New here! Advice on fruit spray please

Hi this is my first time here. I’m a frequent visitor at Houzz fruit forum. Somebody referred me here. I’m a new gardener right outside of Philadelphia. I have 3 fruit trees. One peach, one Apple and one grape vine. I’m looking to control bacterial spot on peaches and black rot in grape. I just planted the apple tree few months ago so I don’t know what to expect there. I wanted to find info local to me and looked this up with Penn State extension. Below link is for a pdf on fruit growing in my area. On page 107 it says to spray copper on peaches while dormant. It only mentions copper once. Does that mean I only spray copper once? Also should I spray the Apple tree as a preventive measure? I have never sprayed my trees before. I just bought Bonide copper 811 fungicide 4E. Waiting till leaf fall. Any info on how many times to spray this copper would be appreciated !

Copper is typically sprayed twice a year once in late fall after leaf drop on a nice warm day and once in spring before things start growing. I would recommend wearing gloves and a mask when applying fungicides and pesticides. Fungicides such as captan are hard on the eyes and work great on preventing black rot. Not all grapes respond well to certain sprays so you might read this prior to spraying anything Sometimes people want to use sulphur as a fungicide as opposed to immunox or captan and it’s good to know how that affects grapes. The organic approach is slightly different than the chemical approach so before we go a lot further which one will you be using? In Kansas I use chemical fungicides and pesticides primarily. Some people use methods very different from what I do in this high pressure area. You might enjoy some older posts on the subject eg.
Dormant Spray and Copper Spray
There are many other posts if you type spray in the search section by the magnifying glass at the top of the screen. Believe me what your after is in there. I think the simplest advice I can give is most sprays require application every 7-14 days depending on the sprays. It’s best to use more than one type which prevents pests from building up an immunity. I would highly recommend you read through Scott’s low impact spray schedule
Low Impact Spray Schedule (old version)

Thank you for your reply. I’m definitely going the organic route. I tried no spray and it didn’t work out. Now I’m thinking I’ll do the least amount of spraying to get some fruit. If anybody else in east coast area does organic fruit growing successfully please let me know your spray schedule. I’ve done a lot of reading online and even more confused now. Looks like you need to have ten different bottles of sprays and spray the heck outta trees to get a decent looking fruits. I’m not looking for grocery store looking fruits. I’m ok with imperfect looking but edible fruit. I started out with a tree full of peaches and grapes this sprig but end of summer I didn’t get to eat even one fruit. All lost to diseases and pests. Very discouraged :frowning:

Hi Susu, if you look at my guide you will see I do about 6 sprays per year so its not that bad. The one bit of bad news for you is that grape black rot does require many sprays to grow organically in our climate. I tried for about ten years and eventually gave up. I got plenty of grapes but I was having to do biweekly sprays all summer long – what a pain! This was with vinifera grapes, if you have a highly rot-resistant hybrid grape you may be able to do better. Copper is the only organic control for black rot. Its also not the most healthy thing to spray, I feel some synthetics are safer than copper. I now use a synthetic, myclobutanil (Immunox) for black rot. All it requires is one spray per year and I do pretty well. The toxicity on myclobutanil looks better than copper and is not retained in the soil (that is the main problem with copper, long term it adds more and more copper to your soil and can eventually kill worms etc). Another option is to switch to muscadine grapes, they are native to the south and the modern varieties taste very good. I now have about half muscadine and half hybrids (mainly Hope Joy Gratitude). Muscadines can do OK with no sprays at all.

Hi Susu,
We may have communicated earlier by email.
I’m not sure if there is Peach Leaf Curl in your area,but it is where I live.Spraying some form of Copper is probably the most common defense used.
I have a Nectarine though,that has been infected every year no matter what was used,even Chlorothalinol,which is suppose to be the strongest chemical a hobby grower can get.
We get a lot of rain during the dormant season,so it’s possible that more applications are necessary.
I may also try using a PVC frame with plastic to cover the tree,just before the leaves start growing in the Spring.

