How to treat fruit trees for insects


When Is the Best Time of Year to Spray Fruit Trees? — Tips From Bob Vila

depositphotos.com

Q: The fruit on several fruit trees in my garden grows poorly and the leaves look bad. I probably need to spray the trees, but don’t know how to go about it. Can you tell me when to spray fruit trees?

A: Caring for fruit trees is a year-round job that includes pruning, fertilizing, removing diseased fruit, and spraying at different times of the year. Timing is critical for each of these tasks. During active growth, the trees absorb and use nutrients from fertilizers.

To know when to spray fruit trees for pests, you first need to know what threatens the tree and when the threat is active. An insect egg can lie dormant in the bark of an apple tree all winter, only to hatch and feed on the leaves in spring. Or a particular fungal spore might infect a peach tree only while the flowers are open.

Develop a fruit tree spraying schedule based on the growing cycle and threat.

Time tree spraying applications to control diseases and insects. Timing coincides with plant and fruit development, along with climate and weather. Watch for specific growth stages with observable characteristics:

  1. Dormancy is before buds begin to swell in spring.
  2. Pre-blossom stage includes five distinct growth stages for tree buds before the flowers open:
    1. silver buds
    2. green tips
    3. half-inch green
    4. tight clusters (of flower buds)
    5. pink (but not yet open) flower buds.
  3. Blossom is from the time the first flower opens until the last petal drops.
  4. Petal fall is the time after blossom, before the first tiny fruits begin to develop.
  5. Fruit formation is the final stage, which lasts until harvest.

depositphotos.com

Avoid spraying fruit trees while flowers are open, since insecticides sprayed at that time kill bees and other pollinators. Read and follow all safety precautions to minimize personal exposure to pesticides. Always follow mixing instructions. Increasing the concentration of a spray does not kill insects faster, can kill more beneficial species, and increases chances of runoff contaminating local streams and groundwater.

  • Dormant spray, or dormant oil,  is a horticultural oil that kills overwintering scale insects, mealybugs, mites, aphids, and other pests on the bark. The oil has either a mineral (petroleum) or plant base. One application of dormant spray for fruit trees per year, or less, is typical. Plantonix Organic Neem Bliss is an effective and organic fruit tree spray for overwintering pests.
  • Insecticidal sprays kill insects that feed on foliage, bore into trunks, or spoil developing fruit. Most fruits require multiple applications through the growing season for active bugs. Avoid spraying insecticides while flowers are present. BioAdvanced Vegetable and Garden Insect Spray protects fruit and lasts longer than some sprays.
  • Fungicidal sprays control the spread of fungal diseases. You might need to apply fungicide several times throughout the growing season to protect against different diseases. Many of these products can damage or kill pollinators, so avoid spraying fungicide while flowers are open. Grower’s Ally Fungicide Concentrate can protect fruits and vegetables.
  • General-purpose sprays control most insects and diseases affecting fruit trees; spraying a single product at defined intervals throughout the growing season is easier than timing a specific fruit spray. However, using only a general-purpose fruit tree sprayer increases unnecessary pesticide exposure and might not control some insects and diseases. Try Bonide’s Orchard Spray, a concentrate meant for citrus, nut, and fruit trees.
  • Foliar fertilizer sprays of micronutrients like zinc, copper, magnesium, molybdenum, boron, and calcium can aid fruit development where these nutrients are lacking or unavailable due to soil alkalinity. These elements mix with water and spray directly on leaves, which absorb the nutrients and move them to developing fruits. Strictly follow label instructions to avoid damaging trees. Consider Bloom City’s Oganic SuperGreen, which includes helpful magnesium and kelp.

depositphotos.com

If there was intense pest activity during the previous growing season, use dormant spray for fruit trees in late winter or early spring .

Dormant sprays kill overwintering insect pests on fruit trees. Unless pest populations spike, it is not necessary to spray dormant oil every year. Every 3 to 5 years is typical.

Advertisement

Complete dormant spraying before buds begin to swell. Apply dormant spray only when the temperature is above 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Be sure to fully coat all surfaces, paying close attention to undersides of branches and branch crotches.

RELATED: How to Plant an Apple Tree

Apply insecticidal sprays as needed at 2-week intervals from green tip until bloom, and from petal drop until harvest.

It is possible for insects to build up tolerance to even the best insecticide if it is used repeatedly. The solution is to alternate applying insecticides with other active ingredients.

If you primarily use a general-purpose spray to kill insects and diseases, alternate treatments using a specific-purpose insecticide to eliminate the risk of pests building up tolerance to either chemical. An insecticidal soap such as Natria Insecticidal Soap can be used right up to the day of harvest.

istockphoto.com

Each kind of fruit tree has its own ideal fungicide spray schedule based on the diseases that threaten it.

Targeted, stand-alone fungicide treatments improve fruit quality when applied at the proper time. Fruit disease spores infect their hosts when environmental conditions are ideal.

Some fungal spores activate during cool, wet spring weather. Other diseases spread in hot, humid summer conditions. It is important to anticipate plant diseases and begin treating them just before they arrive.

Fungicide applications are most critical during the green tip through petal fall stages of apple and pear trees. Peach trees and plum trees require spring, summer, and fall disease control treatments for best results.

Find application timing on the product label to prevent specific diseases or check this Purdue University Extension Guide for growth stage and fruit tree spray schedules specific to common fruits.

RELATED: 10 Indoor Fruit Trees You Can Grow at Home Year-Round

depositphotos.com

Use general purpose fruit tree spray at 1- to 2-week intervals following key plant development observations.

Apply the spray first at green tip, followed by pre-bloom, full pink, petal fall, first cover (1 week after petal fall), and second cover (2 weeks after petal fall).

Advertisement

General-purpose fruit tree sprays cut spray application time in half. A powerful mix of broad-spectrum insecticide and fungicide is the key. Active ingredients might include organic products like pyrethrins and neem oil, or inorganic chemicals like malathion, carbaryl, and captan.

Trees might require additional treatments. Consult the product label for detailed directions.

