When to Spray Apple Trees: Insects & Seasons
Apple trees are some of the most iconic fruit trees in the world with each tree yielding hundreds to thousands of apples per year. It’s no wonder that people grow them to enjoy the fruits of their labor! Many people know that you’re supposed to spray apple trees to protect them, but the timing can be elusive. When exactly are you supposed to spray apple trees, and what products do you use? You can spray your apple tree at virtually any time of year, but the time of year will determine what product you need.
When Should I Spray My Apple Trees?
Let’s check out what products you can spray on your apple trees during each season and what exactly they do.
Winter: Insects & Egg Treatment
During the winter, you can apply dormant oil to your apple trees at the same time you’d prune the tree. Dormant oil is a product composed of water and petroleum or a vegetable-based oil. Neem oil is another popular choice. When applied to the tree during winter, it helps kill wintering insects and eggs, like aphids and mites.
While this is considered optional, we strongly encourage you to not skip spraying your trees with dormant oil for the winter. It will not only kill bugs and eggs but help protect your tree in the long term.
Spring: Insects & Mildew Treatment
After it’s warmed up, you can spray various insecticides on your trees to kill harvest-ruining pests and mildew. The ideal time to spray is when your flowers have opened, but not yet bloomed. For pests, you can use an insecticidal soap or permethrin. To control rampant powdery mildew, you can use either lime sulfur or a specialized spring/summer horticultural oil.
Summer: Codling Moth Treatment
This is where things get tough. Codling moths are the most pernicious apple pest of all, so you have to take drastic measures to protect your trees. During the summer, codling moths have 2 life cycles, so you have to regularly spray your apple trees with spinosad, esfenvalerate, or acetamiprid. Spray the trees weekly for the entire summer, and regularly inspect your tree for signs of larvae or eggs.
Fall: Mites & Clean-Up
Use a horticultural oil once a month during the fall to keep mites and other microscopic pests away from your trees. Plus, it’ll discourage other bugs from laying eggs on your trees for the winter. Lastly, you should bag all fruit that dropped to the ground because those apples are a prime breeding ground for next year’s pest population.
The Best Time to Spray Apple Trees
|Season||What to Spray For|
|Spring||Insects, eggs, larvae, and mildew|
|Summer||Codling moths and other insects|
|Fall||Mites and other insects|
|Winter||Insects and eggs|
Other Diseases and Insects to Watch For
Depending on your area, you may have to worry about certain diseases that affect apple trees, like fire blight, spider mites, and more.
Apple trees can produce fruit for decades if properly taken care of but pests and diseases can make it difficult. Combat these problems by spraying the correct products for the season, and don’t forget to apply dormant oil for the winter!
Featured Image Credit: Lichtsammler, Pixabay