It’s the time of year that fruit trees are coming out of dormancy and buds are swelling. Using the swelling of bud to time preventative sprays is the most accurate way to control diseases on your fruit trees.
By watching the buds on your fruit trees, you can time fungicide and bactericide sprays so they do the most good. And by using bud stages to time your sprays, you end up spraying less- always a good goal.
Recently, plum and cherry buds are starting to swell, so now’s the time to look at your trees for timing. Stage 3 flower buds is a perfect time to spray an oil plus copper for cherries and plums. What do these sprays do?
- Oil in delayed dormant sprays smothers overwintering aphid and mite eggs
- Copper helps prevent bacterial canker infections, blossom blight and brown rot in stone fruit trees.
How about your apples and pears? It’s early for these, but here are the signs you should be looking for: apples and pears should get a spray of oil plus sulfur between stages 4 and 6.
- Again, the oil in the delayed dormant spray will smother overwintering aphid, scale and mite eggs
- Sulfur helps prevent powdery mildew at this stage.
Once pears and apples hit stage 4, the flowers can open pretty fast. If you grow varieties that are susceptible to apple or pear scab, you will need to be ready to spray a sulfur spray (with no oil) once your blossoms swell just to the point of showing color (pre-pink, or stage 6). Add Bacillius thurengenisis (Bt) to this spray to get the first hatch of leaf rollers. A second sulfur spray at petal fall will keep your trees healthy and mostly scab free.