If you are going to plant fruit trees, prepare for what comes with it. To achieve the dream of highly productive trees that gives you more pounds than you know what to do with, you're going to have to provide the tree something. That something is attention, love, and care in the form of sprays and fertilizers. Not every fruit tree or bush will encounter the same problems. Blueberries, blackberries, and figs have very few issues. Usually, the only problem is the Japanese beetles, remedied with one or two timely applications of insecticides. Grapes, pears, and citrus trees are also often pest free and if faced with an insect issue like blueberries, blackberries, and figs, a suitable insecticide applied once will usually do the trick. Plums, peaches, apples, and cherries are whole other story. These trees are HIGH maintenance and require periodic sprays.
The problems associated with fruit trees can be categorized, as either fungal/disease or insect. Your issue at hand determines the correct action to remedy the situation. If you're going to plant fruit trees you need to familiarize yourself with the following:
- Dormant fruit tree/Horticultural Oil- Apply this before blooming. This application helps to control cool weather insects that may have been overwintering on or around your tree. An easy way to remember when to apply is to remember the major holidays: Thanksgiving, Christmas and Valentine’s Day.
- Fruit Tree Spray- A general purpose spray, one spray that fixes all type of deal. No need to fully identify the issue, you know you have a problem, this will remedy the issue. This spray is a mix of an insecticide and a fungicide.
- Fungicide- Like Dormant oil spray, these are also applied early in the season. The application helps prevent and eliminate scab diseases caused by fungus. Make sure you wait at least 21 days before or after using Horticultural oil to apply fungicides.
Insecticide- Designed to kill insects that can cause problems on the trees. Do not apply when a tree is blooming, or you will kill the honeybees and other good pollinators and beneficial insects. There are four types of insecticides;
There are synthetic and organic options for the products mentioned above. Be careful when buying organic because it can refer to two separate things;
- Organic can apply to chemicals that are carbon-based. So there can be organic and inorganic compounds.
- Organic also refers to production practices that seek to limit or eliminate the use of synthetic materials.
No matter what you decide to use on your trees please remember the simplest but yet most overlooked rule. Follow the fucking guidelines on the packaging. Over application can be just as harmful to your trees as under use. It can cause runoff which finds its way into the waterways, causing pollution. Also, it destroys the balance of soil food web. Proper application of the listed products will assure higher quality fruit, healthier trees and higher yield of crops. Fruit tree production is a year-round job. Here is one of my favorite articles about problems associated with all fruit trees. Shoutout to all the Master Gardeners and extension services across America for this invaluable information!