How to Treat Fruit Trees Organically: When to Spray for Disease - Melissa K. Norris

How to Treat Fruit Trees Organically: When to Spray for Disease

By Melissa Norris | Fruit

Oct 16

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How to treat fruit trees organically, because let’s be honest, not many of us want little worms in our apples and some diseases if left unchecked can damage a tree and the harvest. I don’t know about you, but growing organic is important to me but so is getting a harvest, luckily, we don’t have to have one or the other, amen!

Learn how to treat fruit trees organically and when to spray for disease and pests. Plus, what you can spray on your fruit trees naturally to help with diseases and insects in a home orchard setting.

Listen in below to the full podcast, Episode #207 How to Treat Fruit Trees Organically: When to Spray for Disease of the Pioneering Today Podcast, where we don’t just inspire you, but give you the clear steps to create the homegrown garden, pantry, kitchen and life you want for your family and homestead.


How to Treat Fruit Trees Organically: When to Spray for Disease

It’s important to note from the previous blog post that I love using Neem Oil in my organic practice. When using this or another organic spray to be sure it is 100% organic. For the Neem Oil, you want to be sure you’re using cold-pressed 100% Neem Oil. Because a lot of products say that they are natural or that they use Neem Oil, but if you look in the ingredients, they have other synthetic ingredients and often other pesticides that are not considered organic.

This is the Neem Oil I use that is straight cold pressed neem oil only (note: this is a concentrate so it will last you a long time and can also be used on fruit trees!)

I also have this sprayer to use when applying the neem oil to plants and trees.

Here are 5 tips to treat fruit trees organically.

Tip #1 | Clean up

Whether your trees are showing signs of infestation or disease, it’s essential to do a good clean up around the trees for preventative measures. Any fruit or leaves that drop from the tree need to be picked up because they harbor a lot of the insects, larva, or disease spores. This is why it’s crucial to do a cleanup. So as we are coming up on the time where the leaves begin to fall.

If the leaves or fruit were showing signs of disease, especially something that has spores, like a fungus you want to make sure that you don’t put the leaves or fruit in the compost pile as many times the spores are not killed during the composting process and can contaminate your compost. And we don’t want to spread it and make the matter worse. To dispose of the diseased leaves and fruit, you can burn it, or you can put them in a sealed black garbage bag and dispose of it that way. 

Tip #2 | Knowing the disease or pest

It’s vital to become knowledgeable of the disease or pests that are on your fruit trees.

  • Identify the disease or pests
  • Learning about how the pest lays its eggs
  • What is the life cycle
  • Does it survive freezing temperatures

In learning more about the pests, you’re able to know when the best time to treat so that it can be most effective.

Tip #3 | Treat the total tree

Once you clean up the leaves and fruit around the tree and identify what you are fighting against can begin to treat the tree. When using a spray to fight pests or diseases, it is important to saturate the tree because if you miss any part of the infected tree, you are just leaving the window of opportunity for the tree to reinfect itself.

For example the organic peach tree spray I’m using to treat peach leaf curl is this copper spray concentrate. My organic peach tree spray schedule is twice a year in the Fall when I have had 90% of leave drop and because of our typically wet winters, again in spring right before budding, completely saturating the tree. If you have drier winters then fall application should be sufficient.

Tip #4 | Safety

Even though we’re only using organic sprays, it’s important to still use caution not only for yourself but for other things as well. Be sure to spray 

  • in the morning
  • when there is no chance of rain
  • when it isn’t windy because we don’t want to be inhaling it or getting it in our eyes. 

You also want to wear protective clothing – long sleeve shirt, pants, boots, and gloves. We also want to be mindful of our pollinators and honey bees. If you are spraying where there are blossoms, it’s important to spray in the evening instead.

Tip #5 | Reapply Organic Fruit Tree Spray Schedule

Not only will you be applying in the Fall, but then you’ll also need to be reapplying in the late Winter or early Spring right when the leave buds come out. Some of them you’ll need to apply when you have your blossoms, and some others need to be treated post blossom. That is why it is important to identify what you’re dealing with, so then you can mark on your calendar when you need to apply based on the life cycle of the disease or pest.

Tip #6 | How to keep bugs off fruit trees

This coming spring, I’ll also be testing two methods for my apple maggot issues. 

  1. Bagging the apple in its immaturity

This method is ideal if you have younger trees and not multiple trees. As it would be a huge undertaking to bag the apples if they’re too many.

2. Adding traps to the trees

These traps are red in color and hang in the tree. It then attracts the fly and traps it and the eggs. These yellow sticky traps seem like another great option and may be easier, I plan on testing both to decide which I”ll use going forward this spring when the flies hatch out.

Resources for Growing Organic Fruit and Berries

I hope that you found this post helpful. As you can see, the Fall is best time to begin spraying your fruit trees. If you want to learn more about organic gardening pre-order my new book The Family Garden Plan: Grow a Year’s Worth of Healthy and Sustainable Food plus get all the pre-order bonuses  here. 

Episode #205 How to Care for Berry Plants in the Fall (to increase next year’s harvest)

Episode #203 5 Tips for Organic Pest Control for Vegetable Gardens


About the Author

Melissa K. Norris inspires people's faith and pioneer roots with her books, podcast, and blog. Melissa lives with her husband and two children in their own little house in the big woods in the foothills of the North Cascade Mountains. When she's not wrangling chickens and cattle, you can find her stuffing Mason jars with homegrown food and playing with flour and sugar in the kitchen.

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