Insect Management When You Have a Partial or No Crop – Facts for Fancy Fruit

Insect Management When You Have a Partial or No Crop

The severe cold weather we experienced in early January had a dramatic effect on the number of surviving fruit buds on crops such as peaches. The impact was highly variable depending on a number of factors, primarily location within the state. If you have less than a full crop of any of your fruit crops, you need to decide how you are going to manage the insects and mites on those crops. If you have a greatly reduced crop but decide that it is worth saving, you will still need to manage the insects just as if you had a full crop. If you cut back on insecticides, you will end up with a small crop that has poor quality, not a good combination. You need to decide early on if the crop is large enough to justify a full insect management program.

If you decide that your crop is lost, your approach to insect management changes drastically. As I often tell you, you should know what your target pest or pests are for every insecticide application. Pests that attack the fruit, such as codling moth, plum curculio, apple maggot, Oriental fruit moth, etc. are the pests that we build our spray programs around and control with our “cover sprays.” Even though we call them cover sprays, you should know what pests are present at that time so that you can choose the correct insecticide. So, if you have no crop, no cover sprays should be applied because you are no longer trying to protect the fruit. However, that doesn’t mean you can abandon your orchards or plantings. You still need to scout for pests that might affect the growth of the plant such as mites, aphids, leafhoppers, Japanese beetles, etc. Spray only when the damage from these pests will affect the health of the tree for future crops. Large, well-established trees can withstand a lot more of this indirect damage than smaller trees. Think in terms of what affect the damage may have on the health of the tree. Borers that attack trees, such as peachtree borer and dogwood borer, should be controlled just as in a normal year.



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