Question: Hi – in 2010 we bought property with 15 grown fruit trees (cherry, pear, asian pear, apple, plum, peach, hazlenet, walnut). What product(s) should we use to care for them? Some of the fruit had brown spots on them (see below). Is there also a book you would recommend? Any advice would be appreciated. Thank you. Anonymous gardener in Port Ludlow, Washington
Answer: Thanks for your question. For great reading on fruit production you can’t go wrong with the Ag extension Publications. These are from our local Agricultural extensions:
You sent two great pictures which I labeled with scab disease. They are different fungi that cause apple and pear scab but the treatment is fairly similar. First off good sanitation is essential. Remove all fallen leaves (and any diseased wood in the case of the pear scab) from the area (send off site to be composted or burn them if local ordinances allow it).
You need a sulfur based product like: Lime Sulfur (which is being phased out by the EPA so most manufacturers stopped producing Lime Sulfur and are just selling existing stockpiles), Copper sulfate or a neem based product like Rose 3-in-1 spray (don’t be confused by the “rose” in the tittle it works on other plants and trees as well) application rates and timing should be according to the product label but in general: Apply fungicides when leaves are separating, just exposing bud cluster. Repeat at 7-day intervals for 3 or more applications until weather dries. When in blossom, wait until 3/4 of petals have fallen before applying. Do not use lime sulfur on ‘Red Delicious’ or ‘Braeburn’ varieties. Homeowners should not make foliar applications to trees over 10 ft tall. Consult a commercial pesticide applicator for treatment of trees and shrubs over 10 ft. tall. (italicized text from WSU extension)