What pest prevention/treatment should I do in Seattle

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What pest prevention/treatment should I do in Seattle

Post by Norwest »


Spring is near and cherry trees are beginning to bloom so I have started thinking about my garden. I planted a Gravestein and a couple of Dutch cider apple trees a year ago and i just bought a bare root Orange Pippin. What treatments if any should I do to prevent pests/disease? I prefer to garden organically so I would like to avoid synthetic pesticides. Is it too late to apply dormant oil (Seattle)?


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Re: What pest prevention/treatment should I do in Seattle

Post by PA_Docent »

Before any of the buds break, I plan to spray dormant oil to smother insect eggs. Painting the lower portion of the trunk will prevent damage to the wood over the winter (spliting because of sun scald). also, painting the circumference of the trunk near the ground with a sticky substance will keep the ants and aphids from attacking the trees. I used the red sticky balls with success last year to capture flying insects that destroy the fruit. I also use nets to keep the birds from eating any fruit. Those are the "organic" remedies I use.

I have heard using ladies nylon stockings over the developing fruit will keep most sucking bugs off the fruit but the nylon is not an organic substance.
Chuck Rhode
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Re: What pest prevention/treatment should I do in Seattle

Post by Chuck Rhode »

The nylon mesh you mention is called Maggot Barriers:
I've used these and believe they work well. You wait for fruit set and then go through the orchard, thinning by hand. If you thin your apples chemically, then probably Maggot Barriers are not for you; they are for backyard gardeners who can spare the expense and who consider their own time a sunk cost, too. After thinning, you apply the barriers by rolling them up like a sock and slipping one over each fruitlet. You can tuck the open end around the branch in a sort of loose knot. From this brief description you may conclude:
  • This is a two-handed job.
  • This is tedious.
  • This is time consuming.
  • The fruitlets have to have some size before the barriers will hold them.
  • You are going to break the stems on a lot of fruitlets, but, hey, thinning is good, right?
  • There is a window of opportunity for pests to attack the fruitlets before you can get around to applying the barriers.
... so they don't eliminate the need for at least one insecticide application at petal fall.

In years past and around here (Sheboygan, WI) the biggest issues seem to be coddling moths, apple maggots, and plum curculios. The barriers are proof against maggots and curculios. Apparently a few enterprising coddling moths can manage to get past them, probably by attacking the stem end of the fruit through barriers that are not closed properly. The curculios are out early, though, and the fruit is scarcely big enough for the barriers to be applied before they are doing their dirty work. Coddling moths are an early scourge, too, but I believe the maggots were out unusually early last year. All these pests have multiple flights per season and so present a persistent threat until sometime before frost when their breeding seasons close. Sprays can knock down populations early in the season, but, if you are gardening in a small plot among other small plots, you are likely to be reinfected periodically. The barriers do eliminate the need for further insecticide applications once they are deployed. Fungicides are still necessary of course.

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