How do you control White Clover around your Fruit Trees? Apple and peach trees. Clover seems invasive. When I spray when clover is in bloom the bees get it


#62

I definitely did not have a house or any fruit trees when i lived in KC it was a few bad decisions during teenage years that led me there! However when i moved back to Colorado i saw what would be a regular midwest rainstorm and that Flooded the entire town.

Here is a picture of the grass near my peach trees the only irrigation this has had all year was me being forced to turn on my sprinklers to find a hidden head that wanted to get covered by a raised bed! This has not been mowed since i am being swallowed by work.

Yes my grass grows much slower than yours and i have a lot lower insect pressure which has less to do with humidity and more to do with air pressure and elevation. My environment provides much different challenges than yours and probably what is needed to address this is us increasing our genetic diversity in our trees and breeding things that can adapt to our climate, rather than using more pesticides and more herbicides every year. Where is the end in this. Almost all of those products come from China and Mexico. There is a true reality that we have big changes coming and its not political to mention that there is a profit motive in badmouthing clover and natural methods. You know what happens to Organic gardens if there is a major halt in global trade? Very little. There is power in being self sufficient.


#63

I’m glad for your input, actually. Show the patterns I’m accustomed to aren’t gospel in other parts of the country.

But, apples were blooming first week of April here…and continued for a couple weeks, with a few straggling blooms on late varieties through most of the month.

I still as of right now, have not seen a lot of white clover blooming here. Black locusts are in bloom…where the freezes 19 days ago didn’t demolish them. And I suspect tulip poplar isn’t going to bloom good this year due to those freezes…and maybe another this Friday night.
(Late freeze for sure if that is the case.)


#64

Oh. Sorry!
I just ‘assumed’ that Creeping Charlie was the same thing as Virginia Creeper. Ours has long strong runners. Pull too much without gloves - and it tears up my hands. But, I pull out what I find - when it is dormant in the winter. But, this week - It’s BAAAAAACK! Green and strong as ever. I like to pull as much of it as possible, near the plants’ trunks . . . and have to resort to RoundUp to create a weed-free area past the canopy. I’ve been using a large piece of cardboard, bent into a ‘V’ - to shield the base of the trees, as i spray.

One spring, I looked at a chart of ‘weeds’. I recognized all but ONE - as weeds that I fight here in VA!

It’s a Jungle Out There!


#65

@BlueBerry and @wdingus
I apologize and plead ignorance. :upside_down_face:
Neither of the examples posted are ‘what I have’. I’ll post a pic of it later and add it to this post. Maybe someone has a name for it. Strong, tough runner that can come to life and reach the surface, even when turned over - from a foot or more deep. Exasperating!


#66

At our local farmers market here in Western Mass, the guy who sells fruit sells no-spray peaches and other stone fruit (and apples and berries, but stone fruit seem to be the main issue here). It’s a small family operation, but they are growing for the market, and they grow nice stuff. (And they’re not the only ones growing organic stone fruit locally, though they are the only ones that I know of that are growing no-spray.)

On a home growing basis, I know a fair number of people locally who grow peach trees without spraying them, or really doing much of anything to them, as far as I can tell. They don’t necessarily get peaches consistently, but from what I can tell, that’s more due to weather and squirrels than anything you could necessarily spray for. (Unless you consider a BB gun a form of sprayer…)

Just to be clear, I’m not saying this to say that Alan is wrong, only to suggest that there are a variety of conditions within the Northeast. (One possibly significant difference: if I’m not mistaken, Alan has spoken of dealing with a fair amount of clay in his area, where the predominant soil type around here is a sandy loam, so the ground may tend to drain comparatively quickly.)


#67

Virginia Creeper is a vine, has 5 leaf segments, and some get it confused with poison ivy which has 3 leaf segments typically. Va. creeper is perhaps most common in Va…as there’s even a trail that attracts tourists in Marion, VA called the Virginia Creeper Trail. (Not been myself.)

And it is EDIBLE!!! So, have a salad and don’t be so determined to eradicate it.

