Just been out to my cider orchard to witness the devastation that fruit leafrollers have been doing (haven’t done any spraying this year due to family stuff). While most seem to be tolerating it (probably 50% of leaves impacted), some of my more disease prone varieties, Kingston Black in particular, have lost all their leaves to it. Its the biggest problem in my orchard. Other than a thick application of wood chip mulch around my trees and regular pruning, the trees are left to their own devices for the most part. I have lots of golden rod, queen annes lace and red clover in the orchard to encourage predatory wasps etc, but the damage is clearly too much for them to impact.
I’ve been talking to other orchardists and getting their opinions on solutions, and they’ve come up with a few organic suggestions that I’m eager to apply (other than surround, which isn’t practical with the number of trees (100+)). Essentially horticultural oil on the dormant trees before bud break, Spinosad at weekly intervals for 6 weeks over the early post flower stage of the growing season, and supplementing with foliar sprays of Neem oil and all season horticultural oil thereafter in an alternating pattern, as my understanding that you can’t tank mix them. BT is also an option I’m considering.
If you are a grower with a similar high level of fruit leafroller pressure, and use similar tools to combat it, what sort of spray schedule would you advise for next season? I’m particularly concerned about damaging my very strong native bee population in the orchard, and several of these options are clearly a concern in that regard. Thanks!