out before you decide to spray anything. Plain old horticultural oil works quite well on apples for many pests, but there are differnt options available for different pests.


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RE: Organic spray for Apple trees

I tried without success to borrow Michael Phillips Book "The Apple Grower" 2nd ed., through interlibrary loan. In the book he recommends kaolin clay spray and other organic tips on apple growing. I haven't tried kaolin clay yet because our apple tree is still too young to fruit. Here's Phillip's site for more info.

Here is a link that might be useful: lost nation orchard


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RE: Organic spray for Apple trees

There is some powdered organic fruit tree spray (mix with water) that Gardens Alive! sells that I found to be very useful on my apple and plum trees at my previous home. It has directions on when to spray to avoid spraying the bees. Also the dormant oil is good.

Marcia


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RE: Organic spray for Apple trees

Have you talked with your local Penn State University USDA Cooperative Extension Service horticulturist about what to use, when? Here in Michigan there is a lot of information about the more environmentally friendly methods to use for pest control with all the fruits, and when to spray them to be most effective.

Here is a link that might be useful: PSUCES


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RE: Organic spray for Apple trees

kimmsr, yes this is the reply I received. I think I will try the Rotenone with yucca extract for better adheasion.
john

John,
Check out the following links:
http://www.caf.wvu.edu/Kearneysville/organic-apple.html Organic apple disease control from Dr. Mike Ellis, Ohio State


http://ohioline.osu.edu/b780/index.html Ohio State Bulletin - Controlling Insects and Diseases in Home Fruit Plantings
includes organic options such as Lime/sulfur

http://ssfruit.cas.psu.edu Penn State Home Fruit Production Guide includes information about disease and insect biology and control.

I could not find a spray schedule specifically for organic pest management in apples. Pest management on apples is difficult with tools available, much more so when restricting your options to organic.
If I were attempting to grow apples organically I would plant varieties that are resistant to scab and as many other diseases as possible, especially fire blight, powdery mildew and summer diseases such as sooty blotch and flyspeck.
For insect control the big headaches are going to be plum curculio, internal worms (codling moth and oriental fruit moth in particular), European apple sawfly and apple maggot. I would consider mating disruption for codling moth and oriental fruit moth - although it has to be done over an area, not just individual trees, and could prove to be too expensive. Other than that organic insecticides will need to be used. They are limited in number and effectiveness. Organic insecticides that I know of include: Rotenone, pyrethrum, Neem, Entrust (spinosad), Surround (kaolin clay), insecticidal soaps and oils.
Organic pest management in apples is difficult in our climate, particularly with standard scab susceptible varieties.


Eric Oesterling
Penn State Extension Educator, Horticulture


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RE: Organic spray for Apple trees

I believe rotenone is no longer a registered organic pesticide.


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RE: Organic spray for Apple trees

Fruitgirl, that is what upsets me with organic certification program. Im not certified and dont plan to become certified. Mushroom manure which has been laced with Urea (synthetic) can be used and Vermicompost can not be used. Rotenone is produced naturally in the roots of some plants, is it organic or not? It makes me wonder where else do they contradict themselves. Is anybody truly organic considering the current rules and what Mother Nature may bring to your garden or orchard in the nest storm? I plan on using rotenone and say, I try my best to grow organic.

John


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RE: Organic spray for Apple trees

I think the organic certification on rotenone was pulled because it's one of the "nastier" organic pestitices in terms of human safety, but I could be wrong.

Anyway, I'm also no fan of the organic certification process either. A popular method of weed control in organic crops (especially perennial ones) is propane flaming. How is that sustainable? Part of the reason to farm organically is to take care of the Earth, and propane flaming sure as heck doesn't do that.


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RE: Organic spray for Apple trees

Rotenone is no longer a "recommended" poison for organic growers to use because it is extremely toxic to aquatic life, not because it adversly affects human life.


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RE: Organic spray for Apple trees

Ceejay can you explain more about bordeaux mixture? Our local orchard was using stronger stuff and I called the manager and they have switched to something that sounds like this. Is it considered organic?

Also, on the compost teas: I am interested in that. Is that what is used exclusively or along with other things?


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RE: Organic spray for Apple trees


I could not find a spray schedule specifically for organic pest management in apples. Pest management on apples is difficult with tools available, much more so when restricting your options to organic.

I can't poke around today, but I bet the UC IPM site has such a "schedule", with degree days and all that, as we had to do these exercises in several ag classes there.

Dan


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RE: Organic spray for Apple trees

A strictly adhered to spray schedule on apples is not always the best way to go, organic or not. Sucessfully growing fruit, from my experience, involves a great deal of education on topics including insect and disease pests, soil fertility, pruning and training and so on. Much of what is learned inside is then put to practice outside in the field.

For instance: every year, Cedar Apple Rust is a very serious threat to my non-CAR resistant apple trees. Usually, I can control it with 3 timed fungicide sprays based on tree phenology. This year, following the schedule, I had to spray 4 times. The difference? I started spraying weeks before the CAR galls were sporulating and able to infect the trees. If I had paid attention to the galls I would have noticed that there was no need to begin spraying for CAR and could have done fine with only 3 sprays. Basically, I'd have shifted the spray window forward 2 or more weeks instead of starting it based on the tree's growth stage which is a very common procedure. Won't make that mistake again. So learning IS very important, it took me 2 years of learning to learn that one.