PS If we did talk about scions,I’m still waiting for leaves to drop,to see what I have to remove. Brady

All the advice given are really good.

Just want to let you know that Scott Smith is the best person among us here to ask about growing fruit an organic way in the east coast.

It can be very overwhelming at first. I suggest you start by reading the Low Impact Spray Schedule that @clarkinks linked above.

Familiarlize yourself with the products Scott suggested. Determine when to spray what. Make a list of what to buy. Use this winter to read up the Reference category.

If you miss the copper spray this fall, that is OK. The spring copper spray is a must if you want to protect your peach tree against peach leave curl, a very commom peach disease. It helps with other things, too, as it is fungicide and bacteriacide.

You have only one peach tree and one apple tree ( grape is a vine). You may feel that it is a lot of investment for two trees. However, most people here started with one or two trees and have gone up to many in a short few years.

What are the varieties of your peach and apple? Peach is self fertile, apple is not. You will need to plant another apple tree that can cross pollinate your apple tree or learn to graft other varieties onto your tree.

Lot to learn. Don’t get discourage.

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Scott, do you just use Immunox for grapes or has it replaced copper completely for all your fruits? Thanks.

I don’t use nearly as much copper as I used to since I am trying to keep my soil healthy. Some years I use Immunox on my apples for CAR, and other years I use only sulphur/Serenade. The only copper I still use is a spring dormant spray on my stone fruits, its been a big help for bacterial spot. I don’t have any real reason to spray copper on apples or pears, it is helping against fireblight but it is more or less under control now that I removed all the bad varieties.

I don’t think its too hard to grow apples and pears without any synthetics, but stone fruit and grapes are much more difficult. Its the brown rot on the stone fruit and the black rot on the grapes that make it so hard.

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I’m glad Brady told me about this site in our email exchange! Great info. I’m reading through low impact spray schedule, very useful info. Specially the links to the products are great. I don’t think I have a lot of bug problems. The main bug problem I have is Japanese beetles. Those I hand pick every morning. Other than that I haven’t noticed any borers, stink bugs, moths or anything else mentioned in that thread. Do you think I should still spray pesticide to prevent? Or should I just focus on disease control for now? And maybe just spray neem to control any minor bug issues that might come up?
Also should I spray the apple tree even though it was recently planted and no known problems yet.

I have peach Elberta, grape Reliance and Fuji Apple. I don’t think any of those varieties are resistant to diseases.

For pollination I can’t get a new Apple tree. I have one more spot in the back yard that gets part sun (no full sun anywhere) and that spot I’m saving for a pear tree. So I’m going to have to graft on to Fuji to get a pollinator. I know I’m being very ambitious for somebody with 2 fruit trees and got couple of years gardening even less in fruit growing under the belt :blush:

I’m determined to get at least few fruits off the tree/vine next summer. I have two kids (4 and 2.5 yrs old) and they are already helping me with gardening. I want them to have a delicious reward! I have a good feeling about next year.

Thanks again for all the info and encouraging words!

If there are crabapples in your neighborhood, they will pollinate your tree for you.

Also, learning to graft is intimidating at first but once you do it, it is easy. Aplple and pear grafting is the easiest. Look up grafting videos by Applenut of Kuffle Creek nursery and by a British guy named Stephen Hayes. You can study those video in the winter. I don’t know how big is your tree. You may be able to graft your tree next spring. Private message me if you want apple scionwood. I send some to you as a gift.

Re. Bugs, you won’t find any until your trees start bearing fruit. They WILL find you ( and your trees), Trust me. No need to spray for bugs until then.

In the spring, before bud break, spray copper on your peach tree to prevent Peach Leave Curl disease and on your Fuji for fire blight prevention ( not that effective but you have the spray in your hand already).

Spray Myclobutanil ( Immunox is the brand I use) on you Fuji when it leafs out and about two weeks after that. Fuji is susceptible for fire blight. Watch out for that. I think you should have enough coverage for your peach and apple trees for next year. If your peach flowers and fruits next year, you will need to spray for bugs.

Can’t tell you about grape. I do not plant it.

