How do you make dormant oil spray for fruit trees

Homemade Dormant Oil Spray for Fruit Trees | Home Guides

By Amanda Flanigan Updated December 14, 2018

Gardeners are not the only ones who enjoy fruit trees. Pests -- such as scales, aphids and mites -- feast on the tender plant parts and overwinter on the fruit trees. Dormant oils control these annoying pests and are safe for use on fruit trees. Homemade dormant oils provide the same benefits as commercial oils without the expensive price tag.

Dormant Oil

Dormant oils once contained heavy oils that had to be applied when the fruit tree was in its dormant stage to prevent damage to buds and foliage. Nowadays newer dormant oils are lighter, allowing them to be applied at anytime during the year without harming buds. Because you can apply newer dormant oils throughout the season, the term "dormant" typically refers to the time at which the oil is applied. Dormant oil consists of refined petroleum oil that -- when applied to trees -- will smother overwintering insects -- such as aphids, scales and mites -- and their eggs or will dissolve their protective waxing coating. It is applied in the winter months when fruit trees are in their inactive period. For dormant oil to provide proper control, the oil must come in contact with the pests.

Dormant Oil Recipes

Several dormant oil recipes are available and help control pests on fruit trees. A dormant oil formula developed by scientists at Cornell University controls overwintering pests and foliar diseases. It contains 2 tablespoons of ultrafine canola oil and 1 tablespoon of baking soda mixed with a gallon of water. Cornell University scientists also developed a nourishing formula containing 2 tablespoons of horticultural oil, 1 tablespoon of baking soda, 1 tablespoon of kelp and 1 tablespoon of mild dish soap mixed with 1 gallon of water. Another dormant oil recipe contains 2 tablespoons of baking soda, 5 tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide, 2 tablespoons of castile soap -- which is made from an olive oil base -- and 1 gallon of water.


No matter which recipe you use, the application for the homemade dormant oil is the same. During the fruit tree’s dormant stage -- which is typically between November and early spring before bud break -- fill a pump sprayer with the homemade dormant spray and thoroughly coat the fruit trees -- stems and both sides of the leaves -- with the oil. Never apply dormant oil when the temperature is below freezing or when fruit trees are stressed. Stressed trees are more likely to become damaged when treated with dormant oil. Furthermore, only apply the oil spray when the fruit tree is dry. Moisture or high levels of humidity lower the effectiveness of dormant oil sprays.


Dormant oils generally won’t harm beneficial insects since they are applied at a time when beneficial insects aren’t present on fruit trees and have a low toxicity level to humans and mammals. Furthermore, dormant oils won’t leave harsh residue behind. It loses its ability to control pests once dried, however, and can harm plants susceptible to oil sprays. Cedars, maples, spruce and junipers are a few susceptible tree species that dormant oil should not be used on.


  • Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service: Fruit Trees
  • Seattle Tree Fruit Society: The Urban Scion Post Volume 27 Number 10 October 2009
  • The Ohio Valley Chapter North American Rock Garden Society: One The Rocks Spring 2012
  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Extension: Just What is Dormant Oil?

Writer Bio

Amanda Flanigan began writing professionally in 2007. Flanigan has written for various publications, including WV Living and American Craft Council, and has published several eBooks on craft and garden-related subjects. Flanigan completed two writing courses at Pierpont Community and Technical College.

Dormant/Horticultural Oil Sprays – Philadelphia Orchard Project

Dormant Oil, also known as Horticultural Oil, is an oil that is mixed with water and a solvent such as soap and is sprayed on fruit trees and berry bushes and help to control the overwintering eggs of insects. This insects include red mites, spidermites, scale insects, pear psylla, aphids, white flies and other soft bodied insects. Oils kill exposed insects and mites by suffocating them or by penetrating the outside wall of the insects eggs and harming their internal cells.

Dormant oils are normally highly refined petroleum or vegetable based oils. These sprays are less toxic than most insecticidal sprays and insects are less likely to develop resistance to them. The sprays are safe to most mammals  and birds and are unlikely to harm beneficial insects because the spray is applied when they are not active on the tree. Dormant oils are quick drying, and do not leave a harmful residue.

