My first dormant spray plan

I have read the threads and some we literature on dormant sprays and I am trying to come up with a spray plan and would like feedback on what i am doing is right or wrong.

These are the diseases and pest that I experienced this past year - fire blight on 2 apple trees, bacterial canker on a cherry tree, bacterial spot on peaches (until the squirrels ate them), aphids on my apples trees, plum curcilio and moth damage to peaches. Where applicable I want to spray for these diseases/pests and do preventive treatments for things like peach leaf curl. Most of my trees are young but have 30 to 40 trees (I lost count) and another 20 some trees on my fathers property.

I have apples, peaches, Asian pears, one European pear, one plum and several young grape vines.

Reading the forums it seems that Copper and lime sulfur are the common dormant sprays.

I already have Kocide 3000 (for Copper) and plan on buying Rex Lime Sulfur -

The rates are listed at 10.25 to 12.8 oz per gallon of water for the lime sulfur (Sevin Springs site) and the spray guide on this site shows using 2 Tbsp/gal for Kocide 3000.

Reading the forums it seems that some people also use horticultural oil combined with copper and lime (for dormant sprays only).

For the horticultural oil I plan to use - Monterey Horticultural Oil - 2.5 - 5 Tbsp per gallon of water.

Finally it seems that i should I use a sticker Nu-Film-17 - 1/2 tsp per gallon

I plan on applying when when the trees are dormant (fall) and at green tip (spring) - please correct me if I am wrong on this.

Nothing I read indicates the water ph level matters on these products so i will use straight tap water.

Any feedback on my dormant spray plan would be greatly appreciated.

Looks good. Out here the mixes work best when the spray mix pH is sub-acid; e.g. 6.2. But for your area, rely on the experience of local growers. :slight_smile:

1 Like

Everybody has their methods. I like to use a lime-sulfur spray now, to kill insect eggs, and also fungal spores. I mix it with all seasons oil, trees must be dormant!
I use Kocide late winter early spring. I feel the more weapons the better. Plus they both have their strong and weak points, and you cover those by using both. You mentioned PC and CM, this stuff won’t help with those, but we don’t treat for those till growing.
Don’t use Nu Film and oil together, save the Nu Film for the PC and CM sprays when trees are growing and you can’t use oil. You can use Nu Film instead of oil with copper, but the lime-sulfur works better with oil, so use oil with that. I think people who use oil with copper don’t use lime-sulfur, it is a good idea to get some oil on the tree. It suffocates eggs and spores.

In studies I have seen acidic water lengthens the half-life of a lot of pesticides, I would put vinegar in the water. I use rain water with a pH of around 5.0, The rainwater is very acidic here. Probably from all the pollution from auto factories.


I’m still refining my spray program but this may be useful

I normally spray Lime Sulfur on blackberries and oil plus Kocide on apples and peaches. I don’t like Lime Sulfur and will try copper and oil on the blackberries this year.

Lime Sulfur is very caustic. It has a reputation for damaging paint on tractors, but the ORMI versions are sprayed a lot on organic apples - even for thinning in Washington.

The copper in Kocide is a “fixed” copper and does not need lime. Its safer for the plant than copper sulfate

Lime when added to copper sulfate makes Bordeaux mix. The lime is intended to make the solution less damaging to the plants, but some research indicates it may not.

The best control of Fireblight on apples with copper occurs around 1/4 inch green. If sprayed too early it looses its effectiveness, but may russet fruit if sprayed much later.

A 3% solution of oil is normally sprayed dormant but a 1% solution can be sprayed as late as tight cluster on apples.


Couldn’t open above PDF .

FIrst time I’ve heard lime sulfur is used for thinning apples - good to know

I believe it may only labeled for that purpose in Washington

I prefer lime-sulphur to copper, copper builds up in the soil so its overall more dangerous to use. But copper is the only thing that works on fireblight and bacterial spot, so if you have those you should do at least a spring copper.

As Drew says don’t use nufilm with l/s, there is no reason to as it absorbs into the tissue. It is very important for copper though, and I use 3-4x the usual dose on dormant sprays which keeps the blue copper visible on the trees months later.

1 Like

Is there any reason to do an oil spray if aphids and scale aren’t a major nuisance?

Also I just saw on Keystone Pest Solutions is running a 10% off sale Nov 24-27.

I removed the link and replaced it with another but you have to wade through a lot of text to get to the part about copper on the new link.

Is this still a concern if you only have few fruit trees and only mix half of a gallon of copper?

I thought the new lighter horticultural oils could be used with no harm during any point in the growing season for e.g. aphids, but maybe I’ve got this wrong.

This is very similar to the plan of action I have decided on. I did notice Drew said ONLY WHEN DORMANT in his comments. I am having trouble knowing when dormant is here. I am in Far North Florida, literally only 30 miles from S. Georgia border and it doesn’t appear any of my plants are dormant. Although some have experienced some leaf drop from the older branches all the new from this year is still on all of my trees and my figs still have 125 or so figs some of which ripen every day. I really am having a hard time deciding if it’s time to spray? The days are mid 70’s to mid 60’s now and 40-50 at night…

I believe you correct.

All modern spray oils are more highly refined but not all are labeled for all season use on apples and some may cause problem if sprayed in the summer even at a low rate. The oils labeled for all season use are normally more expensive.

Also, I have seen suggestions that no Captan or sulfur should be applied for 7-10 days after oil which limits the usefulness of summer oil if you plan on spraying those products.

EDIT: found this information on oil useful:


Not really I would say… I have a yard full of trees and am concerned long-term about it.

I usually do sulphur all spring and then summer oil after that. Then I don’t have to remember exactly how long ago I sprayed (its also not 7-10 days, its when the sulphur wears off which seems longer than that sometimes). Plants are more sensitive to sulphur in the heat so thats why I rotate it off in the hot weather. I don’t use Captan but if I did there may not be munch chance for oil.


My head is spinning. I just finshed my third year of growing trees and I am still wonder I g what I need to spray and when.

1 Like

Well, this is confusing. Based on what I read this is my new plan.

For the fall dormant season -

Right after leaf fall (roughly December 1st in Virginia Piedmont)

  • Lime Sulfur mixed with horticultural oil
  • Four weeks later -Kocide 3000 with Nu Film sticker

For the Spring dormant season/bud break

Kocide 3000 with Nu Film sticker - Per BlueBerryHill - The best control of Fireblight on apples with copper occurs around 1/4 inch green.

I do not know how else to do Kocide/Lime Sulfur during the dormant season if you cannot mix them together.

I mixed Lime-Sulfur with Keocide3000 them last December (z5 New York) with oil.

Trees were leafless.

No damage to trees


Not yet, mine still have leaves. In a month you should be good, but feel free to send photos for opinions. Once you know when, keep a log of this stuff, so next year you can plan ahead. The reason only while dormant is sulfur and high doses of copper will kill all the leaves, otherwise they won’t hurt the tree, so it’s not that big a deal. So if it has leaves but is not growing, it should be fine to spray.

Thanks Drew…I am SUPER busy this time of year…I work for a very big Wine and Liquor distributor so i have to really plan my time. Even Weekends since we work them through New Years…SOOOOO I will probably spray right after Thanksgiving since it is slow the day or two after…Thanks again