Re- evaluate bagging fruit. When is it time to quit?


#1

I know about strong chemicals. I’ve tried to find other approaches to protect my various fruits. This post may be for those who are like-minded.

I am in central MA where humidity is a problem. I have Oriental fruit moth, plum curculio, coddling moth, stinkbugs, apple maggot flies, etc damaging fruit. Brown rot has been an issue, too.

One of the approach I have used for the past 3-4 years on stone fruit ( more years on apples) is bagging.

Apples and pears - Plastic ziplock bags. This is the first year I have seen sunburn spots on some apples, russetting in pears, excessive moisture trapped in most bags. I removed all the bags from pears since they mostly can fend for themselves. I removed some bags from apples that show sunburn stress.

Peaches, plums- I have tried three kinds of bags.
Clemson paper bags: needs refinement of putting them on efficiently. Jury still out regarding if ripe fruit will rot or not. Several bags flew off the trees. Bags that had tears or not applied tightly, had bugs damaging fruit inside.

Organza bags: so easy to put on. If bags touch the fruit. The fruit are doomed. Bugs lay eggs through the bags.

Customized perforated bread bags: easier than Clemson bags to apply. Can apply on a whole branch. Bug damage- same as organza bags.

In addition to pests, brown rot is a serious issue on stone fruit where I am. With bags on, it is not possible to spray effectively against brown rot. Spraying through the bags, so far, get a poor result.

At this point, I may abandon bagging. Stick with Surround, Spinosad, sulfur, and a few sprays of Indar. At least, if any fruit survive bugs, I don’t have to worry about rot.

Your thoughts and comments are welcome.


#2

I never considered bagging because of the volume of fruit. Plus I probably would knock off more than the squirrels. If you’re trying to say fruit is hard. Yup it is very hard. Expensive too, my fruits are probably worth 20 bucks each as it seems to cost that much to produce them! I marvel at the commercial farmer. Amazing!.
I just bought a handful of parsley for 89 cents. I’m going to dry most of it, way more than I need for dinner tonight!


#3

Volume of fruit is a good point. My bagging is usually around 4-500 fruit.

I don’t think I need to say growing fruit is hard esp. anywhere outside CA. If it is not, we would see fruit trees in every backyard :grin: like where I came from.

My point is to see if anyone faces a similar situation has creative ideas about protecting fruit that requires less chemical. @scottfsmith has been a role model but I think he still loses a number of fruit each year.

I don’t count squirrels as they need an elimination approach.


#4

I wish I could here. Yes, a good thread, I’ll be reading it for ideas too. I keep thinking one giant tree bag! A greenhouse!


#5

I have similar experience. Plastic bags with perforated holes do not protect from PC. On apples plastic bags cause sunburn and premature ripening of the sunny side. So far only hand made bags from the frost protection fabric work good. PC and the other bugs do not get through the fabric. The bags should be tighten very well or earwigs and ants still can find the fruits. It is hard to see through these bags, but the change in color is visible. I have no brown rot this year, we are quite dry, so I cannot say about this issue. They might be less attractive to the birds and squirrels since they do not see the fruits.


#6

Maria,
Could you please post the pic of the material and where you got it from. It could be helpful to others.

If I bag stone fruit next year, I will spray Indar instead of Immunox ( this year) before I bag. Indar is a lot more effective on brown rot than Immunox.


#7

Sounds like row cover material. Cheap too!


#8

It was a roll of heavy duty frost protection fabric bought in Greenhouse Megastore (I think). I made about 120 bags last winter to try. It looks like they hold good against elements. Here is the pictures of the bags.

Here is the picture of Nadia fruit with the damage that happened before I put the bag on it.


#9

Manuang, I can’t imaging bagging 4-500 fruits! My hat is off to you.


#10

I am sure there are peopke who bag more fruit than me. One of my favorite former posters, Jellyman bagged thousands. He had a funny line saying he bagged so much, he dreamed bagging :grin:.

I bag over several days. I consider bagging therapeutic. In good weather, I am in the middle of my orchard, surrounded by producing fruit trees, bagging away. Most of the times I enjoy doing it. Weird, right :grin:


#11

Those look great! You must be a good sewer huh? Are there any bags like that pre made that can be bought?


#12

I remember Jellyman, he was there when I first discovered fruit forum in Gardenweb.


#13

Yup, the very knowledgeable, very funny Jellyman. He is one of my favorites. I miss him. Also, I bagged plums en masse, one branch, one bag. That covered 10-20 fruit in one bag!

@Antmary, thank you very much for the pics. Those bags look so professionally made. This could be your side job sewing bags and selling them to us :joy:


#14

Yes I like to sew, but in the modern world it is not worth the effort to sew the clothes and many other things. The fruit bags are easy to make and I do not know any places where you can buy them online. I kind of enjoyed it during the winter thinking about the fruits that I will bag with them. I am not sure they are the best, but so far I like them better in all regards than plastic bags.


#15

After part of one fruit season using surround/neem spray I don’t see a problem getting a large amount of quality fruit with this method assuming your willing to take the time to keep the fruit covered after rains. Adding neem appears to extend the life of surround on the apples and pears. I’m still working on a good approach to getting quality stone fruit but I haven’t given up on the challenge.


#16

I bought these cotton cloth drawstring bags in early 2015 and use them for the third season now:
https://www.packcoinc.com/product.php?productid=74&cat=0&page=1

One thing I would like to mention, early in the season when earwigs are very active, they will use these bags as their hiding spaces where they can get protection from predators, eat and breed. So if you use these bags, protect against earwigs by putting a layer of tanglefoot around the tree trunk.


#17

Growing fruit where we live is almost impossible without chemicals. I got to a point where I bagged hundreds of apples and pears, then netted the trees. When it got to that point I was frankly fed up.I would go to the orchard, find the netting ripped apart, and hundreds of opened baggies strewn all over the lawn. Fruit missing, all of it they didn’t even leave me a pit or a core. I was doing nothing wrong, the pests had just taken over. Kill the pests, next solution? Killing squirrels with the tube trap has been a success. But after my surgery it was very difficult for me to net anything. My father always said to me, ‘If its hard you’re doing it the wrong way’! He is right. When we move I will be living in the land of apricots, peaches, figs and citrus. My favorite fruits. Oh yes and cherries. I will not have to fight the birds or squirrels. Stone fruit is such a challenge to grow in RI, that apples and pears are the way to go. But they are not my favorites. Never fails!


#18

I am having the case where my bagged fruit (nylon footies) are showing more scab and it even looks like a few have moth damage. Not worth it if that is the case.

After 2 years of spraying all the time in the spring for scab and PC I am thinking of going to synthetics for scab. I already went non-organic with several sprays for JB’s and a spray with the Bonide product that has Pristine fungicide in it. The lambda-cyhalothrin in that product had a very long lasting residual for me even now that we have had over 5 in of rain since I sprayed it.


#19

No Birds or Squirrels in France? :bird:

@Antmary I’d be willing and I’m sure others might also be very happy to pay you for your time/bags


#20

@Moley, I have to think how much it would cost and is it worth my time. Lets return to it in the autumn or winter when I am not so busy. I can make the instructions how to make the bags if somebody wants to try it.