Apply foliar sprays of micronutrients on a cool, overcast day at or near the petal drop stage.

If your fruit trees are deficient in zinc, copper, magnesium, molybdenum, boron, or calcium, a foliar application of one or more of these micronutrients may help. Be cautious; unnecessary or excessive application of these nutrients can damage fruit trees.

Foliar fertilizer cannot replace proper soil fertility. A tree cannot absorb enough of the major nutrients it needs through foliage.

RELATED: 7 Common Tree Diseases and How to Treat Them Before It’s Too Late

Apply granular fertilizers in early spring.

The best time to fertilize fruit trees is in early spring. Apply a granular fertilizer such as Jobe’s Organic across the root zone around the time the leaf buds open. The first flush of growth in spring comes from energy stored in the roots. By the time the fertilizer penetrates the soil, the tree is ready to take up the nutrients for optimum growth and fruiting.

Avoid fertilizing after mid-spring. A spike in soil nutrients during fruit development can cause trees to abort fruit to produce more vegetative growth.

istockphoto.com

Use combination sprays during the growing season to target both insects and diseases.

Combination sprays are two different pesticides sold individually, normally an insecticide and a fungicide, mixed into the same sprayer and applied at the same time. This practice is a way to customize an application and save time.

Not all products are compatible, and some mixtures can be dangerous. Read both product labels before mixing to ensure that mixing the two is safe and allowable.

Need a hand with landscape maintenance?

Consider hiring a pro. Find trusted local landscapers and receive multiple no-commitment quotes.

Get quotes now

+

When to spray apple trees to protect them from pests and diseases

Organic fruit tree sprays can help protect your apple trees from pests and diseases. But it's important to know when to spray your fruit trees. Using the right spray at the wrong time can damage your tree and affect its ability to fruit. Learn more in this article and podcast. Photo credit: OrchardPeople.com.

If you’re growing your apple trees organically, it’s important to protect them from pests and diseases and if you know when to spray your fruit trees, that job will be much easier for you. In episode 52 of The Urban Forestry Radio Show and Podcast, show host and fruit tree care educator Susan Poizner speaks to orchard consultant Mike Biltonen from Trumansburg, N.Y, about organic fruit tree sprays that you can use throughout the year.

Mike has horticulture degrees from Virginia Tech (BS ’86) and Cornell (MS ’92), as well as over 35 years of practical farming experience. He has a passion for sustainable orcharding and helps orchardists transition from conventional to organic practices with Know Your Roots, a small holistic company he owns and operates with his wife Debbie.

In interview below you will learn when to spray apple trees. The interview is condensed and edited for clarity.

Organic Fruit Tree Spray Schedules and Apple Tree Spray Guide


Watch this video on YouTube

Watch a 10-minute video excerpt from this podcast for an overview about when to spray apple trees. Then continue on to the interview below for lots more information!

when to spray apple trees

How can sprays help prevent apple tree pests and diseases?  

MB: Well, sprays play a very important role. There are quite a few insect pests and diseases that vary throughout the growing season.  Depending on what part of the world that you're in, pests and diseases can begin in late March or early April, say in the Great Lakes region, and last until October and November in some cases. Being able to understand what these insects and diseases are, and knowing how to help your trees withstand the onslaught, is really important. Doing nothing is not an option in our climate today. But by the same token, a spray schedule doesn't have to be super intensive. As long as we're choosing the right sprays for the right time of the, it really can help grow a healthy tree and healthy fruit.

Sign up for our monthly newsletter and we will send you our eBook "Growing Fruit Trees That Thrive." You can unsubscribe at any time.

What happens if you don’t use sprays on apple trees?

MB: Well, probably the biggest thing that can happen from a disease standpoint is that apple trees, for instance, can get a number of diseases like apple scab, cedar apple rust, and there's a new one that we're dealing with called Marssonina leaf blotch. If these diseases get severe, they can defoliate the tree. If the tree defoliates, then it can't photosynthesize. And if it can't photosynthesize, then it can't create the sugars and the nutrients and the compounds that it needs to stay healthy as a tree or to grow good fruit.

On the insect side, there are insects that cannot just damage the tree, but can actually kill it. There are borers of different types that will bore into the trunk of the tree. Borers can girdle the tree and eventually cause the tree to decline. It could happen quickly, but usually it happens over the course of a few years to where the trees can just decline and die.

How do you research what fruit tree sprays to use?

MB: Not every region has the same problems. In New York, for example, the issues that we have in the primary fruit growing region along Lake Ontario are different from the issues on the Ontario Peninsula. We don't all have the same pressures. And so, understanding what your pressures are from the insect and diseases is very important.

But the other thing is that once you've got a handle on those basics, understanding the ebb and flow through the growing season is important. You need to know when certain diseases or insects are problematic and when they're not. That can change dramatically throughout the growing season. Sometimes, very little intervention is needed. At other times it can be fairly intensive.

An important time to spray apple trees is during the dormant season. Spraying at this time can help prevent pests and diseases in the months to come. Photo credit: Jeff Nielsen.

When to spray apple trees – Dormant Season

When does the dormant season begin and end?

MB: The dormant season technically begins at the end of a current growing season. So as soon as the fruit has been harvested and the leaves the fully defoliated. At this point, all of the tree’s carbohydrate reserves have gone into the roots and the trunk and the branches of that tree.  The tree is essentially dormant at that point.

Fruit trees need to achieve a certain number of chilling units or cold days before they can start to grow again. The dormant season can extend from the middle of November, all the way up until the middle of March. And then in the middle of March, it starts to accumulate growing degree days (GDD) during warm days.

At that point we won't see the trees start to grow and they will still look dormant and asleep. But in the spring, trees are slowly starting to wake up. And just like with maple trees, the sap starts to rise before the leaves come out. That sap is carbohydrates starting to rise again.

But we see the real end of the dormant season when the bud scales and the overwintering fruit buds start to expand slightly, and we can see a change in color in the bark and in the buds. And even though there's not a defined period per se of when the dormant season ends, that's really when we can say, okay, it's game on. The growing season has started.

