Thoughts on first real fruit crop

Some of you may know that I’ve battled late freezes and deer destruction for about six years now. I’ve gotten small crops of fruit at times but it’s not been until this year that I’ve managed to have a lot of fruit set and what looks to be a significant harvest.

This year I’m seeing first hand how significant insect and disease pressure truely effect fruit as the summer progresses. I had this false assumption that if I could get past the PC strikes a few weeks after fruit set then my pest problems would be minimal. I was more worried about brown rot than anything. I followed a pretty standard and thorough spray plan. I initially sprayed surround and then followed with alternating sprays of Imidan/Indar and Imidan/Infuse. I’ve continued the sprays on a schedule and still continue to spray. I thinned a lot based on everything I’ve read and tried to follow the “rules”.

My first fruits of the year were bush cherries. I was really happy, nice little harvest. Second fruit was Methley Plum. My best harvest of any fruit ever. Significant amounts and I was able to give lots of them to friends and family. But near the end of Methley harvest I noticed my next pest, wasps. The ripe plums were beginning to be overrun my wasps to the point I bought traps a few weeks ago. They caught a lot of wasps.

Gearing up for Shiro I started noticing a lot of them splitting while not being quite ripe. Splits attracted more bugs and wasps. Meanwhile my other plum trees were also getting hit. I’ve been losing enough fruit I now wish I hadn’t thinned as much. What I hoped would be more big harvests have turned into light harvests. The plums that are healthy aren’t quite ripe. But many of those fruits look almost ripe only for me to turn one over and see a huge hole with a yellow jacket in it. Meanwhile, I’ve still continued to spray. And despite my sprays, brown rot is starting to show up on the remaining plums. I e practiced good orchard hygiene by cleaning up fallen or impacted fruit. I have a feeling that by the time the remaining plums reach the ripened stage they will already have been destroyed by bugs or brown rot.

Elsewhere, pears are looking really good and don’t seem to have insect pressure like plums. Apples are in between. I’ve had a lot of apples that have dropped and are full of bees. Most of the peaches I’m growing have developed spots indicating fungal control is not very effective.

I guess my blabbering comes down to my astonishment at how so many of you can even reach September and October with usable fruit. I think to myself, how could I possibly grow Flavor Grenade or Flavor finale when I am seeing so many early varieties be so heavily effected by pests and disease. And this despite thinking I had a pretty good spray regimen.

This summer has been somewhat of an eye opener for me. For severaI years I thought actually getting fruit to grow might be my biggest hurdle, but maybe it’s not. Considering I’m in the mid Atlantic and it’s known for tough growing conditions, maybe I’ll start thinking about my varieties and really start focusing on those that have reputations as disease resistant.


I feel for you. how disheartening.

We have been blessed this year at my location on the west coast as far as wasps go. I’ve hardly seen a wasp all summer. I’ve never seen a summer with so few.

I hope things are better with the remainder of your fruit left to harvest.


I’m fighting them to, but I still think your first statement was true. PC and Brown Rot are the primary concern.

1 Like

I feel your pain. I started out naive but learned the hard way. Now I don’t grow cherries or apricots or Asian plums at all due to disease. My 1st priority picking a variety of apples, pears, peaches, grapes, European plums, chestnuts is disease resistance. I have a bunch of figs, mulberries, raspberries, blackberries. and persimmons partly because they have few if any serious disease problems in my growing region.

A man’s got to know his limitations.


i agree what the others are saying. sometimes its better to grow a less tasty more disease and bug resistant fruit than to try what others are growing in less impacted areas. ive learned and are still learning my lessons. dont get discouraged, just adapt and look forward to better seasons. many graft over their susceptable cutivars to less susceptable ones. this way your back into fruit pretty quickly. good luck!


The struggle is real. I feel your pain and I’m quite tired of protecting my Asian plums and peach tree. 1 plum has finished ripening and it’s a relief not having to worry about it. I am looking forward to taking a break from tree care this winter.

I have a lot of lower maintenance trees. They stress me out by not consistently fruiting or lacking precocity. Please turn your attention to the persimmons and pawpaw if you’d like to just sit back more.


Dave, firstly, congratulations on your first good year. Secondly, I have cropped Flavor Grenade (and other stone fruits ripening in September) for 2-3 years (late September harvest), with no insect issues and minimal rot. The reason for my success was using Clemson bags (some other bags are good too), they are 100% effective in stopping fruit eating insects (hornets, stink bugs, Japanese beetles, etc) and bird pecking, and believe it or not they do help with rot too. It is a lot of work to bag hundreds of fruit, but for me it is worth it. You can do it now to save what is left of your stone fruits.

Edit: I have to clarify, I meant the reason for my success in harvesting soft-ripe fruit, which are insect magnets, was the above. I also have to indicate that I spray insecticide (pyrethroid or Carbaryl) and infuse (both mixed together with NuFilm, a sticker) every 2-3 weeks till mid/late July.


It may possibly be a timing issue as far spraying for brown rot or a frequency issue. Could you provide a detailed schedule with the timing of the sprays and what was sprayed on each date? Heavy rains also can require spraying weekly at times.

