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Peach tree with ripe fruit

Fruit Tree Q&A, Part I

Fruit Tree Questions? We Have Answers.

Now that fruit trees are starting to produce fruit, we're getting questions. Our garden gurus have some advice for fruit tree growers in our area.

Part I of our Fruit Tree Q&A series answers customer questions about pests and disease.
Fruit Tree Q&A Part II offers advice on general care.

If you have more questions, stop by the nursery, send us an email, or reach out on social. It’s always helpful when you have photos to show us. We want you to be successful in your garden.

Did you miss our Fruit Tree Q&A, Part II?
Fruit Tree Q&A, Part II

Q. Do you have any suggestions for keeping squirrels from eating all our apples before they’re ripe?

A. Squirrels are definitely a challenge with fruit trees of all types. If your fruit trees are close to other landscape trees, it makes it even more challenging. Try wrapping the trunk with a thick, polypropylene tree trunk wrap, which is a very slippery product that prevents squirrels from digging their claws into the bark to climb. Nylon squirrel spikes, much like bird spikes, are harmless to animals, but are irritating to them. Both of these can be effective deterrents. Keeping any fruit off the ground near your trees is also essential.

Q. What are some natural solutions to help keep the bugs off my fruit trees? They are eating all my good fruit!

A. Depending on the pests, we recommend the use of a few different options.

For scale insects, apple aphids, red spider mites, leaf miner, peach leaf curl, brown rot and more, your best course of action is preemptive. Follow our Dormant Spray Guide to treat pests on citrus, fruit, nuts and vegetables. If you missed the timely applications of dormant sprays, Captain Jack's Dead Bug Brew® will help to control most of the pest you may encounter.

For codling moth or citrus leafminer use traps or Captain Jack's Dead Bug Brew®.

Be sure to carefully follow the labels on all products.

Q. My Asian pears get blacks spots on the the leaves and fruit. How can I fix this?

A. Pears are one of the most prone to black spot, also known as leaf blight, caused by a fungus. This disease usually appears late in the growing season, but can develop in mid- to late May and early June, as well. Black spot attacks leaves, fruit and the twigs of pear trees, and once established, it is usually difficult to control. To help keep this problem away, it is essential to follow our Dormant Spray Guide from late November through early April. It is also important to remove fallen leaves as soon as possible because overwintering infected leaves allows spores of the fungus to easily spread by splashing rain and wind in the spring.

Be sure to carefully follow the labels on all products.

Q. How do we protect our remaining apricots from the birds? They survived the wind!

A. Birds are always on the search for food, and one of the best ways we have found to keep birds away from fruit is reflective tape ribbons, tied in one foot lengths throughout the tree. These ribbons move with the slightest breeze, startling birds and keeping them at bay.

Q. I have a green apple tree that is loaded with fruit but they are all infested with moths. I’ve tried the moth traps, along with cleaning away any apples that fall from the tree, but I’m not noticing any improvement. Please help!

A. Apples are often invaded by codling moths, if not treated during the winter months. Prevention is key with this hard-to-kill insect. To prevent codling moths on apples, pears, crabapples, walnuts, and stone fruits, we recommend a combination of tactics.
  • During fall and winter months, check the trunk and branches thoroughly for cocoons, removing and destroying any that you find. The cocoons are often found under loose bark, damaged wood, and in orchard litter. Adults will emerge from the cocoons.
  • Once adults emerge around mid-March, they lay eggs. Spray trees with Monterey Horticultural Oil to eradicate eggs during their first stage. Spray on trunks, main branches, and over top of soil out to the drip line for up to 90% mortality of larvae.
  • In areas of severe infestation, insecticides like Captain Jack's Dead Bug Brew® may be used. Be sure to follow the recommended application rates on the label.
  • Thin fruit to keep them from touching. Fruit that is bunched together will allow easy spread of larvae from one fruit to another.
Be sure to carefully follow the labels on all products.
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