Definitely, plant cultivars that are resistant or immune to scab and CAR in your area. If you can get some tolerance of fireblight and powdery mildew, that much the better. A few come to mind you can easily look up...Liberty, Freedom, Gravenstein, Macfree. There are others I can't think of to be sure.

Of equal importance is the rootstock, research the ones best for your area. Problems like crown gall and woolly aphids (I think it was) can decimate root systems in certain planting locations.

And lastly, ask in the Fruit and Orchard forum. There are people there trying the organic way and others trying some of the organic ways.

Lots to learn,

Michael


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RE: Organic spray for Apple trees

Michael's anecdote is why I mentioned the UC IPM site. There is schedule: nature's schedule. You have to be ready to go for, say, rust and your schedule can be set by degree days and moisture. Many states have ag meteorological measuring networks that download regular data for you to analyze. I live several hundred meters from a metro measuring unit. California's also has some stations that measure soil moisture.

Dan


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RE: Organic spray for Apple trees

Another source of free (prepaid by your taxes) is the NOAA NCDC site below for meterological data for specific sites in your area. for example, I am fortunate enough to have a site within 1000' of my fruit orchard so the information (temps and rainfall) is very accurate and precise for my location. this will help me more and more in the future to understand disease and insect cycles in the orchard and veggie garden. As Dan pointed out, places like UC have stations that collect the meteorlogical data and then interpret it for various pests. Those models don't always work out so well here in the middle of KS and the state of KS doesn't commit any resources for such models. I get to do the best with other's models and my data obtained locally. To be sure, the best data comes from nearest to you.

Nature's schedule ultimately is the one that matters the most because that is the one we live with outside the house. Talk to any orchardist who has been at it for many years and they'll be able to cite at least a few years that there were wild fluctuations from, "normal". Very often this time of year it is 95 - 105 deg., the last week has been no warmer than 84 deg., not that I'm complaining.

Oh, back to the link. Search by your state and somewhere in the menus below you should get to the free un-checked data for that location. Mine is updated daily, not all of them are.

Michael

Here is a link that might be useful: NCDC DATA LINK


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RE: Organic spray for Apple trees

I'm not even ready to think about what to spray to keep pests away from my apples. The problem I've had is figuring out what to spray to keep pests from eating the flowers that try to bloom on my two trees. As soon as the flowers start to come out, they're gone a couple of days later. I tried an insecticidal soap last year, to no avail, and was told the pest probably isn't softbodied. Can anyone recommend something organic to do the trick against a hardbodied pest?

Thanks


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RE: Organic spray for Apple trees

Learn the botany of your trees. Then learn what it is you are trying to control. Then learn the website of the Extension Program of your state, then the IPM page for that program.

Dan


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RE: Organic spray for Apple trees

I'm dead serious. The best way to treat an apple tree is with a chain saw about four inches above the ground. Save the wood for smoke in the Bar B Que. The advise is really important if you live in deer country.

I replaced the difficult apple trees with blue berries. Deer have not harmed the blue berry shrubs.


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RE: Organic spray for Apple trees

Doc: I think I'll just leave my 11 apple trees where they stand even though I have 2 functional chain saws.

Jack: though I've never seen it, someone I know has problems with birds eating all the flowers off his trees, go figure. Are you sure it is an insect problem? As Dan stated, learn the biology. Go out and spend time with a magnifying glass examining the flowers, looking for a culprit. Onlookers may think you are weird but who cares. Oh yes, you should look during different times of the day, morning, noon and evening as different critters are active at different times. look at the leaves top and bottom at least in the vicinity of the flowers as pests can certainly hang out there and dine elsewhere.


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RE: Organic spray for Apple trees

IMHO you must know much to be an organic grower - much more than reg'lur farmers who just go out and spray sh....tuff made by DuPont and bought at the nearby feed store. Lots to learn. Much to do.

Dan


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RE: Organic spray for Apple trees

I thought my chain saw application would get some sort of answer. LOL

Sixty years ago I could plant an apple tree and do nothing but oil spray. The crops were very nice at that time. Today it is a whole different story. I did give up on apples. Not growing to save some headaches is not all bad. It is an organic principal using an organic principle.

So far...fingers crossed...I have been able to handle Asian Pears with only oil spray. The deer are now hanging around some one elses apple trees. Thus the chain saw theory.


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RE: Organic spray for Apple trees

Doc: I don't know what your growing environment is like but apples like Liberty and Freedom have excellent resistance to the 2 disease biggies, Cedar Apple Rust and Scab making them truly spray free here. We have no powdery mildew and I don't worry about the presence of Sooty Blotch and Flyspeck. The only insects I have ever had was various tent caterpillars and Flatheaded Apple Borer, Bt handles them easily. Choose the rootstock that is best for your climate and situation. Oh yes, to avoid the fruit destroying insects, I thin the fruit just after June drop and bag them in Ziplock quart baggies which also keep the birds off. they work great.


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RE: Organic spray for Apple trees

what would be a good spray for our apple trees. We have had problems with big spider like webs and last year small apples with holes in them and one tree had spotted leaves and no apples. 3 years ago we had big beautiful apples. please help we have just bought this place and the trees are very big.


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RE: Organic spray for Apple trees

LOL @ Docgipe....
"treat it with a chainsaw"
bwahahahah

Where abouts do you live Docgipe?
I know Deer are a problem, hey at least you can stack your freezer full of meat and eat clean organic meat since you can't enjoy the apples.


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