All In One Sprays vs Mixing Your Own

I have takin on a new gardening addiction head on this winter like I do every winter, this time it is fruit trees. I am slowly getting a grasp on rootstocks and traits of varieties that go with them but what I am not grasping (because I am a hands on kinda learner) is tree spraying. I have been reading and reading and reading but there is way to much to absorb when it comes to what to spray, the when part is a lot easier.

I asked an expert on MSU extension for a spray schedule for michigan and what they replied is easy to comprehend with the chemicals they mention but along with the chemical they also put “or a all purpose spray” so that is my question for the experts.

What is a good all purpose spray and is it as good of an option as buying everything they mention and mixing myself. I have no problem doing it either way but want to achieve best results.

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here are the two links they sent me.

Both alan and Scott have fruit tree spray guides in the “Guides” category of this forum. So check those out.

I can’t be of too much use because I’m a a low-impact guy, using mostly organic materials. And I only have one year under my belt. I mostly bagged fruit this year since I had modest numbers of apples. I didn’t bag peaches and plums, and only had a couple curc stings on them. (But curc had found me by July because a couple adult curcs ended up in my bag of picked peaches.)

An all purpose spray like Bonide Fruit Tree Spray has a fungicide (Captan) and an insecticide, or 2 in this case - malathion and carbaryl. The disadvantage to a all purpose spray is that you are spraying with an insecticide when you probably only need a fungicide, or vice versa. I’m not sure how many here use all-purpose sprays. Some think they are watered down too much and aren’t very effective.

I like this Purdue guide because it gives both chemical names and product names, and is relatively up-to-date for what is currently available to the home-gamer.

I also used a codling moth trap and monitored for biofix and followed growing degree days to determine when to spray for codling moth. I use this website to inform my decisions: NEWA - Apple Insects. I think if you are in Michigan and in a fruit-growing district, though, you probably can get the same info from MSU. MSU extension folks probably track this stuff on a county-by-county basis in the fruit growing districts and make recommendations for integrated pest management and when to start spray.

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Thanks Drew. Those links you posted are very good reads, as are Scott and Alan"s which I have read both numerous times . As to the all in one sprays my initial thought was that they would be somewhat less effective.

Is there a liquid form of captan?

There is. It’s Captan 4L, but I think it only comes in 2.5 gal size (at least that’s all my catalog shows). I prefer powders/dry flowables generally over liquid forms of the product. Powders easier to store and there isn’t the issue of settling out of the active ingredient.

The links MSU provided seem a little weird to me. I don’t know why they would recommend Captan + Benomyl for scab. The Captan is fine, but Benomyl I think has lost effectiveness in common apple growing regions (like Topsin).

They also recommend Ferbam initially for peaches, then move to Captan or Captan + Benomyl. For those early sprays chlorothalonil is more effective and probably cheaper. You can spray chlorothalonil up till shuck split, then after that Captan is a fine choice for scab and/or brown rot.

It’s also strange they recommend Sevin, Malathion or Imidan as an insecticide. Strange because Sevin and Malathion are considered consumer grade insecticides, while Imidan is considered a commercial insecticide (and a pretty strong one).

I agree with Levers there is no reason to use a general purpose fungicide/insecticide spray.

Olpea, so for my apples if I eliminate the Benomyl and just use the Captan will I get the desired results or should I add something in place of the Benomyl?

My main pests are brown rot, leaf curl, and PC with stone fruit.

I disagree for my purposes, For one main reason. As a consumer without a spray license most of the products you mention are not available, thus the info is not very useful for me. It is useful to see what work’s in the commercial world, but I would have to break the law to use Imidan. I don’t know of any consumer products? The commercial stuff is not allowed in residential areas. It’s nasty stuff too!
The most useful product I have found is a combo product. Bonide’s Fruit Tree and Plant Guard.
I don’t grow apples, so can’t really tell you much. I can tell you that using Plant Guard and alternating with Monterey Fungi Fighter has stopped all brown rot on my trees, thus far, that could change though! Now since Monterey is not a combo product, I add an insecticide. The most useful, that works the best for me has been Malathion. So I combine MFF with Bonide’s Fruit Tree spray (yet another combo product) which has Malathion and Captan in it. This combo has worked so well for me. I don’t use anything else. I was afraid that the insecticides would not be effective against PC, and you know that still is a valid question. Last year every single nectarine I grew had the crescent bite of the PC beetle. Only one fruit was infected, so either my timing is impeccable, or the malathion has curative properties. Or maybe the insecticide Lambda-cyhalothrin in Bonide’s Fruit Tree and Plant Guard did the work?
Cyhalothrin is an organic compound that is used as a pesticide. It is a pyrethroid, a class of man-made insecticides that mimic the structure and insecticidal properties of the naturally occurring insecticide pyrethrum which comes from the flowers of chrysanthemums. Synthetic pyrethroids, like lambda-cyhalothrin, are often preferred as an active ingredient in insecticides because they remain effective for longer periods of time. It is a colorless solid, although samples can appear beige, with a mild odor. It has a low water solubility and is nonvolatile

