Tuesday, December 6, 2016

New spraying program 2015-will it work-nothing else has

The plan for 2015's apple growing season is a plan of less inputs. Bird of the Hand is a small orchard with 3.5 acres. It is in Massachusetts on the south side of a 960 ft hill. The orchard is certified organic           
Lightening bugs in weevil trap

The first applications of the year was during the dormant period. The orchard was dusted with Bordeaux mixture 3 times at a rate of 2lbs/acre during the dormant period. Fish emulsion was sprayed at ½ inch green tip. At Petal fall kaolin Surround ( 25 lbs/acre) and neem oil were sprayed. The kaolin Surround was sprayed one week later to build up the petal fall layer of surround at 25lbs/acre. This kaolin layer was for the prevention of plum curculio and coddling larvae damage.
For summer sprays in early June there was a spraying of Dipel at 1lb/acre with 25 lbs/acre of surround with 4 gallons of lime sulfur or 1 gallon/acre. A soil drench of fish emulsion was applied in mid June at a rate of 4 gallons/acre. Kaolin Surround (25 lbs/acre) and Dipel (1lb/acre) were applied in mid June. And the first week of July another spray with 50 lbs of surround and a diluted Bordeaux mixture, and 2 gallons fish emulsion was applied..
Tree leaves coated with kaolin Surround
For the season totals, this was an application total of three dormant dustings, 2 fertilizer applications, and 4 pest control applications. This was one of the best years in our area weather wise for good apple cropping. The weather conditions were just right for great apple development . Overall this does not seem like many applications to get good results. Of course we were starting to have an extended summer drought and this created conditions for low fungal disease pressure. The kaolin Surround product is very persistent and if it is applied later in the season, the apples will still be coated with it at harvest time.
My goals for this year were to put less inputs in the orchard and trap for pests.. The traps did help me identify the pests activity periods. It also trapped beneficial insects that were chasing the insect pests into the traps. The cost of kaolin Surround makes it an expensive input , but the application of it at petal fall in a thick coat did help reduce pest damage.

Copy right Cathy Harragian 12/6/2016