Sunday, May 17, 2009

Organic apple tree spray

UPDATE August 2009: I wanted to share exactly what happened when I did as below: I never missed a spraying. Not one. NEVER. I hauled myself out there in the 90 degree heat like a slave. I resprayed after every rain. These trees were in a spa as far as I was concerned. But guess what? It made NO DIFFERENCE. In fact, I even gave up on organic at one point in June and added fruit tree spray (malathian and captan) to the mix. Zippo. It seems that despite all my effort and spraying, what really matters most to apple disease is the weather. We had a very cold and very damp May and June (and July was still cool. We were wearing jackets on the 4th of July). The weather did not cooperate. So despite all my efforts and my best attempts, I have tons of ugly looking (but no doubt still tasty apples). Sigh. If you want to see what I ended up doing with my apples, see this post from September.

I have two large apple trees on my property that tend to suffer from scab and fly speck (which is a type of blight) every year. The fruit is pefectly edible, if not particularly pretty, but the disease hurts the crop yield. None of this kills the tree, but it affects the number of homemade apple pies and apple sauce I can churn out in the fall!

I have come across an organic apple tree spray which can be made cheaply and used on practically anything (I can't think of anything you COULDN'T spray it on!).


1 Cup of liquid seaweed with iron (you can order this online for less than $10 a quart and it will last all season). I use Maxicorp Liquid seaweed with Iron. You might be able to find this in your garden center. My local garden centers looked at me like I was from Mars when I asked. And forget about Home Depot or Lowes. You need a real gardners garden center

1 Cup of vinegar (any kind will do. I use apple cider but only because it is what I had on hand)

1 Cup Murphy's oil soap

I put all of this in a hose end sprayer and set the dial to 2 ounces per gallon. This spray mixture will last you a couple of sprayings, but you will need to spray WEEKLY.

If you aren't picky about organic, through into the mix a cup of regular old fruit tree spray (the kind with Captan). Or Bordeau Powder (which is organic).

The seaweed provides a follicular feeing. The vinegar helps control fungus and pest, and the oil soap helps keep the solution on the leaves and branches longer.

I will report back at the end of the season to let you know how it worked. So far so good. I am also using it to spray my black eyed Susan's which suffer from a black blight every year.

Apple trees they look so pretty

And their pies, they taste so sweet

But if you want organic apples

You must spray them every week!


Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your information. What I would like to know is what time of the fruit tree season can this mixture be used. Should I use this mixture while the trees are in bloom? Can I use the mixture all through the summer? Also, can you use it on any other trees?

Thanks again

Marie said...

If you are going to use this spray, you must start it after bud break and continue until fruit sets in July. It's best to spray with a dromant oil before buds break, or a copper/lime oil mix to kill overwintering diseases. I am in the midwest and we had a terrible cold and wet spring which negated pretty much all of my spraying efforts. To be honest, my trees looked the BEST when ChemLawn/TruGreen did my tree and lawn service and sprayed them with whatever they spray everything else with. Not organic, but darn near disheartening to spend so much time and see no difference!

Marie said...

PS: you can use this on ANYTHING. I use the leftover for my houseplant in diluted amounts.


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