Backyard Orchards, chronicling, musing and more

I have only 10 good size fruit trees that need thinning. I have already way behind. You have 15 times more trees. No way you can thin them all by yourself.

I think @ahmad has 40-50 trees. Not only he thinned them, he bagged his fruit, too. He makes me look like a lazy bum.

i think they look great. Did you run out of time to spray?

Why thank you! But they are just way too thick and as a result they are too small on some of the trees shown.
I actually managed to keep things sprayed this year, but I learned once and for all that Captan and Myclo have almost no effect at all on Brown Rot so I lost all my early fruit to BR. The great news is that Mark introduced me to Pristine Super and I applied it mid season- which I would have thought was too late- and it was a miraculous cure and ever since then my fruit have looked good…just too small on the trees I didn’t get to thin properly.

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I bagged the equivalent of ~30 mature peach trees! It is not sustainable for me to do that every year, but I need to find an effective insecticide (against PC) and to start netting my trees. Birds prefer I unbagged fruits 10:1 or may be even 20:1. Unbagged fruits are annihilated by birds…

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Forgive me Ahmad, I should know this after all the years we’ve been friends on here, but I’ve forgotten…are you organic? I’m asking because I’m wondering why you are bagging so much fruit. You mentioned needing to find a good insecticide so it sounds like you are willing to spray, but maybe you mean you need a good organic insecticide (which at risk of offending our organic friends, may be an oxymoron! ha).

I’d also forgotten you had so many trees. That is unreal. While I often speak of having about 135 trees, that count includes a lot of trees like pears, jujubes, figs, pecans, persimmons, and other things that require almost no maintenance. So yea… your work makes me feel kinda lazy too!

I am experimenting this year to see how spraying with Spinosad will work, as the bagging is becoming overwhelming, but it rains so often the spray keeps getting washed off. My rows of bush cherries ended up wormy in spite of the spay. I have five unbagged apple trees, mostly because I ran out of time to bag and I am getting old and tired.
I did mix Surround with the first two batches of spray (except on the cherries), but the dust bothers my lungs if it is there when I bag. I didn’t need to thin much this year. The Spinosad seems to have licked the PCs. I hope it will work on the codling moths and maggot flies. Family events and travel also make it hard to spray weekly or between the rains.

Your trees are really big!

Too big, if I’m honest. Way too big. But its so fun to see large trees completely loaded and they produce SOOO much per tree. But mostly its just that I have a hard time keeping up with pruning. I keep the centers all empty but don’t do a good job keeping the height and width at manageable levels. I even have to pick with ladders, which of course is never a good thing. But again, there is just something about seeing a huge tree completely covered with ripe peaches that makes my heart leap.

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I used to spray with Spinosad but it is washed in the rain and we have frequent spring/early rain way to often.

I used to spray a couple of times and bag to prevent insects from making holes and depositing eggs in my fruit. I quickly realized that timing of spray is as important as what chemicals I spray with.

These days, bagging add benefits by protecting fruit against bird pecks and later insects like wasps, too. Just like @Ahmad mentioned.

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No worries Kevin :blush:. I am actually an organic chemist, but not an organic grower :wink:. I worked in both crop protection industry and pharmaceutical industry, so I have a good understanding of chemical products, and their risk vs benefit. My problem is that my current state (CT) restricts so many of the common pesticides that used to be available for me in Delaware. I have seventy trees, ~60 if I exclude figs, persimmons and pears. They are planted on a quarter acre piece of land, that is double fenced for deer and bears. Bagging used to allow me to reduce my spraying to a handful of sprays through out the season (not anymore, will get back to that later), and also protects my fruits from pests like birds, hornets, Japanese Beetles and Spotted Wing Drosophila. The area of CT where I live has extremely high pest pressure, all sorts of pests you can think of, except maybe moose, but even moose have been slowly spreading through the state, so I will not be surprised if it reaches my area in a few years. Back to typical pests, Brown Rot and Plum curculio pressure is super high, probably because of high abundance of Black and Choke Cherry, and because my neighborhood, and really most of my county is literally one big forest.

I used to be able to stop spraying around late June/early July, but now I have to spray apples through the summer for summer rots and Marsonina Leaf Blotch (which is also widely spread here), Euro Plums suffer from some sort of fungal or bacterial leaf disease in the summer, so I have to spray them too. Japanese beetles attack my orchard in the thousands so I need to spray them 2-3 times in June/July. We are very wet, so sprays get washed away very quickly, which means I need to spray more frequently… Moreover, birds here are very persistent and they continue to peck through the bags, spoiling many fruits. I had to pick three trees while fruits are still firm and not sweet enough as I am trying to beat the birds and brown rot to them… I am having a miserable growing season, as my hobby is turning to be an enormous amount of work and an almost loosing battle against Mother Nature! If I can’t get my fruit to ripen on the trees and reach high sweetness, then I have no need to growing them.

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Ahmad,
I thought I had it bad, you have more troubles than I do. So far, J. beetles have not been too bad. There are lantern flies but not many (yet).

You have my sympathy. I also agree with you that if we can’t produce good quality home grown fruit, why bothers growing them.
Hope you find the right combo of pesticide and fungicide. That would solve several of the issues you are facing.

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so sorry to hear that Ahmad. i feel your pain. i dont nearly have the disease and pest pressure that you do but ive resolved myself to only planting the most disease resistant fruit i can find instead of the most flavorful. what good is the best tasting if you can’t get a reliable crop off of them? where im at im constantly culling critters to keep them at bay. my biggest problem is crows. luckily they are intelligent enough to know to stay away if i take only 1 of them a year. they are so scared of me, when i go outside in the morning, they all send out the alarm to the other crows that im out and about. i wish you the best of luck sir.

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They love to climb my Gerardi mulberry and eat all the leaves. Usually about a week before the berries start ripening.

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Are you talking about a groundhog?

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Yes. Our friendly neighborhood groundhog loves to nibble away all the mulberry leaves. I also discovered an apple graft that had been growing well was now half as tall. Time for a new cage.

We’ve got a family of foxes in the neighborhood now, so his days may be numbered.

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@Colleen7
Just want to empathize with you re. Sweet cherry. Just pick my Black Gold. Many had tiny holes, done by some insects. Then fruit proceeded to rot and brown rot moved in.

I spray a combo of fungicide and pesticide 4 times but stopped 2 -3 weeks before harvested. All other fruit trees have been relatively clean. Fungicide combo of Indar and Luna Sensation suggested by @scottfsmith have worked on other stone fruit to stop brown rot. Not for my sweet cherries. Once insects made holes, brown rot moved in.

Damage was extensive (again). I lost 70% of sweet cherries. Had almost no damage on sour cherries.

Every cluster of 10 cherries, I had at least 3-5 cherries that rotted. Some clusters were completely rotted.

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I cage my tiny Girardi because be have too many bunnies.

Our groundhogs (previous and current) have been about the size of red foxes we have seen and some groundhogs appears to be bigger than foxes.

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I also have Gerardo caged. It climbed the cage! Other neighbors have noted groundhog heads lying around since the foxes showed up. We’ll see what happens…

Gerardo? Is that a male counterpart of Gerardi? JK :joy:

That is horrible. So sorry!

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