So I saw my neighbor unloading a few fruit trees today. (Big box store style 5-gallon potted trees.)
I don’t know the specific varieties, but she said she has two cherries, one yellow, one red, two apricots, one multi-grafted apple, and says she will get a plum or two.
…and she is planning to plant them just on the other side of the fence (20-30 feet) from my Japanese plums, beach plums, blackberries, and romance cherries.
Should I be worried?
Part of me likes the idea of more available pollination options, and welcomes people growing fruit in general, but there is always the disease/pest angle. She says she doesn’t want to spray anything other than a mixture of cloves/cinnamon. (anyone heard of this?) I don’t want her trees to become a reservoir of disease only a couple dozen feet from my own.
I am in Fairfax County Virginia, just outside Washington DC.
I have used cinnamon on ants, it worked very well actually, so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised it might have more general applicability. I wonder what would happen if I mixed some finely powdered cinnamon into Surround.
I would spray mine and never miss a beat next to the fence. All my neighbors grow some kind of fruit and i’m surrounded with wild fruit trees. You will see disease from time to time. Fireblight and blackrot have no respect for cinnamon and cloves. I would save the spices for my pears when I harvested them.
One major pest we have here are squirrels… incredible numbers of them that will strip entire mature trees of fruit. One upside to more fruit in the immediate area is that hopefully it will spread their attention around some and perhaps help to overwhelm them.
My squirels live in the woods for now and eat non edible osage orange fruit. Something close to my woods is fair game. They have natural enemies here such as coyotes, bob cats, hawks, owls, eagles, feral cats to name a few that keep there numbers in check. People eat them here as well. I never have more than 1-2 squirels on my entire property. I don’t see many eagles and never saw any eat squirell but have seen them eating roadkill within 1/4 mile from my house. I mostly see eagles eat fish but I bet a tree rat would be a tasty morsel if an eagle ever caught one in the open. The hawks mostly eat snakes, rats and mice but again a rat with or without a bushy tail would he hard to pass up for them.
You don’t have to assume that she’s going to bring pests in just because she attracts them,especially if you keep spraying properly. As long as you can make sure she understands cleaning up infected drops and trimming, perhaps she’s volunteered to be your trap crop.
My neighbor have 4 young peach trees. She is a good gardener, but she doesn’t spray (yet). As far as I know she did not get any peaches last summer, but her peach trees spread OFM and I cannot keep up with it, some times I think that fighting OFM is completely useless, since it just fly back to my garden from her peaches all summer long.
The story line is clear here, its been told many times.
She is confident on how cloves and cinnamon are going to cure all ills.
Yup she is right, for a few years she gets great fruit with her minimal sprays. That neighbor Mike is just wasting his time, what a fool.
Hey the fruit is rotting and there are these worms in them and all the little fruitlets are dropping! The sky is falling!!
“Neighbor Mike! What are you spraying there?”
Re: cinnamon/clove, I think there are oils that you spray, not the powder. My impression is those oils are somewhat effective against small pests like spider mites and aphids, but are not going to dent a curc or a moth. There are few studies but here is one for moths:
The clove and cinnamon were almost as bad as the control, they did do something but its going to take you from 95% damage to 90% damage. The study does get better results from some of the other botanicals, permethrin in particular. The garlic/pepper/cloves combo did almost as well as permethrin. Even with permethrin the % incidence was 33%. Also note these were leaf eaters - OFM/CM are untouchable by botanicals once they are in the fruit so are much, much harder to control.
In terms of your own trees, its not going to be good if she is the a source of a large population of moths and curcs - it will make the control task harder for you. Similarly for brown rot, cankers, black knot, etc - if she is not paying enough attention you can “catch” all sorts of diseases from her trees.