OSU Extension Service
Recommendations for the least toxic sprays and treatments for fruit trees. These products are usually available at garden centers. Always follow label directions.
Dormant Oil: Apply when trees are dormant, November through March, after all the leaves have fallen. Mix with water as directed and spray to all surfaces of the trunk, branches and twigs. Apply when the temperature is expected to rise during the day; temperatures below 35 degrees can damage the bark. Dormant oil controls aphids, scale, spider mites, and many other insects by desiccating or smothering eggs and larvae.
Fixed Copper: Spray on apples, pears, cherries, peaches, and plums to control canker. Allow two weeks between applications of copper and any sprays containing sulfur. Add a spreader-sticker product to help copper adhere to the tree surface.
Latex paint: Coat the trunks of young trees with white latex paint mixed half-and-half with water. The paint reflects strong sunlight that, once the leaves fall, can cause cracking, a favorite place for pests to overwinter and can cause substantial winter damage.
Here are some tips for specific fruit trees:
Apples: Spray copper before fall rains; dormant oil once or twice from January through March; wettable sulfur just after petal fall.
Apricots: Spray copper before the fall rains and dormant oil in February.
Cherries: Use wettable sulfur applied weekly during blooming for brown rot. Information on synthetic sprays to control cherry fruit fly is available at your local county office of the OSU Extension Service.
Pears: Spray copper before the fall rains; spray dormant oil in early spring before buds open and wettable sulfur just after petal fall.
Peaches: Spray copper or a good dormant fungicide three to four times between December and bud break. Spray copper before fall rains and in spring just before bud break; apply sulfur weekly during blooming and again after all petals have fallen.
Photo by: Carlotta Lucas AGC Member