Winter moths pose threat to apples, pears and blueberries

As expected, winter moth eggs started to hatch in Kingston. I found one empty egg shell yesterday afternoon and 7 empty egg shells this afternoon. I think it would be a good idea to spray apples and blueberries in winter moth areas with an insecticide by Monday, April 21st. The tiny caterpillars are very susceptible to insecticide before they get into buds. For organic growers I said the only organic insecticide I knew would work was Entrust. Well, last night I was talking to an organic grower, and a couple of years ago I suggested he try Neemix to control winter moth. He said it worked great and that's what he's going to use this year. Good thing someone has a good memory! For non-organic fruit growers I recommend Imidan or Sevin. I've attached a picture of a couple of empty egg shells for those of you who are interested. Heather   --  URI Cooperative Extension hhf@uri.edu 401-874-2967 cell 401-256-7438

empty winter moth eggs

Update from Heather Faubert, URI Extension on April 18, 4 pm:

As expected, winter moth eggs started to hatch in Kingston, RI. I found one empty egg shell yesterday afternoon and 7 empty egg shells this afternoon. I think it would be a good idea to spray apples and blueberries in winter moth areas with an insecticide by Monday, April 21st.

The tiny caterpillars are very susceptible to insecticide before they get into buds. For organic growers I said the only organic insecticide I knew would work was Entrust. Well, last night I was talking to an organic grower, and a couple of years ago I suggested he try Neemix to control winter moth. He said it worked great and that’s what he’s going to use this year.

If you have further questions, conatct Heather at URI Cooperative Extension via email to hhf@uri.edu. You can also call the URI Extension office at 401-874-2967 or Heather’s cell at 401-256-7438.

Fruit Tree Pruning

Jon Clements, UMass Extension on pruning apple trees

Jon Clements of UMass Extension pruning apple trees

“Forks belong on your dinner table, not in your orchard,” said Jon Clements, UMass Extension Educator. He shared his witty rules for pruning apple and peache tree at a pruning demonstration at Sweet Berry Farm in Middletown, RI.

Apples
For a Central Leader-style orchard,“select trees with 4 to 5 branches or ‘feathers’ fairly high up the tree,” said Clements. For hi-density plantings on dwarf rootstocks, a sturdy system with four wires will support the trees during their productive years. The Tall Spindle-style orchard uses trees planted 3’ apart with 10’ to 12’ between rows. 

Apple trees fruit on 2-year old and older wood. He likes to prune apple trees each winter in complete dormancy. Clements said, “Growers don’t have to sanitize tools in the winter. If Fire Blight is present in the orchard during the growing season, then be sure to sanitize tools between cuts when pruning.” Clements recommended starting with the largest trees. Clements offered specific recommendations for pruning apple trees using the Central Leader style here.

Peaches
Peaches fruit on new wood. Using clean tools, prune blooming peach trees in warm, dry weather to speed healing. The later you finish pruning, the smaller the fruit will be as energy went into growing those shoots. “Shade is the enemy for peaches and leads to weak wood,” said Clements. Reduce shade at the top to keep the lower wood strong. See Clements’ specific recommendations for pruning peach trees here.