Now, if you have something else, besides “parthenocissus”…might not be edible.va%20creeper


#68

First of all, not all business people are completely ethical and in the ag sector, the same stuff goes on as in a larger scale in big business- people are people. Cornell has worked hard to develop an organic fruit industry in the NE and to my knowledge do not espouse peach growing as a viable commercial operation in this regard.

If your guy is certified organic than likely it is, if it isn’t certified it’s unlikely, by my reckoning. Yes, on years where there isn’t rain in the few weeks leading up to ripening, no-spray peaches happen, at least until brown rot settles into the wood, especially if the trees are surrounded by lawn. Certain varieties also are more resistant to brown rot than others, especially old-fashioned varieties.

I have a very dedicated organic grower friend (spends half his time gardening and grows vegetables for our local food bank) up the hill from me and he has had no peaches for the last 3 seasons because it’s been wet. 4 seasons ago he got pristine peaches.

Try to find a single NOFA certified farm in the northeast that grows peaches and let me know what you come up with.


#69

So let me preface this, Alan, by saying that I defer, in general, to your much greater expertise. I’m just describing my own local observations and deductions. I’ll try to give a little more detail below so that people can evaluate my thinking for themselves.

So, to be a little clearer, my guy doesn’t particularly advertise his fruit as being no-spray. Like, there’s no sign saying, “No Spray Peaches” on his stand, just a sign saying peaches however much a box. (Along with apples, raspberries, etc.) I happened to read a piece about his family’s orchard online and it mentioned in passing that they were growing their fruit no-spray. Assuming that the information came from him, I’m inclined to believe it. (I think I may have asked him about it once, but I can’t exactly recall.)

Why am I inclined to believe it? Partly it’s that I consider him to be a stand-up guy, based on our interactions over a number of years, so I don’t think he would intentionally deceive someone who asked about his growing practices. (And for what it’s worth, his family has been running their orchard since the 80s.)

Partly it’s because he doesn’t particularly advertise the fruit as being no-spray, nor, from what I can tell, does he charge higher prices than local peaches generally go for. Lower than some places, in fact. So, while I understand where your skepticism is coming from, this isn’t a case of implied-purity-at-a-premium-price. (While this is partly speculation on my part, I’m guessing that he MIGHT be growing no-spray partly to minimize overhead, because it seems like a minimum-overhead operation all around. Setting other considerations aside, he might have concluded that he’s better off growing the peaches he can grow without spraying than he would be spending the money it would take to spray what would remain a marginal crop climate-wise.)

Partly, it’s because the quality of the fruit seems consistent with what I understand to be the challenges of no-spray orcharding in New England. Like, it’s visibly less pretty than fruit from local orchards that practice IPM, which from what I can tell, is what most of the still-pretty-small-but-comparatively-larger places around here do. And sometimes, when the weather doesn’t cooperate, there may be no marketable fruit at all. Still tastes good when it’s there, though.

And partly it’s because the possibility of growing stone fruit without spray on a SMALL scale seems consistent with other local evidence. For example, our next door neighbors had a couple of peach trees for many years. As far as I can tell, they did virtually nothing with the trees: didn’t spray, didn’t thin, largely didn’t prune, and the trees (of a variety they didn’t know) were placed in a less-than-optimal spot for sun and ventilation. Nevertheless, on years when they didn’t get frozen out, the trees bore a pretty sizable crop of fruit, much of which dropped into our yard. As far as I could tell from picking it up off the ground, the fruit was largely sound (not rotted), except for the chunks that the squirrels had taken out of it.

I know several other people around the neighborhood who have peach trees that they do just marginally more to take care of (still not spraying), and when the weather cooperates, they get a good amount of fruit that they appear to enjoy. Is the fruit as good as the fruit that you or Olpea grow, or as good as your customers (of different kinds) might demand? Very doubtful. That being said, it’s not super uncommon for people where I live to grow not only no-spray but to all appearances minimally cared-for stone fruit that they consider worth growing (granted, of course, that it’s not super common for people to grow fruit at all).

Considering that my Fruit Guy is considerably more skilled and knowledgeable than my neighbors (and let’s be honest, me), I find it plausible that he could be growing the fruit that he grows, on the scale that he grows it, on a no-spray basis.