Dormant oils should be applied to the trees before bud break in late winter or early spring. It is important that the oil be sprayed when there in no rain in the forecast for a couple days and at temperatures above freezing (40+F). Because the oil only kills insects and eggs by direct contact it is important to fully saturate the tree, paying special attention to crevices and spots where the insects are likely to be hiding. Dormant oils can be purchased at garden store for around 15-30 dollars or you can make your own dormant oil spray at home with a few ingredients!

The following are Dormant Oil recipes designed at Cornell University:
2 tablespoons of ultrafine canola oil
1 tablespoon of baking soda
1 gallon of water.

Nourishing Formula Containing: 
2 tablespoons of horticultural oil,
1 tablespoon of baking soda,
1 tablespoon of kelp and
1 tablespoon of mild dish soap mixed with
1 gallon of water.

Another dormant oil recipe contains
2 tablespoons of baking soda
5 tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide
2 tablespoons of castile soap — which is made from an olive oil base
1 gallon of water

Neem oil
5 fluid ounces of pure neem oil
1 tablespoon mild dish soap
1 gallon of water
Note: pure neem oil is a solid in cold conditions, thus challenging for winter sprays

Commercial sprays available for purchase:
Monterey Horticultural Oil
Bonide All season Dormant Spray Oil

Insect Pests controlled by Winter Oil Sprays
Winter applications of dormant/horticultural oil sprays can be helpful to control the following orchard insect pests.   Other means of control to consider during the growing season include attracting beneficial predator insects, physical removal with strong jets of water, and application of neem oil.


Red mites are small red 8 legged insects who primarily effect apple, pear, and stone fruit trees. You will find adults on the under side of leaves and red overwintering eggs in groups in crevices and cracks, around buds and in rough patches of bark.These insects feed on the leaf tissue of your tree, which can cause the trees to produce less fruit buds. The mites also can cause leaf browning and make the tree unable to produce enough food to produce proper fruit.


Scale insects look like small bumps (1/5th of an inch or smaller) with no visible legs or antenna. They resemble individual fish scales, attach themselves to the tree and feed on the sap and vital nutrients of the tree. Coloration varies from brown, gray, white, yellow and red.   Some scale insects are soft, others are armored.  Secretions from scale infestations can sometimes result in sooty mold fungus and mass infestations can weaken or even kill trees.

Pear psylla 

These insects resemble tiny cicadas and have a dark spot on the top middle edge of both wings. They lay elongated yellowish eggs on or near fruit spurs and are barely visible without a magnifying lens. These insects feed on sap and produce a honeydew on the tree which can cause fungus and mold. This causes the skin of the fruit to become blackened and scarred. Pear psylla effect European pears much more than Asian varieties.


Aphids have piercing mouthparts where they remove plant fluids from your tree. Aphids come in several colors, including green, white, and black, and can generally can be recognized by their small size, pear-like shape, and long antennae.  They are sometimes ‘herded’ by ants and so the presence of ants in a tree can be an indicator of aphid infestations.

Aphids harm the tree by removing plant fluid, spreading disease, and can stunt growth and cause deformed leaves and fruit. Aphids also secret a “honeydew” that causes mold to grow on your trees which can effect photosynthesis and attract other harmful insects.


This edition of POP TIPS prepared with assistance from 2015 POP Intern Sophia Taylor.  

SUPPORT US!  If you found this entry useful, informative, or inspiring, please consider a donation of any size to help POP in planting and supporting community orchards in Philadelphia:  

How to treat leaf curl on a nectarine tree?


Leaf curl can be controlled using sulfur or copper-based fungicides that are labeled for use on peaches and nectarines. Spray the entire tree after 90% of the leaves have fallen in autumn and again in early spring, just before the open buds.

When do I spray leaf curl?

The first spray should be in in late autumn on a Fall 9 leaf0012 shortly before the tree enters dormancy. Spray again on Bud Swell or Bud in late winter or early spring. Once the leaves have opened, it's too late to spray peach flex and many other fungal diseases.

When do you spray fruit trees on climbing leaves?

Peach leaf fold control with fungicides

Most effective control is achieved by spraying when the patches become otemi but before they have opened . It is impossible to control the mushroom once it hits the leaf. Poor disease control is usually the result of spraying too late - that's after Budswell.

