As a first time fruit tree grower, what are the effects of constant rain?

So my trees have been in the ground for a couple of weeks now. For the last 5 days we’ve had nearly constant rain here in the mid-atlantic. Well not exactly constant, but I’d call it continual in the fact that there hasn’t been any opportunity for things to dry out. At times its been very heavy rain too. From everything I’ve read this is a bad thing for a couple of reasons. Mainly it can lead to increases in disease and also be bad for people with heavy soils.

I sprayed dormant oil 2 days before the rains started. My trees are all at different stages right now. My apple buds are half open while my pear buds still look dormant. Cherries are in between. The rain is preojected to stop this afternoon followed by 3-4 nice dry days. I suspect the buds will really be popping.

What should I be doing in the next few weeks to ensure my trees stay healthy. I don’t expect or plan to have any fruit set this year but what should I be watching for. I don’t know if fireblight will be a problem here but I suspect it would be a good time to spray with Ferti-Lome. I hate to spray chemicals if they aren’t necessary. I have immunox that I planned to spray after the petals fall off (which since I won’t have any I’ll have to gauge that my other trees in my neighborhood).

What else should I be doing?

Provided they were planted correctly and the drainage is adequate (it probably is) the rain won’t hurt them a bit. Since they are not expected to flower this year (don’t be surprised if some do) it won’t hurt to spray with immunox, but it probably isn’t necessary. What you could do that I think would be much better than a later spray of immunox is a spray with copper now…sounds like you still have time. You could also spray Chlorothalonil (Daconil) or even a combination of the two. The flowering or blossoming of the trees opens up the tree to infection, that’s the idea of the myclobutanil at petal fall…to control infections of CAR and the like. If the trees are juvenile and not yet flowering, the importance of this spray is greatly diminished.
This may sound kinda twisted but I look at these infections as being similar to vaginal infections in women. The blossoming presents an open pathway to the interior of the tree for which there are not protective tissues or membranes. I guess the same could be said of the mouth and nose, but vaginal openings are more similar in that they are reproductive openings necessary for procreation, in fact they even share some same named parts. I hope the women of the forum do not find this analogy offensive because I don’t mean it to be and trying to keep it rated PG.

There are resistance problems with immunox (myclobutanil) so if low spraying is something you are interested in then myclo should be #1 to reduce in your low spray regimen imo. Myclo is supposed to be limited to 3 sprays per season maximum.

What Ferti-Lome spray are you speaking of?

Thanks for the info. My trees were planted on mounds and on a slight slope so I think the drainage will be adequate. I saw Copper fungicide at my local Co-op but wasn’t sure if it was necessary. I wondered if it was just an alternative to the Immunox. Maybe I should’ve bought some and included it with my dormant spray. :frowning:

The Fertilome product I was talking about is their fire blight spray preventative with streptomycin sulfate. I’ve read that it’s been very successful for many people.

I’ve heard and seen (as posted photos) remarkable recoveries using streptomycin sulfate also. Spraying streptomycin when there isn’t a infection can create real problems though. Copper is a better preventative spray in that it is proven to reduce fireblight infection in research studies and operates as both a fungicide and bactericide. Strep is used as a preventative on some really susceptible varieties though when heat and moisture conditions indicate high infection likelihood.
Copper is also a lot cheaper and doesn’t pose any significant health risks. Having said all that, I wouldn’t hesitate to spray strep if I ever needed to. I only really have 2 trees that are less than “Very Resistant” in the fireblight category and I don’t think I’d ever consider planting a highly susceptible variety. The pressure and conditions are just too favorable for the bacteria here where we are. My hope is that resistant trees, good hygiene practices and preventative sprays will keep me out of trouble. A little luck wouldn’t hurt either, but that is something I rarely seem to have with anything.


Everything I read about Streptomycin says that we need to spray BEFORE prophylactically before infection to prevent the bacteria from entering and colonizing the blooming flower.

Once it manifests, I believe that the infection can only be removed by amputation. The “recovery” you speak of must mean reduced infection next year.


It does and yes, everything I’ve read indicates that infected wood must be removed. I can’t remember who it was but they posted great pics on GW of I think a pear that had bad FB. I think it actually did manifest itself again the following year but lightly and they were able to control it with strep. In fact, I think they even used the Ferti-Lome brand and posted a pic of the container.

I should have worded it that “spraying when there isn’t a likelihood of infection”, in other words routine preventative spraying is bad.

I should also add that I just read that fireblight bacterium can develop resistance to copper as well. Now that I didn’t know and frankly, surprises me.

Any day we learn something new is a good day.

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Yeah…now if I could only retain it! :smiley: