Spray schedule for a mixed backyard orchard


I am attempting to improve our backyard orchard management. For a bit of background, we purchase a home in the countryside with established trees, a mixture of apples, crabapple, pear, peaches ad what I believe is a plum (based on bark and leaves, it has not flowered the two springs we have been here). Last year’s apples had codling moth damage, some cracking and deformity from what I believe is apple scab, and were covered in a black sooty film that was just a cosmetic problem because it came out with washing. I am learning about different control options. We purchased Chlorantraniliprole (Altacor) for the moth, and I am thinking of buying dodine (Syllit) for fungus control. The extension office website recommends spraying the insecticide at petal fall and ten days later. My question is, can you tank mix dodine and Chlorantraniliprole? Does this twice a season schedule seems reasonable? I am not sure since we have several apple varieties and other fruit trees.

I also have an ongoing discussion with the husband about one of the recommendations. The extension office says to pick up the fallen apples to reduce moth population. Hubby says it is pointless since they are moths as can fly from nearby crabapple trees in the area. What is your view on this?
We are in central-eastern Illinois, zone 5B.

Thank you!


Hey Ana! Have you read through @scottfsmith’s various spray schedules? He has put together some organic based approaches as well as synthetic ones.

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Where are you located? Knowing your location esp. state and county is helpful to know your pest pressure.

Not sure if chlorantraniliprole will be effective against the pests you are facing. The pesticide and the fungicide you mentioned is not commonly used by members here.

Hi Ana-

I also live in Central Illinois and I have apples and cherries (both sweet and tart).

I am not familiar with either of the chemicals that you have listed. I don’t think they are commonly used by backyard growers in my experience. For fungicides generally backyard growers use Captan, Immunox or Indar. For an insecticide currently the new Sevin formulation is favored. Perhaps either @alan or @Olpea could comment since they both have a fair amount of experience with chemicals used commercially.

Spraying a combination of insecticide and fungicide at petal fall and 10 days later is a reasonable place to start but you may need more sprays. I would advise you to add a third spray of fungicide only in the Spring before bloom. Take a look at Alan’s synthetic spray for a starting point.

I would think you have a reasonable chance of making the three sprays work well for the apples and pears in central Illinois if you’re not concerned with the sooty botch and fly speck which is the black sooty residue that washes off and is really only a cosmetic problem.

Peaches I expect will need more sprays in addition to the three mentioned above during the time the peaches are close to ripening. The extra sprays will be needed to control brown rot on the peaches.

Picking up dropped apples will help reduce the population moths to some degree and it is commonly recommended. It may not be practical if the size of the orchard is large or the percentage of apples dropped is large. If you get good control of the coddling moths with the insecticide the number of drops should be reduced significantly and it will make it more practical to pick up the smaller numbers of apples on the ground.

How large are the trees you have and how many trees do you have?

The sanitation idea is standard issue from university guidelines. I manage many orchards that have unsprayed trees in nearby properties, and have never noticed increased pressure from those unsanitary trees. Nor have I noticed a difference in “clean” orchards and those with lots of drops and leaves on the ground, although that doesn’t mean it doesn’t make some difference. However, the 2-spray approach usually does a good job here in NY but I don’t understand your idea of using Altacor unless you happen to have it for other crops. I would want something that controls a wider range of insect pests, such as Avaunt or even Asana.

Do you know what your range of pests are? Is plum curculio in the mix?

If you are buying commercial pesticides from a supplier geared toward farmers, they may offer some free consultation. In my business I use somewhat different materials than I prescribe in the spray program in the link above, where I’m trying to help people with small orchards.

Coddling moth can continue to be a problem into the summer, but where I live, damage is not substantial if it is controlled in mid-spring- except with Asian pears. Every site is different, especially between regions. Usually a shorter growing season means less pest pressure- at least in humid regions with rain throughout the growing season.

I’m glad your cooperative extension is endorsing a two insecticide spray schedule. I don’t believe it was prescribed until recently and certainly wasn’t when I started managing home orchards in S. NY 30 years ago. If you have a link to that recommendation, please share it with us.

I do this with oil for about half my customers, I think it reduces scab pressure at worst sites but don’t recommend it for most of my customers that are on limited budgets- at least before scale or mites become a problem- or scab. Scab on apples can be disastrous but a sprinkling of CAR is tolerable. When it is so bad it causes defoliation it is not, but the two spray should stop that from happening.