The timing for the end of dormancy can vary from year to year. I've seen it in New York where we've had the dormant season end in or appear to end in early March only to have more winter set in. And other years it can stay relatively cool through March and the trees may not look like they're waking up until early to the middle of April.

What are the pest and disease pressures in the dormant season?

MB: Well, just like the trees are sleeping and recovering during the winter, so are a lot of insects and diseases in their own way. They're going through a dormant period of their own and many of these insects and diseases will do their winter rest on the tree itself. Some examples might be mites, scales, or wooly apple aphids.

Some diseases, particularly bacterial diseases like fireblight, they will be residing on the tree itself. And so we want to be aware of that. And in order to reduce the pest pressure or the disease inoculum when the season starts, there are some treatments that we can apply that we need to think about that will help to reduce the population say of overwintering mite eggs or overwintering scale. And by getting a jump on the season, it reduces the potential for those pests and diseases to be bigger problems in season than they would be if we didn't do anything.

What apple tree sprays might we use during the dormant season?

MB: One of the most classic options is just a horticultural oil. And the horticultural oil would be applied in a dilute spray. And by dilute, I mean maybe 1% to 2% oil in water, and that would be applied to the entire surface of the tree. What the oil does is it essentially smothers the mite eggs or the scale or the wooly apple aphids.

You can use some other sprays, copper being one of them, lime sulfur would be another, and also neem oil and Karanja oil which are seed oils from trees in India have also become very popular. They act differently than horticultural petroleum oils and they actually have some added benefits for the health of the tree, but in the dormant season, those are the basic options that we're dealing with to help with these overwintering insects and disease pressures.

When would you need to use copper spray on apple trees?

MB: Well, so copper is very good against bacterial diseases like fireblight or bacterial canker. It's also a good fungal protector, but it's much better as a bacterial treatment. Lime sulfur is much better as a fungal treatment. So, if you have a history of fireblight in your orchard or if you've had a history of fungal infections in your orchard, you may opt for one of the other as a prophylactic. You certainly could apply both and at the appropriate rate. You could kind of cover all bases.

What is fireblight?

MB: Fire blight is a bacterial disease. It's of worldwide significance in pome fruit, which is primarily apples and pears, but it also can infect hawthorn and raspberries and other plants in the Rosaceae family. The scientific term is Erwinia amylovora. It was originally identified first and we think that it actually started in the Hudson Valley of New York. So that's our little gift to the planet.

And fireblight is a bacterial disease that actually moves systemically or in the vascular system of the plant. The most important point of entry is through the blossoms in the spring, but you can also get infections through leaves or branches say after a hailstorm or a heavy windstorm. So it can enter through any type of opening in the tree itself, but again, the most important entry point is in the spring time during bloom when it can enter through the flowers.

And then once fireblight starts to spread systemically, it not only could kill the flower, but it can kill the spur, which is what the fruit bud is born on. It can infect the branch, and in very severe cases, it can actually kill the tree. And there's some varieties which are much more susceptible to fireblight than others, and there are some apple rootstocks which are much more susceptible to fireblight than others.


What is neem oil? When would you spray apple trees with neem oil?  

MB: Neem is a very interesting material to use. Pure neem oil originates from the neem tree in India, and in its unadulterated shape it has the consistency of peanut butter and it doesn't begin to liquefy until it gets up above 60 degrees or so.

And so, what's happened is that manufacturers of horticultural products have started to strip out some of the constituents that create this very viscous texture at low temperatures. And what's left are products that are not referred to as neem strictly, but as Azadirachtin. And there are a number of different Azadirachtin products that are out on the market. Some are consumer, some are more commercial products.

What are the benefits of neem oil when spraying apple trees?

MB: Neem oil brings a number of properties with it. Of course you get the oil. So like a horticultural petroleum oil, you're going to get the smothering effect on mite eggs and scale and the like.

You also get a number of constituents, fatty acids being one of them, that are really important for feeding the microbiome that's on the surface of that tree. And that's a good way to help build the biological robustness of the orchard that provides additional protective benefits to get benefits against diseases and insect invasions as well.

You also have this very interesting insect growth regulator characteristic from neem. Neem helps to debilitate and slow the development of overwintering insects that are on the tree.

So, with neem oil you get three primary benefits. You get the oil, which is an insecticidal. You get the fatty acids which feed the microbiome on the tree. And you get the insect growth regulating properties that help to reduce the success rate of certain insect species that might be overwintering on the tree.

When is the best time to spray apple trees during the dormant season?

MB: When it comes to oils or copper and lime sulfur, if those products are applied when there's foliage on the tree, you can get what's called phytotoxicity. So you can get damaged or burning of the leaves. And if it's even later than that, you could potentially get burning of flowers or roughening of the fruit.

And so, if you know that you have a mite problem or a scale problem, you need to apply those materials earlier in the dormant season. Maybe in mid-March, mid to late March or so. At that time, you can apply them in a higher rate and have a greater impact on those pest species populations.

The sooner we get to that bud swell, bud break, and what we call green tip, which is when you start to see the very, very first hints of green tissue emerge, we need to reduce the rates so that we don't cause any phytotoxicity problems in the tree itself.

And so, by reducing the rates once the buds start to break, we're obviously going to have less efficacy against some of those insects and disease pests. But as well, those pests are starting to wake up and they become more susceptible. So, there's a little bit of a sweet spot.

I don't like to recommend applying anything too early in the dormant season. I also don't want to apply it too late because then we have to reduce the rates too much. So somewhere right around what we call delayed dormant. So just as the buds start to swell, but before there's that green tissue, that's really the sweet spot of when you want to apply these for the most efficacy.

Half Inch Green is a phenological stage in apple tree bud and blossom development that signifies the beginning of the flower swelling up and emerging from the bud. Photo credit Jeff Nielsen.

when to spray apple trees: blossom time

What is happening in the tree at blossom time?

