Low Spray Synthetic Short Version

This is to be used after you read my longer version. More materials are listed there. I thought it might be useful for a quick reference. Keep in mind that this is only fully tested in the northeast and as you go further south more protection and sprays tend to be needed, maybe further north, even less.

1st spray Horticultural oil and myclobutanil fungicide at highest rates. Usually best applied when trees have started growing but a couple days before blossoms begin to open. Generally before buds show any white or pink, but a peek of color is OK. Apply oil at 1% unless you are spraying pears for pslya, then you may want to go as high as 3% at very first green, or just before that if you need to control pear blister mite, which, in my climate, is rarely more than a cosmetic pest.

2nd spray- generally essential. Captan and Myclobutanil at highest rates tank mixed with new formula Sevin (pyrethroid) or one of the other insecticides listed in long version also at highest legal rate.

In my climate I can wait until last apples have dropped most of their petals and are no longer attractive to bees. The main insect pest at this time is plum curculio and they consistently wait until at least a short stretch of warm weather to really feast on fruit.

3rd spray 10-14 days later Same as second spray except its better for stone fruit if you replace myclo with Bonide Infuse.

Peaches and plums may need a single spray of fungicide to help control brown rot in mid-summer. Mix the Infuse with Captan at highest rates. My app time for this is usually from July 7th to 14.

What I have to say about organic production of fruit: At a few sites I get good results with Surround and now believe 3 sprays 9-10 days apart starting at petal fall works fine most seasons. Before I thought a tighter schedule was needed. Unlike Scott’s warnings, we don’t return every time there is heavy rain and it just hasn’t been a problem so far. That kind of persistence is very difficult when you are personally handling spraying for over 50 orchards (I have other companies doing half the spraying of orchards I manage).

The best Surround results occur with also using some synthetic fungicide, but a couple of clients have been pleased with results without that, but they don’t grow Euro plums or nectarines and the peaches tend to be fuzzier varieties.

Instead of Infuse, I use Indar or Pristine mixed with Captan. If all you have is Captan you will probably need to perform more sprays, but I cannot offer insight on least you can get away with… guidance for commercial growers usually involves much more frequency of sprays than I have found is needed in home orchards. The problem I think with Captan is that it has no ability to kill existing infections and so commercial growers around here usually keep it on the plant all growing season until harvest with bi-weekly sprays over the summer months.

Another legal insecticide possibility to receive through mail from suppliers like Keystone is to combine Avaunt and Assail in the tank. Assail has some kickback and is stronger against fruit bugs than Avaunt. However, the label states that Avaunt can only be used on fruit intended for sale, so at the time you spray I guess you have to intend to sell at least some of it. Hmmmm?

These are packaged for the commercial market but probably will last in cool storage for at least a decade, I figure (without evidence, but they are dry formulas).


Thank you very much for posting this Alan,
You have helped many of us over the years.


I have been truly blessed with the good fortune of being able to make a career of managing “home” orchards, which has provided my family amazingly good food, our modest home with a few beautiful acres of orchard and nursery, and work I seldom am bored by. The least I can do is share anything useful I’ve learned from 50 years of drawing my living this way or from other plants.

Your communicating appreciation is one more blessing in the process. Thank you.


Thanks @alan your guides are always very helpful and appreciated! I am going to use it as a reference for my spray program this year!

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Apparently Infuse IS labeled for peaches and plums, someone on another topic posted a label that permits it.

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I didn’t do nearly as well with the 3 spray last summer as I did in previous years. More than half my apples were no suitable to me. We had a lot of apple fly maggot and probably coddling moth later in the season probably much worse than usual.
I may spray 5-8 times next year.


Yup, apple fly maggot and codling moth come later and sometimes require more sprays. However, AFM usually goes after biggest and closest to ripe apples so if you keep your eyes open you may be able to control them with a single, well timed spray during summer. I have here. CM is mostly a critical problem here with Russet varieties and Asian pears in my experience… so far. .

I’ve also lost entire crops of Indian Free to OFM when I’ve long since stopped monitoring.


