Home Orchard Society resources

Spring Fruit Care Calendar

APRIL:

  • Last month for planting bare root trees.
  • Graft fruit trees.
  • Monitor leaves for fungal diseases (scab, mildew, brown rot).
    • Control foliar diseases by using compost tea sprays on apples, pears, or any other valuable plants (not during bloom).
    • For apples scab & mildew, can also use wettable sulfur, lime sulfur (not during bloom).
  • Monitor for inspect problems using pheromone traps and tree inspection.
    • Consider spraying Bt for leaf rollers, leaf miners, when present.
    • For scale and aphids, use Fels Naptha Insecticidal soap.
    • Encourage pest predators.  Earwigs like straw-stuffed pots, hang them in trees so they patrol at night. Release lacewings or lady beetles for aphids and scale.

MAY:

  • Record bloom dates for all varieties.
  • Monitor leaves for fungal diseases (scab, fireblight, powdery mildew, brown rot).
  • Apply a preventative sulfur spray for scab, mildew, and brown rot if weather is forecast to be rainy for more than 6-8 hours.
  • Thin fruit as soon as the fruits get to the size of a nickel, for bigger fruits and to break tendency to biennial bear in apples.
    • Apples: 1 fruit for every 30-40 leaves
    • Peaches: 1 fruit for every 50-75 leaves
    • Pears & asian pears: 1 fruit every 4-6 inches
    • Plums: limit touching fruit (knock em with a broom handle)
  • Monitor for inspect problems using pheromone traps and by fruit inspection, or with online weather data.
    • Try nylon fruit socks or paper bags to control codling moth damage (apples & pears) and apple maggot fruit fly damage.
    • Monitor and trap emerging apples maggot flies with sticky red sphere traps with attractant lure.
    • Control with Ryania & fish oil, Bt, codling moth virus (CYD-X), and/or Trichogramma wasp releases.  Ryania, Bt, and codling moth virus all can be applied in a single spray.
    • Cherry fruit fly: try predatory nematodes under trees.  Last resort, use retenone 5% (caution!).

JUNE:

  • Use netting to keep birds away from blueberries and cherries.
  • Train grapes, young kiwis, blackberries, and raspberries.
  • Remove water sprouts from fruit trees, pull or rub off.
  • Begin summer pruning for size control on established fruit trees, and to encourage fruit bud production for following year.
  • Water one inch per week if dry. Apply slowly to avoid run-off and to conserve water.
  • Monitor for inspect problems using pheromone traps and by fruit inspection, or with online weather data.
    • Aphids & ants: use insecticidal soap, or M-pede; Tanglefoot on cardboard tree collars.
    • Give natural controls a chance first, but for severe problems, spray with pyrethrin or retenone (caution!).
    • Apples & pears: Set traps, pheromone or water/molasses (9:1) for codling moth.  Remove fruit with frass from trees and from under trees.  Use Isomate-C for mating disruption.  For first and second generational moths: remove loose bark from tree (where pupa hide), wrap corrugated cardboard bands (rdges inward) around trunk of tree, to encourage larva to pupate in ridges, then remove & burn if pupae are found.
    • Apples: examine shoots and leave for San Jose scale crawlers.  Spray with summer oil, horticultural oil or fish oil, if found.
    • Apply nylon fruit socks or paper bags to control apple maggot fruit fly damage, before July 1.
  • Collect fallen fruit and dispose, as the tree often rejects fruits that are diseased or bug damaged.