Can you spray fruit trees in full bloom?

Petal fall is the time after flowering before the first tiny fruits begin to develop. Fruit formation is the last stage that lasts until harvest. avoid spraying while flowers are open as insecticides sprayed at that time will kill bees and other pollinators.

What is the best fruit tree spray?

captan is generally considered a good choice for the treatment of many fetal diseases. Sulfur is especially good for powdery mildew and somewhat effective for Scab, Rust and brown rot. Relying on the mix makes spraying the fruit easier.

How do you use yates leaf curl?

Directions. mix 10 or 20 g in 1 liter of water . Stir the mixture before applying. Apply when first illness occurs and repeat every 10 days or so as required.

What are the symptoms of leaf bending?

Leaf curl symptoms appear in spring. developing leaves become severely distorted (thickened and puckered) and have a reddish or purple leaf . Later, when spores form on the leaf surface, the leaves become powdery gray flowers. Soon after, the leaves turn yellow or brown and fall off.

What does leaf bending look like?

Peach leaf curl symptoms

Leaf color may be yellow, orange, red or purple. There may also be deformed reddish colored warts on the leaves. Later leaves may look gray or powdery. Fruit can also become infected, developing raised sprouts.

What should I spray on a nectarine tree?

The best treatment is to spray the entire tree with liqui-cop with 4 tablespoons per gallon of water while it is dormant. Otherwise, removing the infected tree and flowers is the only treatment. Sanitation: Remove and destroy infected buds and blooms during flowering. Remove and destroy mature fruits when symptoms appear.

When do I spray nectarines?

The first spray of the season is early spring before the patches start to build up. There are two fruit tree sprays for nectarines that should be used when the temperature is between 45 and 55 degrees Fahrenheit. (7-12 s). Use a copper-based fungicide to prevent powdery mildew, bacterial packing, and leaf curl.


How to control leaf bending in chili?

ways to prevent leaf fold disease in chili plants

  1. Mix 5 grams of soap in 1 liter of water and spray this liquid on the bottom of leaves at high pressure to get rid of white flies.
  2. Mix 5 milliliters of nii-based pesticides in 1 liter of water and add 1 milligram to it.

How to get rid of leaf curls?

Organic control methods for leaf bending

  1. Spray on bud with copper hydroxide or copper oxychloride and ensure thorough coverage of all branches.
  2. Timing is critical to prevent fungus from entering the plant when the new leaves are vulnerable.

Why are my nectarine leaves curling?

Peach Leaf Curl, also known as leaf curl, is a disease caused by the fungus Taphrina deformans. Peach leaf fold affects the flowers, fruits, leaves, and shoots of peaches, ornamental peach blossoms, and nectarines, and is one of the most common diseases for backyard gardeners who grow these trees.

How often do you water your nectarine tree?

every 10 days or two weeks is enough. Worse than dry, thirsty roots are adorned, sinking roots. Although a slight depression in the soil helps with summer watering, it is important to raise the soil around the tree to the level of the surrounding soil for the winter.

is the leafroll virus disease?

Tomato yellow leaf curl virus (TYLCV) is a highly destructive viral disease of tomato crops in tropical and warm temperate regions of the world, causing losses of up to 100%.

How to make leaf curl spray?

How to make Bordeaux spray

  1. Mix lime and water. Dissolve 100 grams of building (moistened) lime in half a standard (plastic) bucket of water. …
  2. Mix copper sulfate and water. Dissolve 100 grams of copper sulfate in a separate half of a bucket of water. …
  3. Spray. Pour the mixture into a spray bottle. …
  4. Wash.

When do you spray fruit trees with copper fungicide?

Ideally, apply copper fungicide before fungus is visible. Otherwise, apply the product immediately when you first notice signs of fungal diseases. If the fungus is on fruit trees or vegetable plants, you can safely continue spraying every seven to 10 days until harvest.

How do you spray Mancozeb?

Speed: Mix 5G (L Level) with 1 liter of water or 50g (L0 level caps) with 10 liters of water . Agitate regularly while spraying to avoid settling. For lawns, apply 10 liters of spray per 10 square meters.