MB: When it comes to apple trees, the flowers that see in the spring were developed last June and July. So they've been sitting in the tree benefiting from the growth. When the tree starts to grow in the spring, that tissue will begin to differentiate into the various flower parts.

Now, if you have a compound microscope, you can see this at the various stages, but for your average backyard gardener, you're really not going to start to see the beginnings of the flower until what we call “half inch green”, which is a phenological stage. And at that stage, you can start to see the flower really begin to swell up. And it looks different from vegetative buds, which don't have any flowers attached to them simply because it's just bigger and plumper.

Tight cluster is a phenological stage in apple bud and blossom development. Photo credit: Jeff Nielsen.

And the next stage after that is going to be a stage that we call “tight cluster”. And at that point, the leaves have started to unfold and the flower parts have pushed open. Now, it's still not a viable flower. It can't be pollinated. It can't begin to develop fruit because it's not fully differentiated. But depending on the weather, that could be anywhere from a week to two weeks when we start to get the first open blossoms. And that's when the petals and the sepals of the flowers start to open up and you can see the pistils and the anthers, which are the fruit bearing and pollen parts of the flower that are inside of it. When you start to see the flowers open it’s called “bloom time.”

If possible, it's better to avoid spraying apple trees during full bloom time as you can damage the blossoms and your chances of your tree producing fruit.

So, bloom time is when this first blossom start to open. The petals are open. The flower can be pollinated. Fertilization can take place. Fruit development can begin. And then full bloom is when 90% of the flowers are open. And then bloom time ends.

Bloom time will depend on the weather. So, if it's really hot and dry and windy, it could be over in a matter of days.  Or if it's relatively cool and the weather is very nice, that bloom period can last anywhere from two and even up to three weeks long. But once it's over, the flower will shed those petals. And that period, that phenological stage is what we call “petal fall”. At that point, we can really start to see the receptacle in the flower begin to expand and we can see the very first beginnings of fruit development.

When can you spray apple trees during bloom time?

MB: It's best if you can avoid spraying anything during bloom time because the flowers are delicate. If you spray the wrong thing - or spray the right thing at the wrong time - you can damage those flowers and really have a serious impact on your ability to grow a crop of apples.

Now, that said, there are a number of insects and diseases that need to be considered and that growers need to be aware of because they can be particularly nasty during the bloom period, fireblight being one of them. At bloom time the tree is at its peak susceptibility for fireblight.

And insect pests. Probably the most nefarious is the European apple sawfly, which can infest the flower.  If the female lays her egg at the base of the flower below the petals, you get this larval development which kills it. Oriental fruit moth can be another pest at this time though it's not necessarily as serious as European apple sawfly.

So, if you can avoid spraying things, that's best, but you also need to be aware that there are things that can impact your apple crop and you may need to spray either right before full bloom or in the case of fireblight, sometimes you need to spray during full bloom.

Fire blight is a bacterial disease that spreads in apple and pear trees. The branch die back from the tips and look scorched.

What sprays would prevent the spread of fireblight in apple trees?

MB: There are a number of options. Now, we talked about spraying copper during dormancy. There are copper sprays that you can apply during bloom, but they're not the same copper formulation that you would use during the dormant season. So they're going to be safer to use against the flowers. And the copper itself is a bactericide. It helps to reduce the bacteria that are on the surface of the flower particularly, but on the plant overall and can reduce the potential for infection. Bonide makes a copper spray which is a copper octanoate, a 10% solution. And if you used according to the label, it can successfully reduce your chances for getting fireblight.

Another product that I like to use is Double Nickel. There are a variety of off-the-shelf products, but Double Nickel itself is a combination of two bacillus organisms, bacillus subtilis, otherwise known as Serenade, and bacillus amyloliquefaciens, which is known by a number of different trade names.

Even though it's considered to be a fungicide, those two bacillus species are bacterial suppressants. So they may not kill the bacteria outright in the way that copper will, but they'll reduce the ability of that bacteria to grow and be successful on the surface of the plant.

And so if you've got a potential for fireblight infection, you can apply a light rate of copper and a light rate of these bacillus organisms to help reduce the Erwinia bacteria that's on the surface of the plant.

There are also some other more biologically driven options that are out there. One is called Blossom Protect, and these are yeasts and beneficial fungi. They'll grow just like any other type of microorganism well but they're beneficial in that they can act as bacterial suppressants. They can also out-compete territorially on the surface of the plant so that the Erwinia just doesn't have a chance to ever grow to any dangerous level.

Once the fruit sets on apple trees, the summer season has begun. At this point summer insects and diseases begin to emerge and a new spraying strategy is necessary. Photo credit: Jeff Nielsen.

when to spray apple trees: Summer Season

What are some summer sprays for fruit trees?

The first 10 to 12 weeks of the season, from dormant until petal fall, is when we're seeing everything start to waken up and be present in the orchard. After petal fall and during those initial fruit growth stages is when we're starting to see more of the summer insects and diseases that come out.

Now, they're going to be different than the early season insects and diseases. Some will be the same, but the intensity from an organic standpoint tends to go down a little bit. You still need to be vigilant but it goes down a little bit.

And you can be fairly regimented in your approach. You can use granulosis for codling moths. DiPel or any bacillus thuringiensis product can be used to help control other larval organisms like oblique-banded leafroller, green fruitworms, oriental fruit moth, codling moths to some degree. And then there's also Entrust or Spinosad insecticide which is also an important part of that overall rotation.

When those are used in conjunction with a kaolin clay product like Surround, they can provide a very robust insect control program and keep everything at fairly low levels. When you get later into the season, and again, depending on where you are, it could be mid-July to early August, you're going to see something come out called apple maggot fly. And those can be controlled organically using red sticky spheres and lures and just trapping them out. But Entrust or a Spinosad insecticide and Surround will also keep any potential apple maggot problems at a fairly low level.

One final product that's out there are the pyrethrins or pyrethroids. PyGanic is probably the most common or popular of the organic pyrethroids products that are out there. They tend not to be as powerful as Spinosad, but when used in a rotational perspective, they can also provide a lot of protection against some insect, pests, aphids, leafhoppers, that kind of stuff.