I use other sprays for my trees too. I use a copper Hydroxide with a good pine based sticker like Nu Film in the spring for leaf curl, before bud break, once or twice. In the fall I use Lime-Sulfur in horticultural oil. These sprays are used for leaf curl, canker prevention (copper on sweet cherry), and the lime sulfur will kill eggs and some small insects. All of these fungicides help stop other problems too, like leaf spot etc. Oh sometimes, at least for me, I can get leaf burn with Captan. Not a big deal though.

What really made a difference, and you must do in my opinion is use neutral or acidic water to mix. I use rain water or water treated with an acid. If you use captan with tap water, you might as well pour the captan in the trash as it will be just as effective in the trash as on your trees.

I would bet not one person here can show you the Spice Zee nectaplum that look anywhere near as nice as mine. Far from perfect still, few sugar spots, we don’t have the heat to do that every year. Well you can’t have everything! I’m working on improving the sugar load. These are very sweet anyway.

And very big too!

I lost about 10 mostly to animals, knocking them off (while cutting the grass), one to PC (it seems to love this tree, the first hit by PC bites) and a couple to brown rot. Yield was 66 fruits on this 6-7 foot tree.

So for my needs, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! My spray schedule is working for me.


For apples you could just use Captan, but you won’t get any rust control (although Benomyl isn’t strong on rust, or even labeled for it, it probably provides a little rust control). This is one of the problems with the “combo” products, they only have captan as a fungicide and so provide no rust control.

If I were you I would use myclobutanil for an early apple fungicide which would provide scab and rust protection. It is sold in smaller consumer quantities under the name Immunox. Commercially, it’s sold under the name Rally.

If you have high apple scab pressure, or Immunox alone isn’t doing it for you, you could add some Captan to beef it up, but I’d start with just the Immunox as a home grower.

In terms recommendation Captan + Benomyl on stone fruit, I’d just skip the Benomyl altogether. I have used just straight Captan on stone fruit and gotten good scab and rot control (just make sure, as Drew mentions, the water you are using is acidified slightly and use Captan at the highest rate). If you can’t get control with straight Captan, you could add propiconazole (Montery Fungi Fighter), or just try the Montery by itself.


I won’t argue with your success. If you are happy with the results, then keep on.

However, many home growers have not had the results you’ve had with consumer combo products. As mentioned there is no cedar/apple rust control. Additionally there are times when only a fungicide should be sprayed (so the insecticide component is wasted) or vice versa. There are certainly times I spray a fungicide only, or an insecticide only.

The Malathion and Sevin used in some combo sprays are pretty weak. Again if they are working for you, that’s great. But should you experience greater pest pressure, they may no longer work.

You mentioned you also use Bonide Fruit Tree and Plant Guard. This combo product is in a different category, imo. It’s fairly new and actually contains some pretty powerful stuff. As you mention, L. cyhalothrin is a powerful pyrethroid sold as Warrior in commercial grade. It also contains “Pristine” as a fungicide, which gets good ratings against various fungal diseases (including apple scab and rust). I don’t know how much Bonide Fruit Tree and Plant Guard you used, but that one is your heavy hitter.

For the record, I only mentioned Benomyl and Imidan because MSU did. I didn’t recommend the Imidan or Benomyl. I’m the one confounded by their recommendations.

That said, Imidan is not a restricted use product, except in a few states. To my knowledge Benomyl (Benlate) is not restricted at all. You are correct that Imidan is not allowed in residential areas, but it’s not a restricted use product by the EPA.

Most commercial fruit pesticides aren’t restricted use. They are packaged for commercial use, but not restricted use. Some are labeled for “Agricultural Use Only” which would legally preclude their use as a home owner product, but that’s different than restricted use.

Some backyard growers purchase a few commercial pesticides knowing they are buying a “lifetime” supply when they buy one bottle, but there is nothing illegal about that. As long as the label doesn’t say “Agricultural Use Only” backyard growers are free to purchase and use the product. I used some commercial products before I started selling fruit.

There are also some options for backyard growers who want to purchase smaller consumer quantities. Ortho sells a consumer insecticide with acetamiprid. I think plain old Permethrin is still available in unrestricted homeowner quantities (the commercial grade is restricted).

Montery Fungi Fighter is a decent fungicide, as is Immunox, Captan, chlorothalonil, and copper for the various fungal diseases they treat.