Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

In the Garden:
Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys
November, 2001
Regional Report

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Peach leaves give some fall color before losing their glossiness and dropping. Next, dormant spray!

Dormant Spray Time

Dormant fruit tree spraying is a good cool-weather habit for gardeners, a proactive task that reduces pest problems in the garden.

Timing the Sprays

Time your spray schedule to coincide approximately with cool-weather holidays -- Thanksgiving, New Year's Day, and Valentine's Day. Specific cues are even more important to follow: the fall of the last leaf (Thanksgiving), the deepest dormancy (New Year's Day), and bud swell (Valentine's Day). Spraying at the precise period of bud swell is especially important. Spraying before the buds swell is too early, and after the blossoms open is too late, so use the holidays as a guideline but be sure to follow your trees' progress.

Different Types of Sprays

Oil sprays smother the eggs of scale insects, aphids, and mites. Lime sulfur and powdered or liquid copper sprays discourage the growth of fungus such as peach leaf curl. On apricot trees, use only copper sprays -- sulfur will damage them.

If the rains haven't thoroughly moistened the soil under trees to be sprayed, water them deeply a few days before spraying. Spray on a cool, dry, sunny day during a windless period to minimize evaporation and drift. Make sure that all leaf, branch, and trunk surfaces are thoroughly covered with the spray solution. Spraying the soil from the trunk to just beyond the drip line is also helpful. Reapply if rain falls within 48 hours of the application.

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