Last Saturday, Susan Poizner of the Orchard People returned with the third installment of her Tree Care Workshop series, this time talking about the prevention and treatment of pests and diseases.
Here are some effective ways to prevent your fruit tree from contracting pests or diseases:
- Practice good hygiene. Sterilize your tools with rubbing alcohol after pruning each tree to ensure that your are not spreading disease from tree to tree. Also make sure to sterilize your tool after pruning a diseased branch so that if you are pruning other parts of that tree, it won’t spread there either.
- Correct annual pruning improves light penetration and air circulation and that alone can prevent the diseases that spread readily in damp, dark environments. To read more about pruning, click here.
- Every spring, before the buds of your trees open up, spray the trunk and branches with lime sulfur and dormant oil (always follow the instructions on the package) to coat and suffocate overwintering insects hidden in wounds on your tree.
- Fungal diseases germinate and spread during wet, humid weather. To protect your trees, spray them with garden sulfur a few hours before rain is forecast. Once the spray dries it prevents airborne spores from settling on your tree’s leaves.
- Apply Orchard Sox (like tiny pantyhose) to baby fruit on your tree each year to prevent apple maggot and coddling moth infestations in your apples, pears and plums. These can be purchased from orchardpeople.com.
- Purchase a disease-resistant tree! To learn about how best to choose one, you won’t want to miss our fourth and final workshop coming up on September 27. Tickets can be purchased here.
If you want to learn more about the identification, treatment and prevention of pests and diseases, you can check out Susan’s website, where she lists some resources like her book, her podcast, and her other workshops and training sessions.