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Thread: Apple tree care

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    N CA

    Apple tree care

    We have a 10 yr old apple orchard. Only about a dozen trees, but they have a nice set every year. We have a bug problem that pretty much zeroes the take on the fruit. A small blemish on the skin and the inside eaten up. Iíve done the spraying over the winter with Neem and Copper Sulfate and the bugs sit in the apples laughing. Does anyone have any idea what the right product is to treat the orchard so we can get some fruit off the trees?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Wayland, MA
    Talk to your county Ag extension agent. They are frequently very knowledgeable and helpful as well as very familiar with local pests and conditions.

    I'm finding that as my trees mature my fruit yield is slowly increasing even without intervention. They are ugly, but taste pretty good.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Longview WA
    Blog Entries
    Do you clean up the area beneath the trees each fall? Rake up all the leaves and maybe even turn the soil with a spade or tiller.

    The bugs inside the fruit is only part of the cycle. When they drop to the ground, they live in the ground then emerge to move into the fruit.

    It also helps to know what kind of bug is bugging your fruit. Roger's recommendation to check with the county Ag agent is wise.

    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  4. #4
    I have a couple of apple trees in the yard and they produce tones of apples but all with apple scab or bug holes. I used to use a product called Wilson Fruit Tree Spray which worked great but since they banned any product up here that actually works nothing seems to help. I've tried Lime sulfur / Dormant oil spray.... anti bacterial spray .... insecticidal spray and copper spray all with zero results.... when all this Covid stuff is over I plan on going to visit my brother in Ellicottville N.Y and pick up some good stuff at a store in that area...

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    NE Iowa
    To target a specific pest, you'd need to provide a good deal more information. From your description, the two most likely culprits are Apple Maggot (also called railroad worm, or apple fruit fly) and Codling Moth (the classic "worm" in an apple). Could also be Plum Curculio, although the "eaten up inside" description doesn't really match how they damage fruit. All of these can be controlled (but not eliminated) using non-toxic IPM techniques, or with a series of insecticidal sprays properly timed to the insects' lifecycle. But you have to know what you're targeting, and have to be tuned into local conditions to get the timing right - the damage these insects do is done by larva that hatch inside the apple after an adult lays an egg on the developing fruit, and you have to have the spray on the tree when the adult is doing its egg laying - you can't touch the larva once they've hatched inside the fruit. So you want to get connected to your local ag extension people. They can help with identification, and timing of treatment.

    One thing's certain - the sprays you are using will have no effect whatsoever on the pests that are destroying your apples. Neem could provide some control of Apple Maggot, but you'd have to be dead on with the timing, which is to say, you'd have to be spraying when the fruit is roughly quarter sized to larger, not in the winter. It won't help much at all with Coddling Moth, even if you get the timing right. Copper Sulfate is a fungicide, not an insecticide.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    McKean, PA
    Spraying in the winter only protects for certain fungus, not insects. You will need to spray the trees several times immediately after the blossoms drop and then periodically through to picking season. DO NOT SPRAY when the trees are blooming as it will kill the honeybees that are pollinating your tree to make fruit. Talk to your local County Extension agent or a local fruit grower for information on spraying.
    Lee Schierer
    Captain USN(Ret)

    My advice, comments and suggestions are free, but it costs money to run the site. If you found something of value here please give a little something back by becoming a contributor! Please Contribute

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Mountain City, TN
    We put ziplock bags on each of our apples. When I tell people that their first reaction is " isn't that a lot of work". My response is " so it spraying, and that's working for you, is it. A simple search on bagging apples will give you the details.

  8. #8
    never heard of that will mention it to a neighbor. There were trees on her property and she has been there forever, asparagus is over 100 years old. Apples fall she collects them and makes wicked apple pies. Nother friend trimmed his apple trees to keep them low so the deer could get at them. He said we take their land we have to give back. I saw seven deer one time, pretty nice and they didnt take off.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Modesto, CA, USA
    Don't give up hope. Some of the orchard trees from 1814 are still doing well and producing fruit at Fort Ross in California.
    Bill D.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2021
    Portland, OR
    You'll want to ask locally, here in Portland, OR we're using BT. We still lose a few but for the most part, we have more apples than we can ever eat and have pressed enough cider to survive for a year.

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