Fruit tree spraying is a widespread practice among farmers and gardeners to help manage plant diseases and insect pests while also providing vital nutrients. You can pick from a variety of chemical-based products and those incorporating natural substances like sulfur.
It is critical to spray your tree frequently, regardless of the type of spray you use. Insects and fungal diseases are both addressed with general-purpose sprays.
In our guide, you can learn more about the sprays to use and the best time to spray fruit trees to be the most effective defense against pests and disease.
By the end, you’ll know how to care for your apple and pear trees inside the growing season for bumper harvests using a quick fruit trees spray schedule. (Learn How To Grow Lemon Tree From Seed)
How Often Should You Spray Fruit Trees?
Here you can see when you should be spraying fruit fungicide to help control pests and disease and help fruit development on apple, pear, and other fruit trees.
Early Spring Fertilizer Sprays
Your fruit tree will be more resistant to diseases and insect attacks if it is healthy. Besides the granular or liquid fertilizer, you give your tree, annual foliar spraying of compost tea can improve its health and development.
Mix 1 quart of organic compost with 5 gallons of water for one week and stir it every day. Strain it and spray it in the early spring when your tree’s leaves or flower buds appear.
Dormant Spray in Winter
Horticultural spray is another name for dormant oil. Several types of oils, such as mineral oil or cottonseed oil, help reduce insects like mites, aphids, scale, and other insects and diseases like powdery mildew by desiccating or burying eggs and larvae.
Spray it with dormant oil before your tree grows new leaves or flower buds in late winter or early spring. The exact period depends on your climate zone: spray dormant oil in February or March in more northern areas. Spray earlier in the year in more southern areas, depending on when you spotted your tree developing foliage in past years.
Bud Break Fungicide
Spray a natural sulfur-based fungicidal spray or a chemical-based fungicidal spray twice on your fruit tree. Spray early in the spring when the apples flower buds are just forming. Spray again as the buds become larger and swell, but before they open and bloom.
This period is usually between 10 and 14 days. For maximum efficiency and safety, thoroughly saturate your tree with the spray you’ve chosen and follow the label directions.
Combination Spray for When Petals Fall
Keep an eye out for evidence of petals dropping while your tree is in blossom. When 90% of the petals have dropped, don’t wait to spray your tree with a disease and insect-controlling combination spray. One week later, reapply the same product, being sure to completely cover both the upper and lower sides of all leaves. (Learn How Fast Do Maple Trees Grow)
Using a combination spray every 10 days during the summer, until two weeks before you harvest your fruit, is recommended by experts.
When Should I Start Spraying My Fruit Trees?
Sprays are important throughout the growing season. Your trees can face several insect pests and diseases. Depending on the region, pests and diseases can start as early as late March or early April and last until October or November.
Understanding these insects and diseases and how to help your trees weather the attack is important. A spray schedule doesn’t have to be extremely intensive, and it can help the trees in your garden reach their growth potential and deliver healthy fruit.
You’ll find some insects not only harm the tree but kill it if insecticides are not used.
Before fruit trees grow again, they must reach a certain number of chilling units or cold days. The dormant season lasts from November until March. Then, from mid-March, it gathers growth degree days on warm days. You won’t see trees grow then, and they appear dormant.
Spray Apple Trees at Blossom Time
For apple trees, flowers you see in the spring started developing in the previous June and July. When a tree grows in the spring, the tissue will change into flower parts.
You can start seeing the first signs when you see the “half-inch green tip,” a phenological stage where the flowers swell, and it appears different to buds, which don’t have any flowers.
A tight cluster is where the leaves have unfolded slightly, and the flower parts have been pushed open. Depending on the weather, it could be anywhere from a week to two weeks when you get the first open blossoms. When you see the flowers open, it’s named “bloom time.”
Spray Apple Trees: Summer Season
From dormancy until petal fall, the first 10 to 12 weeks of the season are when we watch everything wake up and be present in the orchard. We see more of the summer insects and diseases emerge after petal fall and throughout the early phases of fruit growth.
They’ll now be distinct from the early-season insects and diseases. Some will be the same, but the strength of an organic bit decreases. You must be watchful, but the risk decreases slightly.
Types of Fruit Tree Sprays
Spraying times for fruit trees are usually determined by the type of spray employed. Here are the most frequent types of fruit tree sprays and the optimal times to spray trees to avoid future problems. Any sprays should be halted two weeks before harvest.
General-Purpose Spray: Using a general-purpose spray mixture to take care of all pests and problems with your fruit trees is the easiest way to go. You won’t have to identify every insect or disease that affects your tree, and it will even cover some you might overlook. Usage a mix designated for fruit tree use only if the label says so. (Learn How Long Do Cottonwood Trees Live)
Dormant Sprays: A substance known as dormant oil can take care of scale insects. Early in the spring, before the leaf buds expand, use dormant oils. If you use these oils when the temperature dips below 40 degrees F (4 degrees C), they can harm trees, so check the weather forecast for the following week before using them. Unless there is a serious pest problem in the area, most fruit trees only require dormant oils every five years.
Fungicide Sprays: To prevent scab disease in peach trees, spraying fruit early in the season is recommended. You can wait a little longer to use this spray in the spring but do so before the peach leaves open. When the daytime temperatures are steadily around 60 degrees F, these all-purpose fungicides should be applied (15 C).
Insecticidal Sprays: To take care of most fruit tree pests, spray horticultural insecticidal fruit tree spray on your plant once the petals have fallen. The codling moth is the only exception to this rule for domestic use. For control, start spraying fruit trees after two weeks when the petals fall to control this common pest, and then again in the middle of summer to control the second generation of moths that commonly appear.
Foliar Sprays: Micro-nutrient foliar fertilizer sprays, such as zinc, copper, magnesium, molybdenum, boron, and calcium, can help fruit development in areas where these nutrients are deficient or unavailable due to soil alkalinity. You can spray these directly to the leaf.