All that being said, New England is definitely not California, and from everything I understand, peaches and other stone fruit are not a super reliable crop here. I would imagine that an effective spray program could mitigate some (not all) of the hazards involved. However, my personal observations suggest that in this part of New England, spraying is not absolutely necessary to grow fruit that some people would consider worth growing, eating, and in some cases paying for. (Understanding, again, that we are talking about growing on a small scale and for what we might call a sympathetic audience.)


#70

I’m just trying to keep the info here legit and hearsay may be interesting, but I question the usefulness of stories passed through secondary sources- it’s just a waste of space. Anecdotal stories from direct experience are problematic enough, but that is the point of the forum experience, and I’ve learned lots from other people’s experiences. However, I do like to hear it from the horses mouth or pretty soon this forum will be much less useful- essentially a fruit gossip forum.

I do know what happens to peaches on my property if I don’t spray- crop failure is what led me to the spray program I use. I also have lots of experience with clients attempting to grow peaches organically and usually losing the crops to brown rot, so switch to surround and a suitable synthetic fungicide.

These are scores of stories accumulated over the last 30 years and you have this relationship with someone who has a completely different experience, but it isn’t your experience and it’s not something duplicated by anyone you can find on the internet that commercially grows peaches in the northeast.

How about you trying to grow no-spray peaches and share your experiences with us.


#71

You could surely classify it as a spayer in my yard. I have a fully automatic bb gun that i converted to hook up to my compressor. It does spray out over 4000 bb’s a minute.


#72

Are you talking about not spraying anything at all, or just spraying materials which are certified organic? A lot of university research has been done on organic spray programs for tree fruit in the Northeast but I don’t believe I have seen any research on “No Spray.” Sometimes these two methods are confused, especially by people who don’t grow stuff. Most of my customers would describe no spray and organic as the same thing but we all know they are not. I have seen small amounts commercial organic tree fruit produced even in a hot/humid climate like mine but I have never seen any “no spray” commercial tree fruit.

Edit: I should have mentioned that the commercial organic fruit was sprayed more frequently than the conventional fruit. The apple/peach PHD in my state has a big poster of the organic grower on a airblast sprayer in a thick mist of spray that he uses in his presentations.

Also I have 600 apple trees that will receive no spray this year to see if they will be suitable as pig food. So far the trees are full of fireblight, PC, and rosy apple aphids. The lady beetles are really working on the RAA so the final results will be interesting.


#73

Thank you buddy, I Believe there are alternatives and I am not saying it is easy but i do believe it can be done. Alan made his mind up a long time ago on natural techniques and there have been incredible advancements in organic and less invasive agriculture but its hard for people to change what has worked for a long time for them which is understandable. Europe raises food much more sustainably than us and does this in areas that have high humidity. Definitely the negative with organic sprays and treatments is they are much more expensive and take more time to be effective.

I wish we could have a natural farming program that focused on sustainability ecology wise as well as keeping detectable pesticide,fungicide residue off food and yet allowing farmers to easily use fertilizers correctly and pesticides if they are having a large insect outbreak etc… Something that focuses on peoples safety and positively affecting the environment the way proper farming does.

The standard practice that we use hardcore pesticides before the insects show up and wipe out all the predators, When we use pounds of herbicides each year all we are doing is raising herbicide resistant weeds and pests.

Do you think you guys children can keep up this farming technique into the future?


#74

Richard, he is not talking about organic methods, he’s talking about no spray whatsoever- And it is second hand info.

I know the pressure put on people who use pesticides and see people in the spray business lying all the time- using a pyrethroid and calling their methods organic- whole companies like Green Cross. Richard’s friend may be growing some very brown rot resistant fruit in a wide open site with lots of wind- who knows. But he may also be responding to social pressure.

I just find this partial information to be more confusing than helpful.

I didn’t make up my mind a long time ago, and I offer my customers an organic program- it just doesn’t work well for stonefruit. Now I have customers that are completely organic and they’ve gotten a few peaches, but not crops of peaches. The ones who are truly successful add a synthetic spray to the mix which we do just once and have success.

I found this out because I keep trying and if I simply followed Cornell’s guidance I would never have even tried to get stonefruit with a single fungicide spray.

