Although many of the disease and insect problems may not appear for several months, it is time to start making plans to apply preventative sprays. As you consider spraying your trees, you will have to decide whether to use a specific pesticide for a specific problem or to use a home orchard pre-mixed spray. Many individuals with home orchards often find pre-mixed “home fruit disease and insect mixtures” to be the most available and practical pesticide options. These mixtures contain both an insecticide for inset pests and a fungicide for disease prevention. These work well, but they cannot be used while the trees are blooming. Since they contain an insecticide, the pre-mixes will kill honeybees and other pollinators.
If you have experienced problems in the past such as “brown rot” on peaches or “fire blight” on apple trees, you will need to apply a specific fungicide during the blooming period, so a pre-mix spray will not work in such situations. Always remember to read and follow the label instructions for the product you use. Insecticides, fungicides, or pre-mixed products can be safely used and provide many benefits if used at the correct timing and according to label instructions.
Stop by the Walker County Extension Office at 102 E. Napier Street in LaFayette or go to ent.uga.edu/pmh/Hm_Home_Orchard.pdf to get a copy of the University of Georgia Extension Service’s spray guide for the type of fruit trees you have. It will list the material that should be used for specific problems and the correct time for the spray to be applied. Call 638-2548 with questions about your home orchard.
Norman Edwards is coordinator of Walker County Extension Service.