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Spraying Fruit Trees

In spring, we often have customers ask about spraying fruit trees. If you have a home orchard or a single fruit tree, this will article will be a great starting point. Fruit tree spraying can seem daunting but once you identify your pest problems it is pretty simple. Sprays are generally necessary to get a good crop of fruit however proper fruit production begins before the trees are even selected.

Proper Cultivar Selection

There are countless fruit tree cultivars on the market but many of those will not grow or grow well in Kansas and no amount of spraying will help production. Just because a nursery (or worse, a big box store) sells it, it does not guarantee it will prosper here. For example many cultivars of peaches and apricots will produce in Kansas but are very susceptible to late frosts. Many other fruit trees are susceptible to fungal diseases and insect infestations due to our humidity and warm springs. These fruit trees will require more maintenance to keep fruit production and tree health vigorous. Non-self-fertile fruit trees should be planted with a different cultivar for proper pollination. The bottom line is don’t plant fruit trees on an impulse, do your research to avoid years of frustration. For a list of tested cultivars in Kansas click here.

Important Rules For Spraying

Fruit Tree
Developing fruit on an Asian pear tree.

If you are planning to spray trees yourself follow these important rules.

  • ALWAYS FOLLOW THE LABEL. The label is the law.
  • DO NOT spray insecticide during blooms.
  • ALWAYS wear appropriate personal protective equipment.
  • DO NOT spray in excessive wind: avoid drift.
  • The pest or problem you are trying to control MUST be on the label.

Spraying Fruit Trees

Different fruits and pests require different sprays but in most cases the spray timings are similar. Below are timings and material for apple and pear. Pit fruit timing is similar up to the cover sprays then differ slightly.

  1. Dormant Spray: Neem or other dormant oil: spray before bud break.
  2. Green tip: Insecticide and fungicide when leaves are .25-.5 in long.
  3. Pre-bloom: Insecticide and fungicide when blossom buds are present but not open.
  4. Bloom: Fungicide only (if you kill the pollinators there will be no fruit) when blooms are 25% open.
  5. Petal Fall: Insecticide and fungicide when most blossoms have fallen.
  6. Early season cover spray: Insecticide and fungicide every 10 days after petal fall until June.
  7. Late season cover spray: Insecticide and fungicide every 14 days from June to August.

 

For more information on fruit trees check out these links.

Fruit pest control KSU

What fruit trees to plant KSU

Fruit tree cultivars KSU

Fruit tree pest control MU

310 Congress Street, Emporia, KS 66801 • 5709 SW 21st St., Suite 108, Topeka, KS 66604

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