When should you not spray fruit trees?

Avoid spraying dormant oil when is below 40ºF . Shake well before adding the sleeping oil to the desired amount of water.

When do you spray fruit trees with neem oil?

Neem oil can protect your fruit trees and berry bushes. The petals fall off and every two weeks thereafter to control these pests.

How should I spray apple trees?

Type Home Garden Spray (available at most garden centers) is the best product for home gardeners. Most home garden type sprays contain 2 insecticides and 1 fungicide and can be applied to apple, pear and most other fruit trees.

Associated QNA:

Fungicides and pesticide recipes from improvised means

This material is also available to Ukrainian

Homemade inexpensive garden pest control sprayers are the best you can get! Many home-made products have proven themselves well, our grandmothers used them. Think for yourself: you will know “what is mixed here”, and their components are probably at your fingertips. The main ingredients of homemade sprayers are garlic, red capsicum, stinging nettle, horsetail, baking soda, soap - all this is ground, dissolved in water and sprayed on plants.


Here are some simple recipes:

  • Ticks and other insects:

Mix two tablespoons of red pepper (red pepper) sauce with a few drops of laundry soap (original English text says Procter & Gamble's Ivory soap but that's not the point). Leave overnight, then stir, pour into a household spray bottle and spray on your plants. While spraying, do not forget to constantly shake the container with the mixture!

  • Fungal diseases:

Mix two tablespoons of baking soda in 1 liter of water. Pour into a household sprayer, treat the infected areas. Repeat the spraying procedure every few days until the problem is completely eliminated.

Powdery mildew on garden strawberries. The disease-causing fungus (Erysiphales) appears in a specific form that infects only garden strawberries.

  • Powdery mildew:

Mix equal proportions of milk and water and spray on infected plants. Three such treatments per week should stop the disease.

  • Insects and diseases caused by fungi

Mix one tablespoon of frying oil/cooking oil, two tablespoons of baking soda, and a few drops of laundry soap (or Procter & Gamble's Ivory soap if available) mixed into one quart of water. Pour the mixture into a household spray bottle and spray your garden.

Powdery mildew on gooseberries

  • Soft-bodied insects (mites, plant aphids, mealybugs):

Mix one tablespoon of rapeseed oil (canola oil, or canola oil), a few drops in 1 liter of water. Shake well and pour into a household spray bottle. Spray the plants from top to bottom and from bottom to top to get to the underside of the leaves. The oil suffocates insects.

On the reverse side of the leaf…

  • Insect pests attacking fruit trees:

Lime-sulphur decoction can be purchased at any garden center, plus you will need the following homemade mixture: 1 cup vegetable oil, 2 tablespoons liquid soap per 4 liters of water, mix oil and soap first, then add water. Mix a sulfur-lime decoction with this mixture and spray the trunks and branches of fruit trees with this mixture. Shake the container with the mixture regularly while spraying. This mixture will not allow eggs of harmful insects to develop. Attention: this treatment should be carried out in early spring, while the tree is still sleeping, before the buds have blossomed, otherwise you risk killing the tree itself. Since the oil mixture will be heavy, you will need a pump sprayer.

  • Earwigs, slugs and other soft-bodied garden pests:

We recommend spreading in the garden (directly on the plants and around the perimeter of the flower beds) mountain flour, also known as diatomaceous earth and diatomaceous earth. Diatomaceous earth particles are very small and sharp, and they damage the outer skeleton, or the tough outer covering of insects, slugs, and snails. Insects cannot develop immunity against the action of diatomaceous earth, since the effect of this insecticide is mechanical, not chemical.

Earwig - gnawing garden and fruit pest

  • Larvae:

For worm-like larvae of lawn and garden pests, there is a natural remedy called Milky Spore. This tool is sold in granules, which are simply scattered around the garden. As a result of contact with these granules, the larvae become infected with diseases and die. The "charm" of this tool is that milky spore affects only pests, without causing any harm to beneficial organisms. Over time, the milky spore breaks down into smaller particles and remains dormant in the garden grass, waiting for the emergence of new worm-like larvae, which this remedy poisons. Milky spore is said to last up to 40 years in one garden.

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