When leaves fall - FALL SPRAY DILEMMA

Why do some of the sprays advise “after leaves fall” ?
Is it because the leaves get in the way?
Is it because the spray damages the leaves?
If it is the latter then, is it ok to spray after the leaves are obviously dead/dying/dried out, but still attached?

Anyone with an idea as to the answer or even where to find the info


Some sprays call for treatments AFTER the leaves fall.

This is my dilemma in Z5b - New York State.

Although these sprays will be done AFTER harvest, even after the latest harvest, the leaves still hang on the trees for a long time. The leaves on my trees conspire to stay on the trees into December.

Also, many of them, although dry and brittle, still hang on ( I find quite a bit still on in the spring) and the only way to get them off is to physically strip them. Manual stripping can’t be the solution.

The PROBLEM is that, up here, by Thanksgiving it gets quite cold. Too cold for this old body to pull out the sprayer to spray 90± trees.

Leading to this question… How soon after harvest can we apply those “after the leaves fall” sprays?

My problem is exacerbated by the fact that I am a weekend warrior, so a too windy or rainy weekend really screws with the ability to get it done. Also, I hate those pesky 5 day weather patterns that keep repeating every weekend that I want to work.:slightly_frowning_face::frowning:



Once the leaves are dead it won’t matter. Spray late winter or early spring if you want better bark coverage.
What is the spray for?

But if you spray while dead leaves are still attached to the tree, wouldn’t you miss those spots? That would be a big area of the tree.
I’m surprised that you don’t lose leaves up State NY. We do down here.

There are recommended dormant sprays for various fruits.

It is a dilemma to try to get them sprayed during the cold time of year. About the only dormant sprays I do now are for peach leaf curl. Or pear blister mite late in the season, but before leaves drop.

For peaches, the spray is recommended during the dormant season. This is because the fungi want to penetrate the bud scales when they start to loosen in the early spring. The idea is to sort of “sanitize” the tree of the fungi so they won’t wash in the loosening bud scales. I’ve read somewhere at sometime that an appropriate fungicide can be sprayed at something like 75% leaf drop. In other words the trees don’t have to be completely bare in order to get a good result from the spray.

With pear blister mite you want to spray (generally with oil) just before the tree goes dormant so you can coat the mites with the lethal oil before they move into the bud scales where they will be protected from insecticides.



To clarify the problem. Yes, over the winter, we do lose our leaves (a few hangers on notwithstanding)

My problem is that my orchard is not my year round residence. I usually start to close up the place in the two weeks (weekends) after Thanksgiving. At that time there are still many dead and almost dead leaves on the trees. But, by the beginning of December it is too cold
for me to be able to pull out the sprayer to spray 90+ trees.

The professionals and commercial people might still be able to do it but it is too cold for me. Also, as I can only do so on weekends, a bad weekend weather pattern is a problem multiplier.

I would like to spray in the 2nd to 3rd weeks of November. But, at that time there are still many leaves on the trees.

I WAS WONDERING why the reqirement to spraying after leaf drop. If is was merely to protect the leaves, I can see sacrificing them in mid-November as they are not adding much by that time.

If it is because it is crtical to cover the spot where the leaves break off, that is another issue.

With my atomizing sprayer I can get pretty good coverage of the branches even with quite a bit of leaves still on.


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Assuming I can get good coverage of the branches with my pressure washer sprayer - see—>
( POOR MAN'S AIRBLASTER FOR HOME ORCHARD - YouTube) which atomizes the spray , is it ok to spray when there are still leaves (although dead/dry and dying) are still attached, or is it critical to be able to cover the “wound” (I don’t know the technical name for that spot) where the leaves finally break off…



Looks like with your sprayer you are getting excellent coverage.

I’m still not quite sure what dormant spray you are targeting. Perhaps it’s more than one dormant spray?

Dormant sprays generally recommend all the foliage off because coverage is better. Also because some compounds can burn the leaves before senescence, so that some opportunity for photosynthesis, at the very end of the season, is lost. Then, as you mention, there is the leaf scar, which is not coated with the spray, when the leaves are still on the trees.

For peach leaf curl, I mentioned earlier that I read that 50% leaf drop is “good enough” when spraying for leaf curl in the fall. But, as I research it now, the earliest recommendation I could find spraying for leaf curl is at 75% leaf drop. So, I’m assuming I was mistaken in my earlier post, and will edit that.

It’s not necessary to have every leaf scar covered with fungicide when spraying for leaf curl. That’s because some of the residue on the tree will wash into the leaf scars anyway, over the winter.

It is a problem waiting for the leaves to fall to apply the spray. I generally apply that spray and fall pre-emergents sometime in Nov. By that time, we’ve had some freezes here, so we’ve had to make sure the sprayer pumps are empty or winterized, so they don’t freeze and break. Then we have to do it again after we put those pre-winter sprays down.

I pick a day not freezing, but it’s still cold with the open cab tractor I use. I just wear coveralls.