I’ve been mostly doing just a 3 spray schedule for about 10 years, or at least since you published these guides. Some years I have had totally clean fruit, other years maybe 20% loss at worse. last summer it might have been close to 75% loss.
I might have to learn how to monitor for these things.


Do you usually do a dormant oil spray in most of your orchards? I haven’t had much issue with fungus or mites/scale as of yet. Not sure if I should be more proactive here. (In Canada we only have copper or lime sulphur no synthetics for fungicide)

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50-50 I’m most inclined to do it where scab pressure is high, or if mite or scale were an issue the previous season.


Keep in mind that synthetic ≠ non-organic.

For example, Kocide (copper hydroxide) is considered synthetic as it is manufactured by chemical processes in a factory setting. However, for several crops it qualifies for USDA NOP.

On the other hand, the consumer product Liqui-Cop which is essentially copper hydroxide dissolved in an ammonia does not qualify. However, it is the less toxic of the two with regard to humans.


I should add that color of flowers I’m referring to is apples. Sometimes the peach trees are showing quite a bit of pink at that point and I used to fear spraying them but have cautiously learned that if they aren’t open hey are not seriously damaged from a light oil. That is the oil itself, not the amount of spray. I have heard of using oil for flower thinning, so I obviously have a lot to learn about the exact potential of damage to open flowers from an oil spray.

If anyone wants to pitch in from their own experience on this I’d love to see it.

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Thank you for this post. I have been researching what to spray…and when… for twenty peach and apple trees in our yard (zone 7A) so this is very helpful. If I understand correctly, I should wait for all the petals to fall off the peach trees …probably next week…to spray. For the apple trees, since it is early in the season and the green buds just started to appear, I should spray with Captan almost immediately. By the way, since our biggest problem is birds and squirrels having a feast the night before we plan to pick everything, we are still trying to find hanging wind reflectors…cheap ones. Twenty years ago, my parents used a twisting corkscrew-type aluminum foil reflector that did the job very well. Cost about $10 for twenty. We hung them on our Christmas tree. Just cannot find anything like it anymore.

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My early business almost died due to squirrels pilfering the fruit of my customers. There was little useful info at the time but I noticed some people around using duct pipe which I found difficult to work with so I ended up inventing this system (not that it wasn’t invented before by someone else- it’s not rocket science). The thing is the trees have to be trained high because the buggers will jump between 4 and 6.5’ depending on I don’t know what. It isn’t state of hunger or anything in the appearance of the more athletic squirrels. Out of over a hundred sites only a couple I manage have or had squirrels with that kind of Olympic ability.

Those things your parent used probably only work when the squirrels have limited interest in the first place… never worked here.

Don’t mix Captan with oil.

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I will just pitch in a little of my own experience. I have done the math and it turns out that both Avaunt and Assail are very cheap on a per spray basis. The up front cost is high, but as you say since they are both granulated they should last a decade or more.
It takes 25 gallons to spray my entire orchard and the cost per spray using rates mentioned here I pay $7.20 per spray for Avaunt and $8.43 per spray for Assail.
For reference Imidan costs me $8.90 per spray.


The only problem is to get control of all my spring pests, including plant bugs and psyla, I have to add Assail to the same tank with Avaunt at highest rate.

For me, money of pesticides is a relatively minor issue- the mark-up for my service is pretty high. The old saying is “prune for show, spray for pay”, but I also get a good wage for pruning. I count on my regimen to protect the fruit regardless of rain in-between, and it has served me well in this regard. I never alter my schedule no matter how much rain in-between.

I’m not sure how much my Tactic sticker plays into the success, and I’m not apt to research that.

I manage many acres of orchard if you add it all up.


I didn’t account for the expense of mixing the 2. When mixing, do you still use the highest legal rate?
Also, do you spray the mix more than once per year? I am currently working out my spray schedule for the year. Thanks

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I mix them both at highest rate and spray trees twice with it if stinkbugs don’t show up in summer.




@alan I wanted to say thanks for your simplified schedule. I was initially discouraged about my hopes of having stone fruit but 2 sprays 2 weeks apart seems to have suppressed the PC/OFM in my yard. I am beginning to see a bit of damage now but 90% less than the same time last year (essentially all my peaches/nects were affected).