And then from a disease control standpoint, unless there's specific issues that somebody is dealing with, again, I go back to the bacillus products plus a copper every 10 to 14 days throughout the growing season just to provide some fungal protection.

When would you use horticultural oil spray on apple trees during the summer season?

MB: There are some very highly refined horticultural oils. One brand's product is called JMS Flowers. I believe they're out of Florida, but it's fairly common on the market. It's a very clean horticultural oil that doesn't have the potential for phytotoxicity, again, unless it's misused, but it can provide some benefits for piercing-sucking insects like leafhoppers and aphids and mites. You can get some control with it during the summer. So horticultural oils or refined horticultural oil or a stylet oil as we call it can be also used in rotation with those other products.

Download More Information about Fruit Tree Spray Schedules Here

For more information on fruit tree spray schedules, you can download Mike’s Biointensive Orchard Guidelines PDF here.

Susan Poizner

Director, OrchardPeople.com Fruit Tree Care Education Online

Susan Poizner is an urban orchardist in Toronto, Canada and the author of Grow Fruit Trees Fast and Growing Urban Orchards. Susan trains new growers worldwide through her award-winning fruit tree care training program at Orchardpeople. com. Susan is also the host of The Urban Forestry Radio Show and Podcast and an ISA Certified Arborist.

How to spray fruit trees in spring against diseases and pests 2022

Spring is the time when not only plants in the garden wake up from hibernation, but also harmful insects, pathogens of various dangerous diseases. In order to prevent their appearance and save the garden, as well as get a healthy, good harvest from it, it is important to know how to properly carry out spring treatment of plants from pests and diseases.

Why spring spraying of the garden is important

Timely and properly carried out spraying of trees in the spring is the most effective way to get rid of diseases and pests. Insect larvae, mold spores, and other pathogens hibernate inside the bark of fruit and berry bushes and trees or in the foliage under them. When hibernation passes, the tree awakens to life, the air temperature becomes acceptable, and all pests also begin their activities. Therefore, it is important to act in early spring, when they have not yet begun the breeding process, before their numbers become threatening. In addition, during this period, fruit trees and shrubs do not bloom yet, they have no or little foliage, so the risk of damage to the plant itself is much lower than in summer or autumn.

What tools are used to treat trees

Spraying of fruit trees and shrubs is carried out by various means. Take into account the characteristics of the garden, its location, the susceptibility of trees to certain diseases. Perhaps there are some trees that are especially fond of insects, while others are very quickly overgrown with lichens. But in any case, there are tools that are used to control pests and diseases in most gardens:

  1. Nitrofen. They treat trunks, large branches and spray the soil under the tree. So you can get rid of the larvae of harmful insects and prevent the growth of lichens. Nitrofen is used strictly until the first leaves appear, as this remedy will burn them.
  2. Copper sulfate. Disinfects trunks and large branches of fruit trees and shrubs. It can be used if there are wounds on the plants: it will help to tighten them.
  3. Iron vitriol. Helps to remove moss and lichens, and fights other diseases. Increases the immunity of the tree, helps it resist pests.
  4. Urea. Protects against fungal infections, scab. It is also a good fertilizer for all garden crops.

There are also many complex preparations that help fight several types of pests or diseases at once. Bordeaux mixture (3%), Hom, Oksikhom, Rayok, Skor, Horus, Pharma Yod, Abiga Peak protect against diseases. Fufanon, Tanrek, Iskra, Inta-Vir, Kinmiks, Fitoverm, Decis Profi, etc. work against insects.

What means can be combined with spring processing can be found on the packaging of chemicals. Usually, drugs against woody infectious or fungal diseases are not mixed during the first spring spraying, one is chosen. In the third treatment, if the problem persists, you can mix, but be sure to read the manufacturer's instructions so as not to harm the plants.

When to start spraying

Typically spring spraying is carried out in four stages. The beginning of processing varies from year to year, since the main condition for the fight is dry weather with temperatures above freezing at night. Precipitation, strong temperature fluctuations, very high humidity and fog significantly reduce the effectiveness of any garden treatment.

Before the initial spraying, it is important to clean up the garden in order:

  • remove with a rake and burn the old foliage, as larvae and pathogens can overwinter in it;
  • dig up the soil in tree trunks;
  • mechanically, with a brush, remove lichen deposits, insect nests from trunks;
  • clean large cracks and hollows, if possible, make "fillings" in them;
  • cut off damaged branches and shoots;
  • if there are stumps on the site, uproot them as pests may nest there;
  • whitewash the trunks.

It is very important to clean all places where pests and pathogens can potentially hide before spraying. First of all, you need to inspect each fruit tree, remove cracked bark, plaque, lichens. If there are diseased branches or shoots thickening the crown, they must be removed. All waste after such processing, as well as fallen leaves, must be destroyed, it is best to burn. When processing, it is necessary to pay attention to shrubs - they also get sick and can become a source of infection for the entire garden. And most often diseases affect gooseberry and currant bushes.

Whitewashing the garden is usually done in the fall, but if for some reason you didn’t, you can whitewash the trees in early spring. You need to whitewash the trunk and lower branches: this way you protect them from burns and destroy the larvae of pests that can winter inside.

After cleaning the garden and whitewashing the trees, before spraying, you need to dig up the ground in tree trunks. Due to this, disinfectant solutions will get inside and spread better through the soil in order to destroy pathogens that are in the soil. It is possible, after spraying the trees, to spray the compounds on the ground: this reduces the risk of the appearance and spread of infections, and the resistance of trees to diseases increases.

First spray

Produced on a bare tree, that is, before the buds swell. During this period, trees are susceptible to fungus spores, which begin to actively spread throughout the garden. It is important to treat them from moniliosis and scab. It is not yet necessary to spray with insecticides - these pests are not yet active.

Second treatment

It is also called "green cone" spraying. It is carried out after the buds swell, but before the leaves appear: the buds are cone-shaped and are about to bloom. At this time, plants are affected by flower beetles that feed on juice and lay larvae inside the buds. There is an urgent need for pesticides now.