How the hell do you think we tripled our population in the last 70 years? Is that something you consider “natural”? It wasn’t through organic gardening and a lot of it had to do with synthetic nitrogen.

I don’t think our farming is what’s most threatening us, except that we produce enough food to keep adding humans on this planet- another 200,000 today alone.


#75

squirrel machine gun! lol!


#76

Cue Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner…

blueberry: In the case of my Fruit Guy, the article said “no spray,” but you’re right about the way people use (or confuse) that term, and so it’s possible that the writer meant “only organic.” Similarly, I suppose that “commercial” could mean different things to different people. I’m using it to mean “growing fruit for the purpose of selling it,” even on a small scale, but I can see how other people might be thinking of something different. I can see how there would be a gray area. Like, if you put a bucket of fruit out by the road with a jar for people to put money, does that mean you’re growing commercially? To my mind, though, consistently selling at local farmers markets qualifies as a form of commercial growing.

In the case of my nearest neighbors, “no spray” really meant “no spray”, and as far as I can tell, like virtually no care. And yet, the trees appeared healthy, they bore a sizable crop of peaches when they weren’t frozen out, and the peaches appeared to be sound albeit squirrel-munched when I picked them up out of our vegetable garden.

Alan: I understand where you’re coming from and like I said, you have way more experience and expertise than I do. And of course it’s important to weigh the quality of the information that you’re getting. Like I said, I tried to be specific in my own post about what I was saying and the grounds I had for saying it, so that people could evaluate it for themselves and take it for what it seemed to be worth to them, given their own situations and desires. I’m not claiming that it applies to you, or your location, or your clients, and I’m perfectly happy to concede that it doesn’t. I certainly wouldn’t expect you to look for fruit-growing advice from me!

That being said, other people may be in different situations and have different perspectives. For example, your friend up the hill apparently gets (as you say) pristine peaches one year in four growing organically, and presumably he’s happy with that or he would be doing something different, whether trying different methods or not growing peaches at all.

That’s similar to what I’ve seen with my neighbors: some years they get peaches and some years they don’t, but when they do they seem to be happy to have them. And with my Fruit Guy, sometimes the weather treats his peaches well, and sometimes it doesn’t, but apparently he finds it worth his while to grow them, and many people (by small farmers market standards) find it worth their while to buy them.

And for what it’s worth, I am growing a peach tree (Madison) that I’m not currently planning to spray, for a variety of reasons. It had its first flowers this spring, which promptly got snowed on. If the tree doesn’t work out, it doesn’t, and I’ll do something else. (Like, probably cut it down and plant something different.) But whether it works out or not, I’m making a rational decision based on my observation of local circumstances and my judgment of what makes sense for me.


#77

I have been to dozens of meetings designed for commercial growers in my state where one or more entomologist made presentations. The recommended practice is not to wipe out the predators but rather target the major pest with a selective insecticide in a way to conserve most to the beneficials. Then allow the beneficials to control the minor pests. Insect counts in pheromone traps and degree days are also used to target the first generation of many major pests. Chemicals are expensive and even growers who are not especially sensitive to the ecology are sensitive to reducing their use in order to reduce the production cost, but in a way that will produce fruit that will meet current grade standards.


#78

What I’m saying is that gossip may contain truth, but in general, does more harm than good when trying to provide useful information on a forum. We have lots of members in all parts of the country and, so far, no one in the humid region has proclaimed satisfactory success with unsprayed peach trees that I’ve read.

Now if your neighbors who have enjoyed their crops want to chime in, I welcome their first hand experience and the opportunity for some follow up questions for clarification, but second hand anecdotes are not something I find the least bit helpful.

It has nothing to do with my “greater” experience, it has to do with what I consider to be useful and practical.

He’s happy to come to my house to get my inorganic fruit. Fact is he wants me to spray his apple trees with synthetic fungicide this season because for the last 2 years they’ve defoliated very early from Marsoninna leaf blotch and also wants a single synth app to his peach crop- unless the weather finally dries out when ripening approaches.

Very few people are satisfied with less than 50% yearly crops, unless they planted a single peach tree as a lark and never tend to it. But that’s not what this forum is about because such people have no need for information.

My friend doesn’t have enough data to determine how often he might get sound fruit without fungicide. 4 years ago he got his first real crop.