Susu, usually the plum curculio will show up the first year you get fruit but there is no need to spray until you get fruit. It can show up later than that if you are lucky but if there are crabs around there are probably curcs in the crab ready to pounce on your apples. Moths sometimes take longer to show up but again the crab probably already has some. So, no need for bugs sprays until you get fruit, but at that point I would start up because its always a battle to keep the numbers down. A few bugs leads to a few more bugs, more bugs leads to many more bugs!

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Thanks Scott. I’m going through your thread about spray schedule and typing up a schedule of my own. I will post it here to get feedback and hear if that’s enough spraying to get good fruit.

Thanks mamuang I’ll take you up on your offer.


Can you put in your profile the state where you live? It’s helpful to know as people in the same zone but locations may have different pressure from pests and diseases.

I added my location. Hopefully it is visible now .

While we’re on the subject of spraying. I recently noticed some blackening of the tip of some top branches on my fairly young Loquat tree from seedling. Don’t know what to make of it.
What is it and what kind if remedy could I use?

Susu, you should check the guides category where I posted my low spray schedule. I spray much less than Scot but rely on synthetic controls. IMO the media presents an irrational picture of the dangers of using a limited amount of such materials to produce fruit. I can and have made my case on this subject many times here and back at your other forum and if you contact me privately I can show you some pretty convincing data on the subject.

For grapes you can defeat rots with two early sprays of myclobutanal- sometimes just one. This is done when grapes first lose the petals of their tiny flowers so no material is actually used on well formed grapes.

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I agree Alan a little chemical can prevent a lot of problems. I’ve learned the hard way myself. This is a right up I did on amazon for captan “I effectively use Bonide Captan I bought from Amazon for black rot in grapes (among other things) and have for years. I prune off diseased canes every year and burn or dispose of them. Taking great care to pick off mummified berries is critical. I don’t have many diseased canes or mummified berries now but I once had a huge problem. It depends on how much it rains because the disease spreads during wet weather. By pruning the grape plants to a more open top I can effectively reach the spray areas better and they dry out quicker. Since rain spreads fungal disease such as black rot I ensure I spray prior to rain but never directly after rain. The new growth from last year is partially left on during pruning because it produces my grapes. I make sure and spray my first application when the grapes first start to bud out (pre bloom). Spray mine every 7-10 days during the critical times. Black rot is easy to identify by the round brown spots on leaves, mummified fruit, lesions on vines and of course the fruit is beautiful until it starts to ripen and then rots instead.I’m not advising you to follow the methods I use but rather do your own research and maybe my review and Captan will help you get some grapes.” Something I did not know would happen that did is that I completely eliminated black rot with a rotation of immunox and captan and cultural practices. I did not spray some of my grapes last year at all and had no blackrot. Blackrot is a tough disease to beat organically in my experience. I grew the grapes spray free until it arrived. Seedless concords and seeded concords in my experience are highly resistant to disease. I bring this up because in my experience grapes such as red canadice taste very nice but are not disease resistant in my location. Once susceptible grapes get disease it will spread to the others.

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Thank you Alan and Clark for the experience on synthetic fungicides. I’m reading up on those and came across below pdf. It says captan can cause cancer in humans. Any thoughts? Not trying to open up a discussion on organic vs synthetic. I am trying to stay organic but discouraged when no fruit that way. Just wanted to hear if more experienced growers have no cancer concerns when it comes to captan and other non organic methods.

I consider all pesticides as potential cancer causing agents. One must decide what risk one is willing to take. Wear protection. The word organic can be dangerous as many organic products are still poisons and should be treated with extreme caution. The exposure during application is the problem. Once used they soon breakdown. Captan btw is very ineffective if mixed with water with a high pH. I always use rainwater with it. In general most pesticides have a longer half-life if mixed with acidic water. At least in the studies I viewed, and experience of others here too. I used it for grey mold on strawberries, as it is about the only agent that works on grey mold available to the homeowner. It didn’t work at all, then I was told about the acidic water, and tried it and it worked extremely well.