Third spray

It is called the "pink bud", but it is important to understand that this spraying of fruit trees in the spring is carried out strictly BEFORE the buds open. This time is the period of activity of the codling moth. The insect infects the buds, lays larvae in them, which is why the fruits turn out to be wormy. It is necessary to spray the entire crown of the tree very carefully to protect the crop. At the same stage, berry crops are protected. You can also re-treat fruit trees and shrubs for diseases, but it is advisable to wait a couple of days between treatments for insects and diseases. The order of spraying does not matter.

Fourth treatment

After the appearance of the fruit ovary, the last spring treatment from diseases and pests is carried out. At this time, codling moths are active, and the second stage of plant damage by fungal moniliosis begins. It is important not to delay the last treatment, since all formulations have a validity period of a week to a month. Protecting the trees once they reach fruiting stage will render the crop unfit for human consumption.



Each gardener himself determines the time of spraying trees. The main thing is to choose the optimal set of tools, check their compatibility and the possibility of using for specific crops. When protecting the garden from diseases in the spring, it is important to follow the stages of processing: protect the trees with one or another chemical preparation until the buds ripen, until they are fully opened, and before flowering and fruiting begin. This is necessary so as not to harm pollinating insects and not make the crop toxic.

Spraying should be carried out carefully: treat the crown, branches, trunk on all sides, leaving no areas where fungus, mosses, lichens, larvae, insects can continue to develop.

To process fruit trees, you will need special equipment, for example, professional sprayers. They are especially needed for processing tall and sprawling trees, plants with a lush crown.

You can spray a garden or summer cottage in the spring on your own, or you can also contact our company Liwood. Here you can order the service of processing the garden and garden plants from pests and diseases. Our experts will select effective products and carry out spraying carefully, accurately and without harm to the surrounding plantings, buildings, water bodies, people. Learn more about this by calling us by phone or leaving a request on the site.

A solution of marigolds helps well. For cooking, you need 0.5 buckets of dry inflorescences, pour 10 liters of water, leave for 48 hours, strain, add 50 g of soap, you can spray the plants.

Another recipe consists of 10 liters of water, 50 g of laundry soap and 12 drops of kerosene, plants are treated with this solution twice, an interval of 10 days.

spring treatment of trees than to spray fruit trees

In early spring, gardeners begin their first troubles: along with the preparation of seeds, it is necessary to put the garden itself in order. It would be quite simple if all the fuss before the first plantings was associated exclusively with the collection of garbage, last year's leaves and pruning of dry branches. However, with the arrival of warmth and the awakening of the garden, problems also come to life: insects and pathogens. It is they who give amateur summer residents the maximum amount of trouble associated with damage to fruit trees and other plantings. Therefore, in the spring, processing the garden from pests becomes a paramount task for those who want to get a good harvest.

Why are the apples and pears we buy in the store almost perfect? Is it possible to achieve the same result in the country? The fact is that on an industrial scale, the processing of fruit trees from pests and diseases is carried out 10–20 times. Yes, the harvest is beautiful, but it can hardly be called environmentally friendly. I would like to grow natural fruits and berries on my own plot, so there is no need to process it so often.

Why garden care is needed

Pests and diseases cause a lot of trouble to the owners of garden plots, weakening fruit trees and shrubs, reducing their decorative effect and productivity. Early spring (and each subsequent) treatment of horticultural crops with chemicals allows, if not completely getting rid of harmful insects and dangerous diseases, then minimizing their harmful effects. In professional farms, several sprayings per season may be performed. Such measures are fully justified, since prevention is always better than the fight against already spread pests or neglected diseases, especially when it comes to the yield or health of garden trees.

Major garden threats

Insect pests.

Insects that harm horticultural crops are divided into two groups:

  • sucking. These pests feed on the succulent parts of shoots, leaves, stalks. The representative of this group - aphid - affects fruit trees (apricot, plum, apple, cherry) and berry bushes. Insufficiently moist soil contributes to the spread of scale insects, which cover the entire tree and stick to the bark. The hot season creates favorable conditions for the life of representatives of arachnids - spider mites, whose larvae feed on leaf sap;

  • gnawing, which include leafworm caterpillars. These insects eat flower buds, leaves, creating clumps of cobwebs. Pest eggs overwinter on the upper part of the bark, as well as on the lower parts of the branches of shrubs. The leaf roller appears in the spring for 35 days, after which it turns into a chrysalis and then into a butterfly.

Plant diseases

Mushroom. Depending on food sources, fungi may be parasitic or saprophytic. The former receive nutrition only from living plants, the latter (which are the majority) under certain conditions are able to develop on the remains of vegetation or even in the soil. There are also fungi that usually live in the soil or on dead plant debris, but under unfavorable conditions, they can also infect living plants. They are called facultative or optional parasites.

Bacterial. All bacteria that cause plant diseases are rod-shaped. They reproduce by simple division. Bacteria are single, connected in pairs or in the form of chains. Some of them have flagella polar or peritrichous. The most common bacterial pathogens in horticultural crops are Pseudomonas, Xanthomonas, Alpanobacterium and Corynebacterium. An intermediate position between fungi and bacteria is occupied by actinomycetes, or radiant fungi.

Viral. Viruses are tiny pathogens that reproduce only in living plant (or animal) cells. There are rod-shaped, filamentous, rounded, spherical and spiral viruses. They multiply very rapidly in living cells of susceptible plants or in their isolated tissues growing in artificial nutrient media. Viruses are spread by various insect vectors (eg aphids) and during plant grafting and inoculation.

Non-infectious. Diseases caused by adverse environmental factors, such as high or low temperature, lack or excess of moisture and nutrients, unsatisfactory physical and chemical composition of the soil, the presence of harmful impurities in the air, etc. , are called non-infectious. The peculiarity of these diseases is that they are not transmitted from a diseased plant to a healthy one. Their course can be suspended by eliminating the impact of an unfavorable factor. Signs of such diseases can be wilting and discoloration of the leaves, reduced yields, inhibition of plant development, etc.

