Grease bands are a simple, low-tech way to protect apple trees from destructive caterpillars and flightless moths. Wrapped around the base of vulnerable fruit trees, grease bands create a barrier that the pests will not cross.
In early spring, wrap a 4- to 6-inch cloth or burlap barrier around the circumference of the tree about 18 inches from the ground. Secure the fabric with garden twine. Alternatively, wrap duct tape -- sticky side out -- around the tree.
Apply petroleum jelly, grease or tar to the fabric or tape. These substances will repel or trap any curious caterpillars. Check weekly and reapply the grease if needed.
Do not put petroleum-based products directly on tree bark. Doing so can damage the bark of young trees. Instead, choose commercially available products designed for direct bark application.