I examined the fruit trees at Villa and they look good. All are alive and most are already showing new twig and leaf growth. The citrus and avocados look especially vigorous.
I saw some signs of normal insect and fungus activity. Although fruit trees do not have to be completely pest-free to be strong and healthy, it would be wise to spray the trees with an organic orchard spray.
Steve Davis and I walked the site on Thursday, March 19th. The citrus and avocados looked great. The pluots, apricots, nectarines, peach, pear and apples are just coming into leaf and the tinder shoots are attracting some tiny insects (aphids, thrips) and mites (tiny spiders). I also observed sooty mold (a fungus) on the apples.
On some of the deciduous trees, it looks like the heat spell we had damaged the surface of the foliage. A couple of the trees were planted as 5 gallon size so those are still smaller and a few trees are just beginning to produce leaves but have healthy buds and twigs.
Steve Davis recommended spraying with Bonide Orchard Spray. It contains pyrethrins derived from chrysanthemum flowers, a natural insecticide, and sulfur. It is approved for organic use, but as with all garden chemicals, you should be careful to apply them according to the label directions and only when necessary.
I talked to Scott Klittich of Otto & Sons Nursery and he agreed that spraying with the Bonide orchard spray will be a good idea. He said, the sulfur in the spray will help control mites and prevent fungus. The Pyrethrum will kill any insects around. The effect lasts about ten days. We should wait until we see renewed insect activity to treat again. The Sulphur leaves a white residue on the leaves.
According to the label, this product can be used up to the day of harvest. The label also says “Do not allow adults, children or pets to enter the treated area until sprays have dried.”
In the fall, we should treat with a dormant oil spray to control overwintering pests, such as scale, mites and aphids. Dormant sprays with copper or other pesticides also may be necessary to control such diseases as peach leaf curl and shot hole fungus should those become a problem this year. Steve could contact Otto & Sons this fall to get a recommendation for a dormant season oil.
I will attach the Material Safety and Data Sheet for Bonide Orchard Spray and the Label.
- Spray with an organic orchard spray.
- Retreat as needed if infestation recurs
- Contact the nursery to recommend a dormant season oil this fall.