Spring pest control

Many harmful garden insects spend the winter under the bark of trees and shrubs, as well as among the leaves and humus. As soon as the daily temperature begins to consistently stay above 0 ˚С, they wake up and begin their active life. Therefore, it is important to carry out all the main activities for treating the garden from pests in the spring: their activity is still at a low level after hibernation, and therefore it is necessary to have time to eliminate the threat to fruit trees and horticultural crops as much as possible.

Stages of tree processing in spring

Experts distinguish the following stages of spring processing of trees:

  1. In early spring on a bare tree, before bud break.
  2. On the green cone - when the kidneys are just swollen.
  3. During the rosebud phase, before flowering.
  4. After flowering, during the appearance of fruit ovaries.

When planning how you will process, consider the condition of the trees. What diseases have plagued the garden in recent years? What were the neighbors complaining about? How did the trees survive the winter? When it comes to spraying your garden, pick a morning or evening when the sun isn't at full strength and won't interfere with spraying.

Garbage and plant debris removal. As already mentioned, a large number of insect larvae hibernate in plant remains. Therefore, for a more effective fight against them, it is necessary to carry out cleaning on the site after the snow melts with the burning of garbage. Branches of trees and bushes must be cleared of snow and ice.

Bare wood processing

As soon as the snow melts in your region, and the thermometer will steadily show +5 during the day, it's time to start recreational activities in the garden. At this time, the kidneys are still sleeping, but the spores of fungal diseases can already spread, and the eggs and insect larvae are just waiting for warming under the bark of trees. It's time to get rid of pests!

Tree inspection and cleaning

Carefully inspect all fruit. While the tree is “sleeping” and sap flow has not begun, cut off the branches that are broken and dead during the winter, remove the shoots that thicken the crown. Clean the trunks of cracked bark, lichen and unnatural plaque. Burn the resulting waste, mummified fruits and last year's foliage. They may contain disease spores and insects. Don't overlook the bushes. Powdery mildew can be found on gooseberries, and kidney mites often start on currants. Feel free to cut diseased branches and burn them. At the same time, carry out the necessary treatment if the bark has become a treat for rodents in winter. Clean the damage site, then treat it with a 1% solution of copper sulfate and garden pitch.

Tree whitewashing

Agronomists recommend whitewashing trees in the fall - this protects the bark from burns, temperature changes and kills pest larvae that have settled inside. If for some reason you did not have time to do this, start whitewashing in early spring. You can use the ready-made mixture of "Garden whitewash" from the company "August". It is necessary to whitewash not only the trunk of the tree, but also the lower branches.

Trunk circle machining

Digging the soil in the near-stem circles of trees in spring is an effective way to control insect pests. With the help of disinfection, pathogens that harm the growth and development of horticultural crops are destroyed. If the soil is periodically sprayed with solutions of special agents, this will help reduce the risk of infections and increase the resistance of plants to adverse environmental factors.

What affects the frequency of processing

Agronomists agree that the processing of trees in the spring should be carried out in 4 stages. It is impossible to give exact dates, but they can be determined based on several criteria:

  • weather;
  • plant development phase;
  • the period of distribution of the main pests and diseases.

It is important not to be late so as not to miss the time when processing is most effective. The first insects crawl out of hibernation quite early, at 5-6 degrees Celsius.

How to treat a tree in spring

It is necessary to start spraying trees in spring at a temperature of +4 ° C before bud break. The first treatment is aimed at the destruction of pests in dormant phases. In an unfavorable environment with pests, Prophylactin is used, containing a reinforced formula, or Prophylactin LIGHT, a mineral oil-based insecticide that is suitable for ecological farming. It is desirable to process fruit trees and shrubs in the morning, in calm weather. Do not spare the means - spray the plants abundantly. Start the process from the crown, then spray the branches of the tree, the trunk and the ground around. There are some rules:

  • it is better to process fruits and bushes before 10 am or after 6 pm,
  • should be sufficiently dry, in which case the preparations will be more effective,
  • avoid windy days.

Green cone spray

Pest control. In the green cone phase, when the buds are already bursting, but the leaves have not yet appeared, the plant can infect the apple flower beetle. This insect, which is also called the weevil, gnaws the bud from the inside - as a result, it dies and does not bloom. The flower beetle can destroy the entire crop, but it can be defeated: a high-quality insecticide will help to cope with the insect. "Biotlin" is a remedy with a complex action, protecting both from the flower beetle and from different types of aphids. Processing before flowering will help prevent the death of the crop. Its important advantages are the speed of action and the lack of addiction in insects.

Treatment for diseases. Plants, in turn, will be able to protect modern systemic and contact preparations from diseases:

  • Bordeaux liquid. It will help to cope with different types of spotting, fruit rot or scab. It has a contact action, that is, it works on the surfaces it hits. Supplied in liquid form and diluted with water;
  • "Raek". This is a systemic preparation that will protect the tree from scab and dangerous powdery mildew. It works for a long time, it works both as a prevention and as a treatment. "Raek" does not harm the fruits and does not cause damage to the crop.

Mixing different products is not recommended, but for complex protection it is better to use several drugs at once. They should be processed on different days.

Processing in the bud separation phase

During the isolation of the buds, the plant, in addition to diseases, can be pestered by caterpillars. Hawthorn can cause serious damage to a tree that has entered this stage. The caterpillar of this butterfly eats the leaves of the plant and the buds, interfering with the normal development of the tree. If the pest is not defeated in the spring, by the time the crop is received, it can cause serious damage. Leafworms are no less dangerous: they eat the leaves of fruit trees. Get rid of caterpillars in the early stages will help the drug "Herold": it does not allow eggs and larvae to develop, as a result, the pest dies. An important advantage of "Herold" is safety for beneficial insects, in particular bees. Raek will still be able to protect against diseases at this stage. It is better to start processing a tree with this drug at the previous stage, at this stage spraying continues - so the tool can provide reliable protection and prevention.

