Caring for Apples
If you grow apples, insect and disease control is important. Diseases like apple scab and cedar-apple rust can be devastating, and who likes biting into wormy apples…yuck! Knowing what to do and when to do it can be confusing, so here are some basic tips.
Insect and disease problems need to be prevented, not cured. It’s kind of like when you use sunscreen. You have to apply it before you go out in the sun, not after you get the sunburn. That means protective sprays for you apple trees need to be applied before a problem develops, not afterwards.
One of the biggest insect problems on apples is coddling moth. These small moths lay eggs on or near newly developing fruits and upon hatching, the young larvae bore into the fruits where they feed on the seeds and the surrounding flesh leaving fruits less than desirable. Control begins shortly after spring blooms fade. Start applying protective sprays using Fertilome Borer, Bagworm and Tent Caterpillar Spray (Spinosad), Hi-Yield Malathion or Hi-Yield Lawn, Garden, Pet and Livestock Insect Control following label directions. It is very important that insect control sprays not be applied until after blooming has finished to avoid damaging critically important pollinator populations.
Disease control starts as soon as leaves appear. Apple scab and cedar-apple rust both have the potential to start infecting leaves and fruits very early in the season and can continue to cause problems through much of the spring. Use Fertilome F-Stop according to label directions to prevent damage. Make sure to make thorough applications, covering both the top and bottom sides of the leaves, and penetrating into the center of the tree’s canopy as well.
By June, consider switching to a combination product called Bonide Fruit Tree Spray. This product combines both a fungicide and an insect control and works well for late spring/early summer issues.
Remember to always follow label directions, paying close attention to mixing rates, spraying intervals and harvest restrictions. As always, if you have questions, please don’t hesitate to ask us.