Fruit tree sprays have their place in horticultural circles. Whether you have decades of experience or are now a budding gardener, it never hurts to brush up on your knowledge and identify new products on the market. Over time, caring for fruit trees becomes a near full-time engagement from fertilizing, planting, pruning, spraying, and de-weeding to the politics of fruit tree spraying.
In some horticultural circles, the spraying of fruit trees has become a cause for contention. On one side, you have those who feel it is unnecessary, that fertilizing and nature’s hand is enough. On the other side, you have evidence that fruit tree sprays successfully halt the reproduction of pesticides, scabs, and disease and ensure the look of an attractive, healthy fruit tree year-round.
This article will be for those who see the benefits of using sprays for fruit trees and those seeking extra information on fruit tree spray application.
Would you prefer to opt for an organic or inorganic fruit tree spray? Do you spray in winter or spring? All these questions are set to be answered in this article.
Table of Contents
Why Spray Fruit Trees?
One notable reason people may spray trees is that they want to deter pests and insects. Potentially, you have snails and caterpillars nibbling on your beautiful leaves or aphids draining nutrients from your tree, making leaves suck in on themselves. These pests can be unsightly to the eye and change the tree’s appearance while draining its life source and energy.
You may have noticed your fruit tree has caught a disease, such as a peach scab or cranker. Or, you may want a healthier-looking tree that is more appealing to the eye. Whatever it may be, all are good reasons to spray your tree.
When to Spray Fruit Trees?
Your tree spraying timetable should be built upon what you aim to tackle and your fruit tree’s natural growth schedule. Different fruit tree problems are solved by spraying at different times so to decide when to spray your fruit tree.
First, you must know what problem you want to solve. Are you trying to deter pests? If so, what pest? Is your fruit tree affected by a disease? Once again, you’ll need to identify which condition your tree is currently experiencing. Finally, we will walk through when to spray to achieve maximum results.
If you spray your tree when it’s dormant, you have the potential to kill any pests or insects which may have laid eggs within the trunks or branches of your fruit tree. So how does this work in action? The egg of a pest can lay dormant within a branch all winter and then hatch in spring as the weather warms.
This is why fruit tree sprays aimed at killing pesticides are often used in the winter and sometimes in early spring. Unfortunately, some of these sprays may make any fruit unfit for human consumption, so check the label.
On the other hand, if you spray your fruit tree during active growth in spring, it’s most likely to absorb the nutrients present in the fruit tree spray. You’ll know it is time to use a spray of this kind as your fruit tree would have begun to bear leaves.
If you were spraying your fruit tree to halt the spread of codling moths, then it would be best to spray your tree in summer.
Are there Different Types of Sprays?
Yes, different fruit tree sprays must be used at other times of the year. General mixture sprays aim to control bug populations and common pathogens. Typically with these products, it would be best to check the label before you buy as they can, in some cases, only be for specific fruit trees.
Dormant sprays, or dormant oils, are typically applied to control pest populations. As the name suggests, these products are used when the tree is dormant. Check the instructions on the bottle regarding when to apply, as these sprays can damage trees when not used correctly. Also, be extremely cautious regarding temperature.
Fungicide sprays are used early in the season to prevent scabs diseases. Typically, these sprays are used in the spring before your fruit tree leaves fully open.
Finally, insecticidal sprays aim to halter the spread of insects and bugs, e.g., coddling moths. These can be sprayed when buds appear on your tree. Before purchasing a fruit tree spray for the first time, decide on your purpose.
5 Best Sprays for Fruit Trees
1. Natural Fruit Tree Spray
One of the best options on this list is for those who are averse to chemicals. This homemade organic pesticide will deter pests from your tree while also ensuring it is safe to consume your fruit.
To make this homemade concoction, you’ll begin with oil. Vegetable oil suffocate pests, larvae, and eggs, limiting their ability to reproduce and, in turn, allowing you to at least reduce the population.
Fortunately, for some unknown reason, cinnamon oil is also off putting for pests and bugs. They also do not like the taste of hot peppers, so add any hot pepper and some black pepper to your natural fruit tree spray. Your natural fruit tree spray should be ready to go (see list below), but if you desire added strength, consider garlic and liquid soap, the variety you would use for washing plates.
Next, combine all these ingredients below in a bottle with 1 gallon of water and have a natural fruit tree spray ready.
- One cup of oil (canola, vegetable)
- 1 tbsp of cinnamon oil
- Sliced hot peppers
- Black pepper
- 1 gallon of water
As explained in the different types of spray section, dormant sprays or oils are used when the fruit tree is lying dormant. While this product is a spray, the VPG DPD Dormant Spray Oil arrives in a gallon bottle with a screw top. To use, you mix the product with roughly six tablespoons to a gallon of water. Preferably, this mixture would then be placed into a spray bottle where it could be sprayed onto your fruit tree.
Use this dormant spray if you’re hoping to halt the spread of scabs, mites, tree leaf rollers, fungicides, and insects.
If you opt for another dormant spray or oil, know newer formulas may be derived from petroleum oil, all the details on the product, its strength, and application will be explored on the back of the product.
This fruit tree spray would be best for those seeking a general fruit tree spray. The Bonide spray can be used as foliage protection against various insects and diseases, as well as a sticker on how to use it best, exploring precise usage formulas. Although, as the name suggests, it is a tremendously concentrated all-around fruit tree spray, it is best to mix it with water.
Captan is a trendy fungicide mixture belonging to the dicarboximide chemical component family. While that may mean nothing to you now, if you were to progress into commercial farming, you would find this compound includes a range of agricultural fungicides. But focusing on Captan, this fungicide can generally be used to manage modern pathogens such as; black rot, blight, mildew, and more natural/manufactured tree diseases.
Be careful while using this product, as ingestion can induce dermatitis, vomiting, and nausea in humans.
Although not the least worthy of the final space on this list of fruit tree sprays, we have Malathion, an insecticide spray. Because of the low ph of this insecticide, it can be used closer to harvesting time which is one benefit in comparison to other products it competes against on the market.
The only downside to this product is that it would have to be reapplied weekly to have maximum effect. Depending on how many trees you’re upkeeping, this may not be extremely cheap.
Fruit tree sprays are a staple that allows your fruit trees to flourish. You progress onwards knowing you now have recommendations of products that could help bring your trees up to standard and an organic recipe that can be whipped together at home and shared with friends and families if they share the issues you face.
Let us know in the comments section which sprays you have used in the past and how they worked so we can benefit from each other’s lived experiences!
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Jamie is the founder of The Backyard Pros. When he was 15 years old he started working at a garden centre helping people buy plants, gardening products, and lawn care products. He has real estate experience and he is a home owner. Jamie loves backyard projects, refinishing furniture, and enjoys sharing his knowledge online.