When do you spray fruit trees for insects?

Written by ashley mackenzie
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When do you spray fruit trees for insects?
Spraying fruit trees for insects helps ensure a healthy crop during harvest. (Jupiterimages/Creatas/Getty Images)

Insects are the bane of any fruit tree's existence, as they chew through leaves and young fruit. Gardeners can keep fruit fresh and blemish-free by applying pesticides, but only careful timing will keep fruit trees healthy.

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Dormant Oil Application

Cover fruit trees with a layer of dormant oil during their dormant periods, approximately one week before the buds begin to swell. This is typically in February or March.

Pesticide Applications

After almost all of the petals have fallen from the tree, spray a combination pesticide to keep insects at bay. Campbell's Nursery recommends subsequent applications every 10 days throughout the summer, until two weeks before harvest.


Insects that munch on leaves generally are less harmful than insects that damage fruit, according to the University of Rhode Island Landscape Horticulture Program. Depending on each tree's disease and insect cycle, time pesticide applications to protect fruit first and leaves second.


Do not spray insecticides during the blooming period of pear and apple trees. This may kill or deter bees and other pollinating insects that are beneficial to the plants.

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