by Beth Cook: Mammoth Cave Transplants
In our last article we touched on spraying your fruit trees with dormant spray to treat for overwintering pest and larvae. This is the first step to have a successful fruit tree. Keeping your tree sprayed at the appropriate times is key to keep that success going. Spraying trees is not an easy thing to do, know when to do it and keep a schedule is key.
To keep your fruit trees healthy from fungus and insects a complete fruit tree spray works great for both problems. When using a complete fruit tree spray it is important to follow the guidelines of the spray. A recommended spray is Bonide Fruit Tree Spray. This is a complete spray that contains a fungicide as well as an insecticide. This can also be used on flowers, ornamental evergreens, strawberries, grapes, and more. Remember to follow instructions on the spray you choose to use depending on the type of plant.
For fruit trees there are certain stages to look for to know when to spray. The first sign is the “Green Tip” stage. This is when the branch tips begin to show green tissue. When you see this you should apply your first spray. The next step is the “Pre Bloom” stage. This is when blossom buds show full color before opening, apply your second spray. Next is “Full Bloom”
DO NOT SPRAY when your tree is in full bloom. Protect the bees! You don’t want to kill your pollinators that are so important for fruit development. The next time you can spray is after “Petal Fall” wait until the bloom petals have dropped and bees are no longer present. When you spray after “Petal Fall” wait about 7-10 days and spray again. This is called “1st Cover”. You should spray your “2nd Cover” approximately 7-10 days after that.
You can continue to spray evert 2-3 weeks throughout the growing season. You should discontinue spraying 2 weeks before you harvest. Harvesting great fruit requires spraying at the right time. Early Spring you should beginning watching your tree’s stage so you can spray at the appropriate time. It is a lot of work, but will be worth it when you are harvesting!