Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Organic Apples: Know Your Enemies

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Male apple fly

As you might know, I am trying to grow my apples this year with as few chemicals as possible. The major pest I experience is the codling moth. This moth is about 5/8" long and sort of a brownish-gray innocuous moth. To control this moth I used dormant oil during my tree's dormancy and sprayed it with Malathion when 75% of the petals had dropped. I will spray it again the third week in July. If you are working with a large number of trees, your choice can be more organic than mine. A coating of fine particle kaolin clay in the form of WP Surround might be a feasible choice monetarily. It is also recommended the ground is covered, either with dense, tall grass or a black, landscape fabric.

A pest I never thought was part of the mix for me is the apple fly maggot. While the codling moth is fairly invisible, unless you are trapping for it, the apple fly maggot is probably mistaken for some sort of biting fly. For this pest, I have hung red shiny object (you traditionally see the hanging red balls) coated with Tanglefoot. Tanglefoot is a typically organic-approved pest control. It is a rain-proof super-sticky paste that can be applied to the object you with to use as a trap. I have used this before and never caught any bees, just tiny flies. This year, I have actually seen the apple fly, so I hope I will be successful capturing those. Typically, they lay their eggs, from which the maggot develop, the third week in June.

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