Re- evaluating bagging fruit

I never thought I would say, I am not surprised.

Mrs. G.,
Here are plums on perforated bags. This is the first year they have suffered from heat and sunburn in the bags.


The weird thing was I have two J plums, Early Magic and this one (lost the tag). Early Magic hardly got burn. This one has serious damaged. I lost almost 50% from sunburn/heat.

@Auburn do you have plums? If so, do you bag them.
I took bags off all plums because we have had 90+ for a few days now and will be over 90F today and tomorrow, too.


I had a few plums but I was a bit lazy and didn’t bag them.

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Oh Tippy, that is so sad looking. And the squirrels are not touching the bags it seems. That I would be grateful for. The heat wave in France has now been extended for another two weeks. I have no AC. We stay indoors and do not move. Watering my trees, is actually a real treat. We both cool off that way! Your plums are just plain sad. I know how hard you work. My apples are on hold right now. No growth. I think they are waiting for cooler weather. They have not even started to russet.

My tomatoes have not done well this year, Only the small cherry types.

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This tree is in the front of the house. Squirrels usually raid the trees in the backyard first. This year I have seen a lot more bunnies than squirrels. They are in every yard everywhere. They are bad for my watermelons.

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Aggressive birds peck through these nylon bags then the bugs enter.

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Squirrels chew off the stems of my bagged apples and carry them off. Sometimes I do not find them, other times I find them with large portion of apple eaten.

@danzeb ,
You have aggressive birds. I usually see bird pecks on unbagged fruit. Birds can peck small, unripe fruit as well as ripe ones. Birds are my worst enemies for cherries, not to bad on other fruit.

Squirrels are serious pest. They chewed through organza bags, plastic ziplock bags, etc.

I use better quality bags, a tough nylon kind on my Euro pears as I like my E pears and don’t have many. Squirrels can still did damage to the fruit.

@Vlad squirrels took a lot of fruit with them. Sometimes, they managed to get fruit out of the bags, took the fruit and left the bags behind.

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This year I carefully sprayed half of my goldrush tree and left the other half unsprayed. On each half I randomly selected approx 25% of the apples to be left unbagged, and bagged everyting else in a ziploc with the bottom cut off. The spray was Bonide fruit tree and plant guard which contains the disease spray known as Pristine, and also an insecticide. I don’t really need the insecticide, but I do need the disease control. In the past nearly all of my unbagged goldrush apples have succumbed to bittor rot. And pristine is supposely very effective against bitter rot. I sprayed once per month starting in late may - that’s four sprays, which is the max allowed per year according to the label. I used nufilm 17 as a sticker. So there are four treatments: (1) bagged and sprayed, (2) not bagged and sprayed, (3) bagged and not sprayed and (4) neither bagged nor sprayed. Here’s the results showing the percentage of apples in each group that came down with bitter rot. The numbers are the number of apples receiving each treatment.
rot test

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Thanks for the report

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What happened on the sprayed bagged? Why more rot? Did the fruit have a chance to dry before they were bagged? What do you think contributed?

Excellent info.

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The larger rot % on bagged and sprayed could be random statistical variation but I doubt it with these decent sample sizes. More likely is that it’s on a side of the tree that’s worse for rot. The spray side ended up being more on the west side so no morning sun. If this is the case then the effectiveness of the spray is even more compelling. It could also be because of the spray effects. The sprayed side had a lot healthier foliage due to suppression of foliar disease, which probably increased shading and drying times. I should mention that even though the bottom of the bags were cut off very little if any spray got on the bagged apples. In a real replicated study with replicate trees or reps of blocks of trees then a lot of these sorts of variation would probably wash out.

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The spray was effective enough that I think I’m going to drop the bagging and just spray. I may also do half the tree once per month and the other half every other month. If I could get 90% control with only 2 - 4 sprays all summer I’m on board. I think I’m also going to include surround to reduce sunburn. They seem to get more burn in the bags but even the non bagged ones got sume burn too.

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Thank you for doing this experiment and sharing the results with the rest of us.

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Keep in mind it’s only 1 tree in 1 year so making inferences for some other tree of some other variety in some other year is a stretch. That said, these results are consistent with informal observations I’ve made over the last few years, so I’m more confident inferring what to expect from this tree in the future. And there’s is plenty of research on the effectiveness of pristine, but still I was surprised to get that much rot suppression by spraying once per month with as much rain as we get here. It’s nice to get some data on bagging performance even if it’s only n=1.

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Pristine 38WG is virtually an indispensable fungicide. It works on Scab, Powdery Mildew, most rusts, Brooks Spot, Sooty blotch and fly speck, Black rot and white rot and of course, bitter rot. Hence, I would agree with the results stated above. One thing to mention - it is easy to mistake BMSB damage in the late season for bitter rot and BMSB’s are hard to control without RUPs like Lannate. (Belay, Danitol, Brigade, etc., also work but Lannate is the surest kill in my experience and Lannate is a hard core RUP.) But this experiment seems to reduce that likelihood of mistaking BMSB damage for bitter rot given the way it was conducted.

I would stress following spray bulletins but out by each state’s Land Grant University. In between Pristine applications you can use Ziram 76DF, Captan, and Captan mixed with Ziram and Topsin (very effective control with the last two mixed together). Now these are fairly serious pesticides, so care is a good idea. Good thing is Captan and Ziram are less expensive (almost cheap), but watch the PHI on Ziram and be very careful how you measure and mix Topsin. Oh - Manzate Pro Stick early on (mixed with other stuff) is also a good step - I use it because it stays on vs. tradition Mancozeb.

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