Need Help With Organic Apple Care

I’m still trying to figure out how to take care of my apples organically. First few years on my Fuji were no problem. Apples came in and were amazing. No spraying. Last couple years I have been grafting on to it and another apple tree, and it’s been very disappointing with the apparent moths moving in to wreak havoc on the fruit. This year I’m going to try neem and perhaps hang a few tanglefoot balls on the two apple trees. Any suggestions/links? I’m in West Jordan, UT (Zone 7), so perhaps some locals might have some pointers.

My feeling is the best way to do this organically is bagging them. Yes it’s work, but If you only have 2 trees this shouldn’t be that big a deal. I find it much less of a hassle than trying to use a ‘less than effective’ organic spray.

1 Like

Can you give me a little more detail? What types of bags? Where do I get them? Any links, etc.?

Thx much!

Hey Rob,
There are many postings on bagging fruit. Just go to the search icon on the upper right and type in what you want to search.

1 Like

Yep, there are many postings describing the different bags people use. I myself use a cheap ziplock bag, which is reusable for a couple seasons. Others worry about the leaching of plastic byproducts into the fruit but, meh. You should be able to find something that will work for you. I put the bags on at the same time while I’m thinning clusters.


I watched a video of someone putting panty hose on them. Any idea where I can get them in bulk pretty cheap?

1 Like

How about these?

I note most user comments describe using them on apples and not for their intended purpose.


Bagging can work very nicely, no doubt, but oh, my it’s tedious!. I manage to handle codling moth pretty well on my apple with well-timed sprays of organic Spinosad, sold as Monterey Garden Spray and Captain Jack’s Deadbug. I wouldn’t hesitate to put Spectracide One and Done on my tree up to a month, I believe (check and follow label instructions) before harvest, but haven’t been using it the last couple-three years because improperly stored it goes to pot in a hurry, and you can’t be sure it didn’t sit in a hot semi for a few days. Heavy and frequent doses of Surround (kaolin clay, ultra-fine powder) is found to be useful by quite a few. It makes the trees look ghostly and it has to be washed off of the fruit, but it is completely inert and acceptable to all in the organic community.

Speaking of tedious: Surround is an inorganic compound because it contains no carbon, but it is “organic” in gardening!

Good luck and have fun.

1 Like

In your climate you could do pretty well with spinosad alone, its a virus for moths that is reasonably effective and a lot easier than bagging.

If you are looking for footies, the Surround soaked ones are supposed to be better. The source for them is on our sources reference page:

This also has suggestions where spinosad etc can be purchased.

Also if you didn’t already catch it you might want to look at my low-impact spray schedule in the Guides:

Your climate should have fewer pest problems than I do so you should need less in terms of sprays than I do.

1 Like

I would not say the Surround is completely inert. It is NOT safe to breath that stuff.

Its completely non-toxic, but like any inert powder such as chalk etc it can irritate if you breathe enough of it. I for one have breathed a lot of it over the years and never had any problems at all. The company recommends a mask but I would say thats only needed if you are the guy loading 20 bags into a massive commercial sprayer or something like that. Overall, I would say its perfectly safe for backyard growers.


I spray with Surround from petal fall until the apples are big enough to bag. I have to wear a mask while bagging or the dust bothers me.

1 Like

Just read the MSDS and it turns out you guys are right. Surround is completely safe.

1 Like

This is probably a common refrain from me… but, if you want to go to organic methods, and you think codling moth is your major pest, you should really invest in a trap to track catches. Once you establish that CM is out and about, you can track degree days to know when to put down your spinosad spray.

Use Surround to repel the moths and Spinosad to mop up on the ones that do lay eggs on your trees, and add a pinch of MSG (sold as Accent in your grocery store’s spice aisle) to your water to increase the CM’s ingestion of spinosad coated leaves.

Here is what I used last year to bag about 50 apples. I’m debating whether to do it again this year. I will probably do about the same number of bags, but they will be spread out over more varieties (knock on wood). Here we still need to put down surround and sulfur at the end of bloom and later to drive the plum curculios over the the neighbors’ crab apples and to protect against scab. I haven’t had any trouble the last few years staying on top of scab with sulfur applications that I make after rain washes it off.


Thanks much! That looks exactly what I need for 2 trees!

Not that I really follow it but the science is very nice. South Salt Lake here, you’ll find that some apples are much more attractive to moths than others. Arkansas Black, Stayman aren’t much troubled. As for the Neem ( other than foliar feeding all I sprayed in '16) it seems to really help with powdery mildew. The un coated footies have worked fine for me but with full size or multiple trees it is a bit of work. Have fun, Tom

1 Like

Someone reviewed: “Used to cover apples after blossom drop to keep the apple maggots off; they ate right through it. Of course, the maker didn’t intend them to be used as gardening…I’m sure they’re great for their intended purpose.” Others had better luck.

I also have 4 pear trees that are just beginning to bear, and I think I’ll try it on them too. I’ll probably try the spray when my trees get too big, but for now, this really looks like it is worth a shot.

Not sure if you saw Levers101’s response below, but he referenced this, which looked stronger: Scott also mentioned soaking them in Surround. This sounds like a great idea!

This seems like the best way to go for the footies with Surround:

Absolutely! Here we have a county extension service that is very good at keeping this information available through their website and the “Pest Alert” hotline.