Apple trees, like most fruit trees, draw a variety of invading insects. Mites, aphids, moths, apple maggots, tentiform leaf Miners and white apple leafhoppers are among an apple tree's most frequent unwanted visitors. These critters cause damage that ranges from leaf chewing to fruit tunnelling to killing off entire trees. Keep several points in mind, including timing and the type of sprays available, when treating an apple tree for bugs.
Why Apple Trees Should Be Sprayed
As the saying goes, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." Spraying helps prevent pests from overwhelming an apple tree. Once bugs arrive, it can be much harder to remove them and reverse the damage. Various kinds of insects, including aphids, red mites and codling moths, eat the leaves and fruit. Their feasting puts the tree at risk of early fruit drop, inedible fruit and, in cases of extensive infestation, death.
Never spray an apple tree during the blossoming period. They get pollination through honey bees, and spraying keeps the bees away. Begin spraying after the full bloom period has ended, according to North Carolina State University. Continue spraying every 10 to 14 days during the summer. Spray horticultural oil on the tree when green growth is first evident in the spring. This application helps deplete mite and aphid eggs.
Organic Bug Sprays
Use several organic sprays -- some which are homemade -- to control pests on apple trees. Dormant oil, made from mineral oil and oil-based soap and water, helps control mites and aphids. Pyrethrum, a natural insecticide made from heads of dried flowers, attacks tentiform leaf miners and apple maggots. Bacillus thuringiensis is a bacteria-based application that kills off codling moths and leaf miners.
Use of Non-Organic Bug Sprays
Organic treatments generally are preferable to chemical insecticides to treat infected apple trees. North Carolina State, Washington State and Michigan State universities, among others, have shown that an organic approach is effective at killing off invading pests without harming the fruit. Some products, such as diazinon -- used to control apple mites -- have been pulled from the market for personal use amid fears of misuse and overuse, according to Washington State University horticultural researchers. Visit a garden centre for organic alternatives.
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