Low-Impact Spray Schedule (2019 Edition)

We will be spraying peaches, pears, and apples this year. VA zone 6b. If I understand correctly, the best spray timing probably means spraying these at different times as they bloom at different times – or-- with a sticker (Nufilm I think is what we have) would it be ok to spray all at the same time? I feel a bit stupid asking this question, but I have sometimes seen on other websites mentions of spraying (esp. copper) at intervals from silver tip, bud break , to petal fall…am I missing something? Is dormant spray meant to be done several times, or not (assuming it didn’t rain immediately after the spray). My husband will be doing the spraying this year and I need to have it clear to tell him what and when. lol

If I am understanding your guide correctly, you do not use copper on any of the fruits listed, not even pears unless you’ve seen serious fireblight the year before? Last two years we used copper in dormant spray (only fireblight I saw was blossom strikes on apple variety I’ve now topworked); we purchased lime-sulfur for this year. I should add we did not spray in fall so I don’t know how that will affect what we need to do now. I have attempted to choose varieties listed as fireblight resistant based on reading on this forum and elsewhere-- both in pears and apples – but will admit I’m nervous about not using copper. I don’t want build up though.

Any advantage of copper on peaches vs. lime-sulfur except for leaf curl (which I’ve not experienced at this point)?

And, is pruning AFTER spraying concerning (i.e. open wounds not covered with spray)…the apple and pear trees will be pruned prior to spray but I was thinking of waiting till almost or in-bloom on the peaches because we are prone to late frosts. (despite that meaning more spray to use on wood we’d cut off later).

You can do your (single) dormant spray all at the same time, as long as bloom has not started on anything you will be good. Closer to bloom is better as the nasties have started to wake up a bit and will be more shocked.

These days I usually use copper in the spring on peaches and apricots only. I don’t have fireblight problems. Peach leaf curl is not a problem for me so I don’t spray for it.

I always prune before spraying but not sure it matters much.

Is there a fungus problem on the Apricots?bb

Thanks, Scott!
You have provided so much good info in this one single post. I have a Beauty plum for 3 years now, but I never sprayed anything on it. PC got most of the fruits. I only pick whatever left, but the fruits are already very good. So this year I plan to spray the tree following your schedule. Hopefully will get much more and better fruits. I am also adding a few plum trees this year because the fruits are so good and the trees are so beautiful.

I do have a question - I heard it’s more difficult to grow apples than plums. Is it true? By looking at your spray schedule, it seems not that bad. It seems almost the same effort (if not less) as growing plums. I am thinking to try one or two apple trees, but always thought it would be too difficult (too much effort) to get decent fruits. Another factor that stops me is that CAR is a big problem in my neighborhood because there are a lot of cedar trees nearby. I see the spots on the leaves of the crab apple trees and other hawthorn trees. All over them. I walked around in the nearby communities and saw many different fruit trees, like pears, persimmons, jujubes, but did not see one single apple tree. The funny thing is that VA is a big producer for apples and all the articles claim VA is a good place for apples. So I am really lost. Maybe just good for commercial growers?

For me apples are a bit easier… no brown rot or black knot! CAR I spray for, but it only needs one spray per year. People might be skipping on apples due to CAR but it is one of the easier things to get rid of.

Nova, I see a lot of apple orchards out my way in southwest VA, 6b.Some are for fresh eating, others for making cider. What part of Virginia are you from?

Thanks, Scott!
Good to know CAR is easy to deal with. I will look into apple trees as well. At least give it a try. I was always wondering how difficult it could be.

Two years ago, I read the article by Lee Reich. It left me a very strong impression that apples are very difficult to grow (to get decent fruits) on the east coast. That’s why I never tried.

Hi, Rosdonald,
I am in Northern VA. Fairfax county. I don’t see any apple trees in nearby neighborhoods. I actually see a few peach trees, but no apple trees. It’s very odd.There are a few orchards 1 hr from me and they grow apples, peaches etc. But they are commercial growers and I am sure they know how to handle all the pest pressure. I just don’t see anyone growing apples in their backyard here. A lot of persimmons. I even saw a wild one by the road actually.

I’m in Northeast TN with most of my family hailing from Southwest VA. This comment caused me to look at your profile, shows Brownsburg. We’d call that more west central Virginia :wink: Lee/Scott/Wise/Russell counties are “southwest” :smiley:

Point well taken. I work with fellow pharmacists from Giles and Tazewell. I grew up in Wytheville, so leaning to SW virginia.

1 Like

Scott, I’m sure you answered this 10 times by now but I can’t readily find it. When do you spray for CAR? I am going to break my organic spray protocol this year for Gold Rush and the CAR. Large cedar trees just next door make me believe it will be impossible to control without spraying. I purchased mycolbutanil for this purpose.

The usual time is right after petal fall. I may include it in the next tank after that as well for extra insurance.

1 Like

I read in several places that sulfur should not be combined with horticultural oils in a spray. Do you know what happens or if this is an issue?

This is for non-dormant sprays only. The leaves will get burned if you combine them, but in dormant season there are no leaves so it is fine.

1 Like

Hi, Scott and everyone,
I have 2 questions regarding spray and hope you can help me. Thank you in advance!

  1. PC on Plums
    Below photo shows the current stage of my Beauty plum. Should I start the spray for PC now? I got Malathion for it. I have never seen a PC on the tree before, but I did see a lot of damages.

  2. Cedar Apple Rust on Crabapple
    Below photo shows the current leaf development on my crabapple. Is it time to spray to control CAR?
    I got Serenade Garden AGRSER32 Disease Control Effective Organic Fungicide for this. You mentioned you used myclobutanil for CAR. Is it much more effective than the one that I have? I just wanted to start with something organic and see if it works.

You could start now but I would wait until the shucks split - a couple weeks more. Spray at dusk on a warm night before the fruits are fully exposed.

Serenade is not super effective for CAR. I used it before I switched to myclobutanil. It may have helped some but some trees still got it badly.

Thank you, Scott!
I will follow your advice!

I would not spray insecticide now, you still have relatively fresh petals/bloom on the tree. I would think there would be potential to kill bees. I may be a little paranoid - I do not like spraying fungicide on full bloom trees but i do it begrudgingly.


Thank you! Point well taken.

Below are two photos taken yesterday. Is it a good time to spray for PC now?

1 Like