One may get fruit for many years before certain pests arrive. Brown rot is in this group to some extent. Once it gets in the trees it can be much more difficult to control. That is what happened to Scott and it’s happened to many of my customers.


#79

James, although speculation on both my and your part, I would view the above information as evidence the grower is not no spray. No spray peaches are so rare (and so desirable for a lot of people) that not advertising it on his fruit booth would seem incredible to me. Even a cardboard sign mentioning it would be enough to charge more, and increase demand.

While we are mentioning anecdotal stories, I have one. There was a commercial apple grower in Overbrook KS whom I had met. He had a successful commercial apple orchard (with some other fruits like blackberries). He had a stroke and sold his successful operation.

A lady and her husband bought it and in a couple years converted it to an organic operation. I was interested, so I followed the operation on their blog. They tried all the new trendy methods (i.e. special nutritional sprays, wild areas, etc.) and had a host of production problems.

My daughter took an organic farming class in her undergraduate studies and interviewed the lady for the class.

Long story short, they never could get a consistent amount of saleable quality fruit. Another grower close to the organic apple farm said that they were getting customers from the organic farm complaining about the quality of the produce. The organic farm failed. Now what was once a profitable producing orchard is now abandoned.

Richard,
Imo, it’s one thing for someone with a “zero synthetic pesticides” philosophy to suggest only growing commercial crops which can be grown without synthetics (peaches, blackberries, cherries would be a non-starter here). There are people who can grow a few things without synthetics and market them in their rainy areas, if they can find enough demand for those things. Mostly though, it would mean corn/soybeans and possibly wheat, and livestock here.

It’s quite another to suggest that if commercial growers of conventional fruits (peaches etc.) would just work harder/smarter, or spend a little more, they could grow these fruits without synthetics, without offering any real proof it can be done in that area.

Of course there are isolated cases where backyard growers in humid areas have success growing a peach tree or two in their backyard without any sprays. But, I’ve also read more than a hundred times (on this forum and previous fruit forums) how new backyard growers in humid climates want to try to grow peaches without synthetics, only to be dismally disappointed after years of hard effort with no fruit. Not to mention, I’ve had scores of my customers tell me of their failed efforts of trying to grow fruit without synthetics.

Imo, it does new growers a disservice on the forum to raise the expectation bar so high that they expect to get fruits like peaches with no synthetics, if they would just “do the right things” (plant wild spaces, companion plants, etc.). Sure they are welcome to try it, as long as they expectation set is realistic - very low (I’m speaking about wet/humid areas, not dessert areas.)

I’m immune to all the “no-spray” hype because I’ve lived through it and seen it re-packaged for a long time. As they say, “The man/woman with experience is not at the mercy of a man with an opinion.”

I have experience, but unfortunately many new backyard growers who come here have none. They don’t have the fruit experience to discern the clearest path to success vs. ideologies likely to produce failure.


#80

Nothing much to add here except to lament my three peach trees that I tore out this spring. I grew them No Spray for 4 years and had 2 bearing seasons here on the humid, wet shores of the Chesapeake. I got 1 edible peach out of it everything else was lost to a horrifying onslaught of mummification and insects… But damn if it wasn’t the best tasting peach i’ve ever eaten!

I don’t like spraying so i’ll simply stick to stuff that can handle it moving forward.


#81

I’ve tried to refrain from talking about growing peaches on the topic about spraying clover :grin:

But I do have personal experience growing a few peach trees in humid central MA. My area is over an hour east of where James and the growers he mentioned live. He is probably in a high elevation, too. I do not know pest pressure there and how humid it is in the summer.

I have grown peaches since 2010. The first 3 years were great. Perfect fruit, no spray. Then, PC, OFM and brown rot have moved in permanently. This seems to be the same experience many have had around me.

I have 3 people I know who grew peaches with no spray. They all gave up now because they do not want to spray. One still has edible fruit as she is willing to cut around worms and somehow she has not too much brown rot on her seedling peach tree. The other two had both worm infested peaches and brown rot on top of it.

When anyone ask me if I could advice them on how to grow peaches, I ask if they are willing to spray. If they say no, I advise them to say no to peach.