Fruit trees can be a beautiful and productive addition to any yard, with enticing blossoms in the spring and home-grown treats in the summer and autumn. However, fruit trees take more work than you may expect.
Pests and diseases are rampant across the United States, reducing your fruit tree’s production and even damaging or killing the tree itself. To prevent this from happening, you can take charge with an annual spraying regimen, designed to protect your tree and keep your fruit production steady.
The Benefit of Spraying Fruit Trees
The promise of fruit from your trees is somewhat undercut be the threat and diseases, which have the potential to affect production negatively. Insects appreciate sweet fruits as much as humans do and often go after young fruit early in the growing season, resulting in misshapen or damaged fruit come harvest time.
Even worse, some insects and diseases attack the tree itself, reducing its ability to move nutrients to the branches and grow fruit, resulting in reduced overall fruit production. However, a good spraying regimen, including dormant sprays, fungicides and insecticides, timed at the right time of year, can keep your tree healthy by avoiding these problems.
What Is Sprayed on Different Kinds of Trees?
Fruit tree spraying times depend on what type of spray will be used. There are a number that can help your trees.
General-Purpose Fruit Tree Spray
A general-purpose spray mixture is the best way to wipe out the major pests and diseases your fruit trees could encounter. Most general-purpose spray mixes are specially formulated to protect trees against the most common pests and diseases in the industry, so you don’t need to do the research yourself before using it. All you need to do is look for general-purpose sprays meant for fruit tree usage only.
Fungicidal sprays are designed to eliminate scab diseases and other fungal issues, which are a major problem for peach trees. Spray this fungicide early in the season, ideally when daytime temperatures stay steadily around 60° Fahrenheit, or 15° Celsius.
Scale insects are a major problem for trees of all types, but they’re especially a problem for fruit trees, disfiguring their leaves and reducing the tree’s ability to produce life-sustaining nutrients and energy. The best way to handle these insects is to apply dormant oil to your trees in the early spring.
Just be sure to use them after the last frost, since dormant oils can cause damage to your trees if the temperature drops below 40° Fahrenheit, or 4° Celsius. In most cases, you’ll only need to apply dormant oils to your trees every five years to keep the scale insects away — the only exception to this rule is if there is a large infestation in your area, so be sure to keep on top of local growers’ news.
Insecticidal sprays are best used right after the flower petals of your tree have fallen off, around late spring or early summer. These sprays are helpful in taking care of most fruit tree pests. The only exception is the codling moth, which will take hold of the tree later in the season.
If the codling moth is common in your area, spray your trees 14 days after your petals have fallen and one more time in mid-summer to ward off the second generation of codling moths. Be careful only to use insecticides after your blossoms have already fallen and to be careful where you spray pesticides — irresponsible spraying can kill off local bee populations and harm your pollination efforts.
Whatever spray you use on your cherry trees, don’t use it as the blooms open. Not only can this spraying damage the flowers, but it also can kill and deter pollinators such as bees, which are essential for fruit development.
Best Time to Spray Trees
Whether you’re doing your annual apple tree spraying or protecting a cherry tree, most fruit trees can follow the same spraying schedule:
- Apply dormant oil first, sometime around February or March when the temperatures stay above 40° Fahrenheit.
- Apply fungicides when flower buds are visible but closed and still in tight clusters.
- Apply a second spray of fungicide right before the buds open, 10-14 days after your first application of the spray.
- Apply a general-purpose spray after about 90 percent of the petals have fallen off your fruit tree to control the majority of both diseases and insects. Do not spray before this time, and always err on the side of caution, since general-purpose sprays can kill beneficial insects like bees and other pollinators, reducing your tree’s yield.
- Apply a second layer of general-purpose spray a week after your first application. Be sure to apply a “cover spray,” where you cover both surfaces of your tree’s leaves, as well as the center of the tree canopy.
- If harmful insects are a particularly concerning problem in your area, use an insecticidal spray around the time of your general-purpose spray. Research the best times to apply insecticides in your area.
- Continue to apply cover sprays of your general-purpose spray once every ten days or so throughout the summer. If you are using insecticides in addition to the general-purpose spray to combat a specific insect, then you should follow the insecticide application schedule recommended.
- Stop applying all chemicals two weeks before harvest begins to make sure the fruit isn’t contaminated. Always be sure to wash your fruit thoroughly before eating, especially if you use an insecticide.
Tree Spraying Services in Virginia
If you want to hire a tree spraying service for your fruit trees, All Natural Tree Experts can help. As one of the best tree spraying companies in Virginia, we provide arborist services for both residential and commercial clients in Dublin, Roanoke and throughout Southwest Virginia.
We don’t just handle spraying, either. Our arborist services include tree and limb removal, trimming and spraying, as well as stump removal and storm damage recovery. Our certified arborists are ready to help you with whatever you need, showing a high level of professionalism and dedication to your satisfaction.
Whether you live in Blacksburg, Christiansburg or elsewhere in Southwest VA, we can help with your yard needs. Find out for yourself why we’re the best tree spraying service in Virginia. Call 540-230-1098 today.