Spraying fruit trees is very important and will prevent diseases and insects from causing damage to you prized possessions. However it is important to know when to spray fruit trees since you can cause damage to the tree if you don’t spray in the right conditions at the right time. You’ll know when to spray the fruit tree based on what type of spray you use.
When to Spray Fruit Trees
Dormant: Dormant Sprays
During the dormant season, the tree doesn’t grow and conserves energy until the spring. Moreover, the tree has shed its leaves and bore all its fruit for the season. However, pests and disease organisms also overwinter (or wait out the winter) during this time. During the winter or early spring, you can use horticultural oil (also known as dormant oil) to smother pests. However be sure that the weather doesn’t drop down below 40 degrees F. (4 C.) when you spray or this will damage the tree. All these different oils such as mineral oil or cottonseed oil, control insects such as mites, aphids and scale as well as diseases such as powdery mildew.
Before Bud Break: Fungicide Sprays
You can spray with a fungicidal spray before bud break and before the leaves have opened. In fact, bud break is when the bud that has been swelling opens and leaves or green tissue come out. However make sure that the temperatures are around 60 degrees F. (15 C.) when you spray. Moreover you can use a natural sulfur-based fungicidal spray or a chemical spray. In order to be effective though, spray twice. First, when the flower buds begin to develop, then wait about 10 to 14 days and spray again. Lastly, make sure to fully spray the tree.
In general when the flowers are out and in bloom, it is not a good idea to spray since this can damage the flowers and hence the fruit. However certain pests and diseases can also infect the tree during this time, such as fireblight and European Apple Sawfly. Therefore for most pests and diseases we recommend spraying either before full bloom or right after. However for fireblight, during bloom you can spray a Copper Octanoate, Double Nickle, or Blossom Protect.
After Petal Fall: Combination Sprays
After most of the petals fall, then you can spray again against insects and other diseases. In fact, you can spray through the summer until harvest time depending on what you are controlling and what spray you are using. For example, for codling moths, you should spray a second time 2 weeks later after the initial petals fall. Then again in the middle of the summer.