The chemicals seem fine in general… there are some things that could be changed that might help but I don’t think that is the main problem. You might take a look at this thread that discusses brown rot on peaches especially posts by Olpea (he grows peaches for a living in the Midwest). I think the thread’s information can be applied to pretty much all of the stone fruits as far as brown rot. Also there is a list of peaches resistant to brown rot in my post.

Apples and pears could be bagged with ziplocs which would help with insects that show up later in the season. Stone fruits could also could be bagged but you need bags that breathe to keep the fruit from rotting such as the Clemson bags that Ahmad suggested.


I agree with others above recommending you over time adjust what you are growing… to eliminate the things you have identified as being most difficult to get good fruit from (without a constant battle, spraying chemicals, bagging, etc) and replace them with things that will grow in your area and produce nice clean fruit… pretty much pest and disease free.

You might keep one or two of those difficult things… depending on how much you are willing to fight for it…

But simply start growing more and more of those things that give you good clean fruit with little effort.

For me… raspberries, loganberries, blueberries, strawberries, figs… and a earlier ripening BlackBerry, and goumi berry… are just delicious fruit that are so easy to grow.

Jujube … I have 2 that have not fruited yet… but hear that they are quite pest and disease free.

And on apples and pears… stick with the most disease resistent varieties for your area. I got many nice pest and disease free early McIntosh apples this year and most years (with absolutely no spray).

My peaches… I got several nice peaches off my early elberta… ripens mid june… but near the end of their ripening… brown rot showed up… then my next tree to ripen in early july… 95% were trashed by BR. So sad… Earlier ripening peaches seem to have a better chance here… I may eliminate my later ripening peach… I will not spray chemicals… and it seems like a losing battle to me at this point.

Good luck to you on finding peace and success with what you are growing.



Curious about bagging fruit and spraying. Don’t the bags hinder the sprays ability to contact the fruit?

They do, but they also block the ability of insects to reach the fruit and I’d say they also greatly reduce the chances of fungal spores reaching them. The recommended practice by Clemson University is to spray the fruitlets in early spring with insecticide and fungicide and bag right afterwards, so that any pest that was on the fruit is killed before it is bagged.


Sorry to hear your challenges holding on to the hard-won early success.

I was just talking to someone today who was starting out planting some trees. Among the pieces of advice I gave them was to focus on early ripening varieties for some of their first trees. We have a lof of bug, squirrel, etc. pressure and it can just be such a slow painful summer when what looked great at fruit set slowly slips away one, two or even ten at a time. I just posted in the harvest thread about the 2 peaches I harvested after 150 or so set this spring.

But of course I always starting thinking around this time there is always next year…


Shiro often cracks during wet growing seasons- more than most plums I grow. Eastern exposure and good air circulation helps- also, the more vigorous the tree the more fruit is likely to crack. As far as yellow jackets, I manage to get them under control by using resuseable Victor traps baited with 1/3rd apple juice concentrate treated with a bit of citric acid and detergent to reduce the need to re-bait and make cleaning the traps easier. It takes a lot of traps and a couple of weeks to get them under control. If you look on you-tube you can find ways to make your won traps but you need to keep rainwater out of them in your climate or have to empty and refill them more often.

The farther you are from the coast or the Great Lakes the more difficult it is to grow conventional fruits because of late frosts. Paw-paws, blueberries, brambles and native persimmons might give you greater satisfaction over the long haul.

1 Like

Alan please guide me about an apple tree from an apple most cases apple trees don’t come true from seeds. Like a seed taken from a Red delicious apple will not produce a red delicious red apple tree. I love apples soo i decided to grow apple tree at my garden. Please reply me as son as possible.

I don’t know what you are asking exactly, but if you seek guidance, please post a new topic with specific questions, if you can.

You are correct that apples are particularly likely to have fruit that differs a great deal from the mother tree when grown from seed. A seedling apple tree is also very likely to be too vigorous for folks with small yards.


Yes, growing fruit can take a few years to get things right. We are stone fruit only and we have to spray. Miss a critical spray, no crop! Late frost, little to no crop. If you are lucky, a late frost means you don’t have to thin.

This year was our first bumper crop from peaches planted in 2017. we harvested 400 to 500 peaches per tree, should have thinned a bit more.

next year could be a good year again, or not…

1 Like

@ema I see you burn with desire to plant some seeds or at least some trees. We have all been there at one time or another. I think you need to think about what your goals are and let us know what your situation is. Also like Alan said start a new thread which will give your questions more visibility and help you receive more responses.

Some things to think about-

What kind of apples do you like to eat? It’s better to grow apples you like.

Have you thought about caring for the trees? In most cases you need two trees to ensure pollination and that you will get fruit. You will need to train the trees, water, fertilize, prune and protect the trees from insects and diseases. You can learn this as you go but it’s easier if you pick trees that have some resistance to diseases and are suited to your local climate.

How much space do you have? For most people with a backyard you will want dwarf or semi-dwarf trees that don’t take up a lot of space. The size of the trees is controlled by the rootstocks the trees are grafted on.

Normally, people don’t grow apple trees from seeds instead they buy trees to insure that they get the apple they want. Sometimes people grow apples from seeds as an experiment or to breed new apple varieties.

For us to give you good advice we will need more information.

Where are you? your state and hardiness zone

What kind of soil you have? sandy, loam, clay

How much space is available to plant trees and how much sun does the area get?