Pacific Northwest Fruit Growers

Just stopped by my local PCC, they have the GEM avocados in again this year! Some people say they are the best avocados. They do have a nice “meatiness” to them that’s absent in Hass, but sometimes they can have more noticeable fiber strands.

The mangoes are starting to look pretty good too, but they usually disappoint no matter how nice they look.

98278, Whidbey Island Resident.

Red hot pokers available (in October) for trading. What yard flowers/bushes can you trade?
Yard beavers love any small plants. Bees and Birds love mature plants.
Wife likes flowers, I like digging in dirt.

Northern Lights Garden store has good dirt prices (not an advertisement, just my dirt supplier).
Nothing grows in my yard without new dirt.
Too many renters used weed killer, like I did, before I learned not to.


After removing all the nests in my apples, cherries, and plums, I thought I had the tent caterpillars under control…until today’s mass exodus from the towering alders. The once pristine fruit trees are now dripping caterpillars!

I sprayed with BT today and put Tanglefoot covered bands around trunks on the stand-alone trees. Most of my trees are espalier, though, so lots of climbing options for caterpillars. Tomorrow I might try Neem mixed with BT. If does not make a dent, I might escalate to Neem mixed with Pyrethrum.

From the look of the tents in the alders this invasion is going to be going on for weeks!


I have been spending the last week picking caterpillars off my trees nonstop. I’ve probably stomped a thousand of the things. BT has accomplished very little although it might have helped a bit. I tried to buy some more BT today, but it is sold out everytime (now on waiting list).

I seem to have put a bit of a dent in the numbers on one neighbors side by getting permission to cut a 3 foot buffer zone in the bush all the way along their side of the fence. That was a ton of work in the heat for the last 4 days, but it seems to finally have helped keep the numbers down along their side of the fence.

On the other side the numbers are starting to drop because they were active sooner. The apple trees on their side of the fence have been stripped of all their leaves as they did not spray or burn the nests. It’s still pretty ugly with caterpillars, but I’m keeping the damage down with constant vigilance. The trees will survive, but I’m sure I’ll lose some of my successful grafts as they can’t take much abuse. I’m thinking of starting grafting again with the remaining scions I have in the fridge, because I figure at least they can’t strip wood wrapped in parafilm that hasn’t popped yet.


A few more details re: Western tent caterpillar:

One of the main predators of Western tent caterpillar (Malacosoma californicum) is a native species of parastoid Tachinid fly that lays its eggs on the caterpillar’s head. If you are out hand squashing, it’s good to leave those caterpillars to nature. Granted that spraying BT is a sledge hammer …so I may have inadvertenly killed some of those. The egg is shed when the caterpillar molts, but the fly is already developing inside the caterpillar.

Adult moths emerge from late May to early August, peaking in late June and July. Both males and females are strong nocturnal fliers and, during outbreaks, swarms of moths are common. They are attracted to lights at night.



BT only harms caterpillers, bees, wasps, and other insects are not affected. The problem with it is that it is not an instant fix. I’ve read it can take 1-5 days for them to die after ingesting it. My infestation is finally getting a little better. Good news at least, the neighbors with the full size apple trees (non residents) showed up this weekend and started burning the nests on their trees. Better late than never.

Hopefully the worst is over for me, keeping fingers crossed.


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My frost peach is behaving differently than the last 4 years. Instead of getting bad curl, defoliating, then regrowing, it just held back. What I mean is as its leafs got curl, it just stop foliating. Now about 6 weeks later, it is setting leaves seemingly curl free. But the weirdness is it seems to have a second round of flower blossoms as it’s stalled leafing appears to resume the last couple days. I thought I was crazy but those are a round 2 of flower buds. They are popping up all over the tree. Completely out of nowhere the last 48hours.

It had a lovely floral display early spring right along with all my other peaches. So weird. But here is the weirdest. It set quite a bit of fruit from the spring flowers. The most fruit yet, that look happy and healthy and not stunted (compared to years 1-4 and my other peach fruit sets). Like yeah, get excited that looks like fruit, and not baby tree “pre fruit” as I explained to my kids the last couple years on the younger trees. They are heaviest on the branches that are like devoid of leaves, so weird. There is 40-50 peaches on there. Before all I got was 2-3 inedible runts from the young frost tree. Anyway, here’s the pics:

PS, don’t worry the fibers you see are just the neighbor’s cottonwoods snowing on everything…

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Saw Bag worms in my pine tree, so I called my Bug Guy (too high for me to reach).
They dead.
Now I am looking at the other trees for signs.
Summer 2021, I made 350 cups apple sauce, 1/3 on ground left for bees and yard beavers, and 1/3 picked for a friend. Last year we got 4 apples, total.

I’m new to growing/spraying fruit trees. I purchased Lime-Sulphur, Kocide 3000, and Surround WP. Problem is they don’t come in small quantities. Given the usage rates for home gardens are tiny amounts, I don’t really want to hang on these large quantities.

Happy to share some if anyone is looking for these chemicals in the Portland Metro area. I am south of Portland in Clackamas county.

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I am seeing this marks on a few leaves on my Frost Peach tree. Does anyone know what kind of disease is this?

Perhaps fertilizer or salt damage?

Thanks. I have been fertilizing the tree with 1 table spoon of Stark tree prep fertilizer (22-24-12) in 2 gallons water every week. Can this damage the tree even when the fertilizer hasn’t come into contact with the leaves?

Has anyone tried growing the AMBROSIA apple yet? Ambrosia have been one of my favorite apples since I first started paying attention to apples and the different varieties ( I had only ever had the grocery store apples at the time and Ambrosia was by far the best available apple in grocery stores). All the Ambrosias that I’ve ever had have come from the Okanagan region of BC (where they were first grown and are primarily grown) and depending on where I buy them from, I can get some of the freshest, juiciest and best tasting Ambrosias.

Anyways, I live next to the ocean just south of Vancouver and was able to buy an Ambrosia apple tree a few years ago from Home Depot. Over the years I’ve only gotten a few apples and they were small and did not taste and look much like the ones from the Okanagan. I know that the tree was very immature and the fruit was probably not harvested at the correct time, but has anyone had success growing large, tasty Ambrosias on the west coast in a backyard setting? I know that Ambrosias were only recently made available to the public so its possible not many people even have mature Ambrosia trees yet.

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Can you post a picture of your 12 year old tree. I am curious to see how big it is to be able to provide that many peaches.

I had the enjoyable experience of speaking with Michael Dolan of Burnt Ridge nursery today. He is going to be selling Pakistan mulberry fruits in the Olympia Farmers Markets starting this year! If you dont have trees or your trees aren’t producing as much – definitely get them from Michael!

One thing about Pakistan mulberry he mentioned – no fertilizer, no water, no mulch. Basically make the tree suffer. This will cause it to go dormant early so less winter damage. Also will cause it to go into more of a fruiting mode.

I added a few seed grown Chilean Hazelnuts (Gevuina Avellana) from Burntridge. They are very tough to raise when young but apparently they are like a temperate (Zone 8) version of Macadamia nuts! Even their leaves look like Macadamia leaves.

Good call. I ripped out my Pakistan mulberry cause it died to the ground two years in a row and I’m not interested in dealing with that kind of delicate.