Spraying in the rosebud phase

The kidneys at this stage are put forward, but have not yet fully opened, acquire a peculiar pink hue. Diseases can annoy a tree: scab, powdery mildew. To ensure reliable prevention of these ailments or to cure existing ones, spraying with the Raek preparation should be continued. It quickly penetrates into the tissues of the tree, while not damaging the crop and does not cause the appearance of a "net" on the fruit. After 2 hours, the product is not washed off with water. The systemic preparation provides protection to the leaves and fruits.

Spring garden preparations

"Prophylactin". Suitable for protecting trees and shrubs in early spring. Its main advantage is its early validity - already at +4 ˚С. Many drugs are not ready to act at such a low temperature, enabling pests to fully restore their vital activity after hibernation. An important point is the need for processing before bud break. As part of "Prophylactin" - two active substances: the first is responsible for the supply of oxygen to insects. This is achieved through the formation of a protective film on the trunks and branches, and the second is responsible for the destruction of insects at any stage of hibernation. Thanks to this, the drug is able to remove the most adapted pests, such as suckers, leafworms, scale insects and others. It should be noted that the ready-made solution should be used immediately after preparation, since it is not intended for storage. When preparing, follow the instructions, which also describe all consumption rates.

"Prophylactin® LIGHT". Mineral oil formulation. It is used for early spring (at a temperature not lower than +4 ° C) processing of trees, before bud break. Effectively fights against the hibernating stages of mites, aphids, suckers, scale insects, false scale insects, leafworms, moths.

"Bordeaux liquid". The preparation is intended for the treatment of garden plants in early spring. Its main advantage is the simple preliminary preparation before use. This makes it easy to use even for beginners. Treatment with the drug must be carried out along the "green cone" when the tip of the leaf is shown from the kidney. "Bordeaux liquid" allows you to protect plants from coccomycosis, fruit rot, scab, moniliosis, columnar rust and other diseases. The company "August" produces "Bordeaux Liquid" in the form of a water-suspension concentrate. This eliminates the need to independently prepare a complex solution based on copper sulfate. As a result, the proportions of the constituent substances are not violated, which is important for the effective action of the drug and the safety of plants. The agent also does not clog the nozzles of sprayers, which is its additional advantage. It is important to remember that "Bordeaux liquid" is a fungicide, therefore, when working with the drug, it is imperative to observe personal safety measures. You need to start processing during the so-called “green cone” phase - from the moment buds and leaf edges appear on the branches. This need is due to the active vital activity of pathogenic organisms, which are especially aggressive at this time. The effect of the drug begins approximately two hours after treatment, it must be carried out in dry and calm weather. If necessary, plants can be sprayed throughout the growing season. It is worth remembering that subsequent processing is carried out at a lower concentration of the drug. Subject to all necessary standards, the drug does not have a harmful effect on plants and their fruits.

Rayok®. The drug effectively protects horticultural crops from a number of diseases, including scab and powdery mildew. Due to the systemic action, the agent quickly penetrates into the tissues of plants in which pathogens overwintered. "Rayok®" is able not only to prevent the reproduction of the pathogen, but also to weaken the infection, if the first symptoms have already appeared. Within 2 hours after use, the preparation is not washed off by rain, which is very important in the spring, when the first treatment is carried out. A total of 4 treatments per season are required.

Batrider®. The composition of the drug includes the three most effective active ingredients of different directions today. This allows one treatment to destroy the majority of common pests, including apple beetle, different types of scale insects, aphids, thrips, leafworms, scoops, whites, moths, cruciferous flea beetles, weevils, etc. Batrider® is used both for preventive purposes and and when pests are found. For example, before flowering, you can perform preventive treatment of fruit trees from apple beetles and aphids, and berry bushes from leafworms.

Spray features

There are certain features of processing plants of different types. So, spraying an adult fruit tree, as a rule, takes a large volume of working solution. The sprayer must be powerful enough to grab the top of the canopy. Fine spraying may be ineffective, because the active substance will evaporate before it gets on the leaves. A young plant can be sprayed from a conventional spray gun; 1–1.5 liters of solution is spent on a tree or shrub. Old bushes are most often sprawling, with a large number of shoots. First of all, they should be cut, removing dried and diseased branches. Then, in order to spend less solution, the shoots can be collected in a "mock", tied and processed, but so as not to break off the branches.

Plant protection after flowering

Pest protection. When the flowering period is over, the gardener's task is to continue to protect the plant from disease. The fruits that have begun to ripen and begin to ripen are a delicacy for pests. For example, the caterpillar of the codling moth, a butterfly that lays its eggs on the leaves and fruits of trees. When the caterpillar hatches, it eats a hole in the fruit pulp, settles in the seed chamber, where it feeds on seeds. This pest remains the cause of a huge amount of agricultural marriage: wormy apples, familiar to everyone, are the result of the actions of the codling moth. Get rid of the caterpillars and prevent them from eating the crop will help "Herold", the drug already described above. As with spring treatment, the product destroys caterpillars and insect eggs. Long-term effect allows you to protect the plant for a long period of time.

Disease protection. The already mentioned "Raek" will help protect the tree from diseases at this stage. The absence of a harmful effect on the fruit makes the drug easy to use for fruit plants. Good effect on the condition of the tree and its other features: the ability to protect leaves, systemic action. It gets inside the plant and works from the inside.

Means against diseases and pests from "August" are thought out in such a way as to reliably protect the garden and not harm the fruits.

Preventive treatment with special preparations

There are a large number of insecticidal products on the market today, but most of them have a common problem: they begin to act only when the air temperature is stable above 10 ° C. This is a period of active development of leaves and a flowering garden. At this point, the pests become more active, as they have enough food, and, therefore, it becomes more difficult to control the process of their life. For this, there are special preparations produced by our company. In particular, such drugs include "Prophylactin", which protects plants during the dormant phase of insects (at an air temperature of +4 ˚С), as well as Bordeaux liquid, which is used to protect plants from diseases.


Learn more