I’ve not used Altacor, but have used Belt (before registration was revoked) which is in the same class of insecticides. The unique mode of action on these insecticides does an outstanding job on lepidoptera moths (i.e. codling and oriental fruit, leafroller moths).

I won’t go against your local recommendations on timing, but two early sprays of any insecticide would in no way control codling moth here. I’m sure the idea behind the program is that good control of the first generation will control the second generation. Here, we are far enough south, and have enough rain, heat, and insect pressure during the summer that a spray at petal fall and one cover spray would possibly control the first generation, but it’s the second generation which really gives the wormy fruit you see near harvest.

Like I say, I wouldn’t go against the local recs, but I’d be a bit surprised to see it work in central IL. Central IL is only a state away from where we are, and the climate is pretty similar with possibly a little less heat and slightly less summer rain.

As Alan points out, Altacor isn’t going to have much activity against plum curc, which is a major pest against stone fruits (perhaps the number one pest for stone fruits in the Midwest). Plum curc, can do a lot of damage on apples, but it mostly just makes them real ugly (lots of corking to cut off).

I’ve not used Syllit. It’s not labeled for brown rot on stone fruits, just for blossom rot, and it’s not that effective on that. I think it does a decent job on scab.


I don’t see any reason Syllit would have compatibility issues with Altacor. Altacor does have compatibility issues with copper and Lorsban, but it’s widely compatible with many other compounds.

Mix a test jar first, just to make sure.

It can make apples virtually inedible in bad years here and impossible to store even less damaged fruit. Sometimes it can cause massive apple fruit drop as well. In NY state, PC isn’t nearly as much a problem on peaches for me as apples- the fuzz seems to function as a repellent. They are hardest most of all on E. plums which most years aren’t going to produce edible fruit without spray- unless you consider a worm filled premature ripening fruit edible.

Coddling moth damaged apples are often fine for eating as the worm goes straight for the seeds and often does little damage to the fruit.

Thank you! that was a lot of good information. I got altacor after an internet search, I was looking for something with low human toxicity but still effective. I don’t want to spray something too hot in the yard since we got kids and pets. The pest pressure last year was not too bad. We got apple drop for sure, but still, the trees had more apples than they could hold (I have learned since we are supposed to thin them). Most apples harvested were ok, some had one or two entry points for the moth larvae, but the damage to the flesh was minimal. The one peach tree that produced fruit did not seem to have any insect damage, so I think the curculio may not be a problem. I did not see any aphids or caterpillars causing damage.

Fungal problems We have several apple varieties, no idea what they are, two of them are early (harvesting in August) and mid (late August, early Sept). Those were not bothered by the scab. The only problem they had was that sooty botch film, but that didn’t stop us from enjoying them. But there are a few other trees for which the fruit was completely destroyed. They set, but then they became craked and rotted, with brown spots all over. We did not get a single apple from them.

My backyard orchard is big for me, but not very big in reality, we got around 2 acres backyard, containing 8 apple trees, two peaches, two of what I believe are plums (which have not flowered in the two years we have been here), a pear, and a sour cherry tree (Juliet). Most of the apple trees are mature (15 -20 feet) and were not shaped, meaning they grew in whatever form they wanted. Lots of cross branching and dense canopy, which I understand is not good. I would like to prune them, but I am afraid to kill them. The peach trees and the plums (?) are younger, probably 6" diameter trunk, 10-15 feet in height. I am adding honeyberries as an edge in the property line, Juneberries in the front yard, and a few pawpaws and Illinois everbearing mulberries at the edge of the forest. I think is pretty obvious that I am in over my head. But I am willing to learn and put the effort to manage them well.

I will plan to do more sprays, I was hoping to get away with two but the consensus seems to be that would not be enough. Already missed to boat on the dormant spray. We already purchased the Altacor, but not the fungicide. Should I consider Captan instead, or in addition to Syllit? One consideration is honeybees. My son decided to do apiculture as his FFA project. So now he is the proud manager of a hive. I don’t want to kill his bees.

Thank you for all the recommendations. I’ll update as the season progresses.

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Hi Olpea, thank you for the info! What would a test jar will tell me, whether they precipitate if mixed together?

I will plan to do more sprays every 10 days. It seems almost everyone is of the opinion two will not be enough. I don’t think we had curculio last year. No apples that looked like those in the pictures. I will try the Altacor this year and see if need to switch for next. I already purchased it…

Thank you!

Missed the boat in that one. I will add it to the schedule next year. Thank you!

