Spring has sprung and it’s time to think about our fruit trees and taking good care of them throughout the season.
A great time to start off with some good pest management control is during what we call the delayed dormant period. This is when trees - like apples and pears - are at the green tip to half-inch green stage. This means that the green leaf material is starting to show. For peach and apricot, it’s at first pink which we may be already past in some parts of the state.
The technique is to apply a superior or supreme style dormant oil at one and a half to two percent concentration to cover the limbs of the tree. What this does is kill the overwintering insect and mite eggs that spent the winter there.
Some other early season pests to watch out for is a disease called powdery mildew that coats the leaves with a powdery fungal material. Apply a fungicide at open cluster stage and thereafter following label directions to prevent this fungus from taking over your apple tree and preventing a good harvest.
Another early season disease to watch out for if fire blight. This attacks open apple and pear flowers. It’s a bacteria that invades when weather is warm and wet. The bacteria will kill the flower and then move into the stem of the tree and can kill an entire tree if severe enough. Look for antibiotic products that are available for commercial and homeowner products and apply these during bloom time under warm and wet conditions to prevent fire blight.