The Q&A Archives: Spraying fruit trees

Question: Last August, we purchased a home in southern, central Oregon. There are six fruit trees on the property, most likely all dwarfs. They include three apple trees, a peach tree, a pie cherry tree and a plum tree. The previous owner told me the trees rarely produced fruit, and he and his wife didn't spend much time worrying about it. In the early spring, I pruned each tree. Now, every tree is loaded with fruit.

The question is, I haven't sprayed the trees with any chemicals yet, and I'm wondering if it's too late in the year to do so? My concern is that insects and worms will have a heyday with the fruit once it ripens. Do you have any advice for me regarding a general

Answer: There's really nothing I can recommend spraying at this point. If the trees were not producing before then it's unlikely that insects will bother them this year. The only problems that are common in your neck of the woods are fungal diseases on the plums, cherries and apples, which you can control with a series of preventative sprays during the dormant season and again in early spring, codling moths and the apple maggot. Apple maggots can ruin the fruit so you'll want to avoid these pests if at all possible. There are pheromone traps available for codling moths, and sticky traps you can set in your trees to capture the adult flies responsible for apple maggots. If they were my trees, I'd take a wait and see attitude. If you run into problems with your harvest you can spend some time this winter reading about the spray schedules recommended by Oregon State University. There are many publications on home fruit production available from your local Cooperative Extension Office or online, and some libraries carry copies of the PNW Insect and Disease Management publications from OSU. By the way, congratulations on your bumper crop!!

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