I think I have a decent idea of what to spray on our peach, pear and apple trees thanks to the different guides and lots of discussions here. But I am pretty hazy on the smaller fruits. We will be trying to go as organic a route as possible since our main focus is to eat the fruits and share them with our kids, and we want to maintain good beneficials around since we garden also.
I am going to try to make out a spray schedule for my husband as he will have to do most of the spraying this year as we’re expecting baby #3 in June. We both love the backyard orchard we’re trying to start but with him working full time I am usually the one who does the research. Right now I’m trying to figure out what products we need so we can have them ordered and here in time (hopefully).
Grapes – we inherited a few vines when we moved here. They are seeded but varieties are unknown. We cut them back severely though not to the ground last spring and removed mummies and cuttings and added a little mulch around the plants.
I used Serenade and I think I used some copper (I honestly don’t remember too well! sorry!!) I started spraying I think a little too late – right as the grapes were starting to form from the blossoms instead of starting just before. I did work hard through to remove leaves showing Black Rot spots as soon as I saw them as I know that they can continue to spore and reinfect the grapes for a while. I know I sprayed about every week until the grapes were close to full size.
Very disappointingly, the grapes did still get spots as they ripened, cutting the harvest at least by half or more. I also saw signs of Phomopsis on the leaves and wondered if that could have caused some of the grape rot as well (I think I’ve read it can cause a similar rot on the fruit and it is an early infection). All in all I felt like the whole effort was a failure. I’d like to give the grapes another year though as my husband really likes them and the vines did grow vigorously. They get plenty of sun but are near to a young black walnut that we are going to cut down so they may be weakened from that.
My questions on the grapes are: When to start spraying, when to stop, and WHAT is the best thing I can do that is organic or semi-so. I know Scott has said copper is the organic but can build up in the soil, myclobutanil the synthetic that he is currently favoring over that. Any other options for Black Rot and Phomopsis? I think we will cut the grapes completely to the ground this year to try to eliminate any Phomopsis that has infected the wood. If we can’t succeed with them this year we might just start over with our choice of varieties.
Strawberries – We planted them last spring and let them runner freely as most of our original planting died from us not watering them enough (oops). I might have sprayed them a couple times with Serenade or Actinovate when I was spraying other stuff in the garden but we really just left them alone. Now we have a nice bed of them. I expect they should fruit decently this year so I want to be prepared to spray. I will take a look at the leaves (they didn’t go completely dormant) and see if I see any specific leaf problem but I am looking for general recommendations. My experience with strawberries in the past is that a lot of fruit rots if not sprayed. I’m ok with some crop loss but would like to keep it less than 25%. Looking for as organic an approach as possible here too.
Raspberries and blackberries – planted last spring. Didn’t see any rusts and the raspberries fruited and looked good (lots of japanese beetles and smaller bugs though – tiny black beetles). Have a few canes with borer in them but will cut them out. Just want to be prepared and spray preventatively for disease especially. I used to hear that neem oil sprayed on the leaves when Japanese beetles first appear will help to discourage them from later feeding. . .anyone had success with that?
I will be trying to get and/or have:
Actinovate (great for stuff in the garden)
Dormant oil/general oil(s)
Copper (have some but will have to check on actual potency)
Considering Neem oil and a natural pytheroid spray if I can find a good one for using when pest problems are high.
Suggestions for what I need to add to my list are definitely needed!!
Suggestions for health boosters (sprays or solids) are welcome too. I really don’t know much about them other than adding compost or shredded leaves beneath plants.