Haha, looks like the husband wins this one. I may still pick the apples and chuck them into the forest for the deer.

It is possible that Altacor is adequate for your PC pressure, it is supposed to have some activity against it. Myclobutanil would likely control your scab issues if you put it in the tank when applying Altacor. A good spreader sticker might increase the Altacor’s efficacy- I don’t really know about it’s qualities or whether it is locally systemic, but it probably isn’t.

Myclo also is low toxic as are most fungicides, but even less because it it concentrated and sticks where it is when allowed to dry for about an hour.

Consider learning how to graft and changing over the trees that may be more trouble than they are worth- there are so many great apples and a range of susceptibility to pest pressure beyond what you usually see in the literature.

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Hi Mroot.

Thank you for the recommendations. I will add dormant spray for next year. I we purchased the property with the orchard already in it, so most trees are mature, the apple trees specially. their trunks are between 11-15 inch diameter, gnarly. There are a few younger ones. The old ones have a lot of scab problems. I’ll try following Alan’s schedule next, thank you for sharing it.
My backyard orchard is big for me, but not very big in reality, we got around 2 acres backyard, containing 8 apple trees, two peaches, two of what I believe are plums (which have not flowered in the two years we have been here), a pear, and a sour cherry tree (Juliet). I was under the impression sweet cherries did not do well in central Illinois. Are your trees doing well? I’d like to plant a self-fertile one (Lapins maybe), but I got discouraged with all the things that may be a problem.

Thank you!

For a cherry tree I might order this instead of Lapins on G12, which is a semi-dwarf, usually self-standing rootstock that vastly accelerates bearing over something like Mazzard. You should contact the nursery now to reserve a tree for next spring- they always sell out very early for their cherries. Benton® — Adams County Nursery

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Hello Mamuag,

We are in Champaign Co, Illinois. I’ll try this year with the Altacor since I already have it, but thinking on going for Captan for the fungicide.
Thank you!

Schedules are made to be broken. I know — at first — they seem to offer the kind of specificity the novice craves, but keeping an orchard is not like that. This is why you receive so much non-orthogonal advice from experienced growers.

Let us stipulate that prevailing weather changes from season to season, and the optimal times of application vary. Further, day-to-day weather trends (temperature, wind, and rain) may delay a single chemical application to the point that the whole schedule is hopelessly wrecked. It happens, but these considerations are obvious.

What is not so obvious is that insect pressure (conditioned by prevailing weather) varies from season to season. You’ll become more familiar with infestation patterns as time goes on. It’s goes without saying that you don’t want to treat problems you don’t have.

As for codling moth, you can measure the level of infestation and anticipate when to treat it. Please see my pages on Growing Degree Days, which I’ve drawn together from publications by several Land-Grant Colleges. You don’t need a backyard weather station to track Growing Degree Days unless you want a fully automated solution.

You will likely get much better results with Captan mixed with Myclo as Captan doesn’t protect as long in the best conditions and has no kickback once infection starts. It tends to wash off after heavy rains, myclo does not. It was a game changer for me in terms of developing a 2-spray schedule long before any extension advice suggested it. There are many sources. https://www.amazon.com/Specialty-Fungicide-Myclobutanil-Dollar-California/dp/B015BSOTIO/ref=sr_1_6?keywords=myclobutanil&qid=1650990309&sr=8-6

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I wouldn’t recommend planting sweet cherries in central Illinois unless you are a really dedicated hobbyist. My sweet cherries are doing okay but I am having some problems with canker on some trees and insect pressure is pretty high (mainly plum curculio). I have been able to control brown rot with a combination of Captan and Indar.

However, if you have a strong interest in sweet cherries you could try WhiteGold or BlackGold which are both self-fertile and are good choices for our area. But I would read this thread- it explains the problems you would face.

Your orchard is actually good sized with fairly large trees. I have more trees but most are dwarfs with some semi-dwarfs and one standard size tree.

In central Illinois apples and tart cherries will do well. It does help to have varieties that are disease resistant.


If the test jar doesn’t mix well, either globs together, or precipitates, then you’ll know it’s incompatible.

I doubt you will have any issues, but if you are worried a test jar will answer your question.

I’ve sprayed some herbicides which don’t mix well with each other, but so far I’ve not mixed any fungicides or insecticides which don’t mix with each other. It’s pretty rare you have issues mixing fungicides and insecticides. If there are issues, the precautions will likely be on the label.

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