Let me preface this months’ article by stating that I do not offer any pesticide application services. This is the time of the year that many of my clients are thinking about this coming years fruit crop from their own orchard. A quick google search inquiry yields information about how many millions, if not billions of pounds of pesticide are dumped on Mother Earth per year! And it is just damned SCARY! And to think that all that is sprayed, injected or used as a drench ends up in our food chains, waterways, and oceans is sobering, to say the least.
There are, at the time of this writing, about 20,000 pesticides on the worldwide market. These would include: ovicides, insecticides, herbicides, rodenticides, bactericides, fugicides, larvicides, algaecides, miticides, molluscicides, nematicides, biocides, piscicides, and probably a few ‘cides I can’t think of right now!
The unintended consequence of “battling” your chosen “pest” is, what doesn’t kill your opponent, just serves to make them stronger, more resistant, and finally, immune to whatever you started out with.
That said, what do we do about wormy apples? My advice first and foremost, is to identify your pest. From there, start with the LEAST toxic substance, in the least possible concentration, that achieves your goal. Secondly, don’t use a “shotgun” approach. In other words, don’t throw everything on the Grange shelf on your tree without seeing what actually works, lest you end up with a garden shed stacked to the ceiling with poison! I have noticed over the years that stressed trees are more prone to pest problems and pathogens. Planting too deep, too high of soil temps, over/under watering exponentially decreases their resistance to disease. Make your trees happy!
Organic pesticides are compounds that contain carbon. Copper and sulphur are the top two most widely used organic pesticides on fruit trees. Neem oil (extracts from the evergreen tree Azadirachta indica) and insecticidal soaps (potassium salts) are also used extensively for insect control on fruit trees.
Again, these are suggestions, not instructions, from your tree guy! Do your research, read and follow all product label warnings and instructions, and decide if the ‘cide that you use on your tree is something you want to ingest…
I thought about pressed apple cider (no pun intended) and wondered if the apples had worms when they went through the press? Do they peel each apple and cut out the wormy parts? Probably not. Hmmmm.
This led me to a brilliant conclusion on the conundrum of what to do about wormy apples…
Just eat ’em in the dark…