fruit picking and spraying

Asked September 7, 2016, 10:50 AM EDT

When is it time to pick Bosc pears, Jonathan apples, Golden Delicious apples and Fuji apples? Also do we need to spray one more time for codling moths?

Linn County Oregon

4 Responses

Most fruit will tell you when it is time to be picked. Bosc pears in the Willamette Valley usually need another month or so, and of course that depends on the weather. With apples and pears, I wait until I can pick one by gently lifting it on the branch and the stem separates from the limb. You can also tell pears by the color. They change from green to yellow, in the case of bosc pears they become a little more yellow, less brown and softer. However, pears can be picked just before they turn yellow and they will ripen off the tree.
Apples ripen at all different times from early July through November, again use the gently lift an apple off the limb and if it detaches easily, it's ripe. You can also tell by the aroma of the apple, it gives off a great "apple" smell.
Again, look for the colors to become more vibrant. If you have apples falling on the ground (not due to wind), that's another sign they are ripe. Taste one off each tree, is it juicy, sweet/tart, fresh? Apples left on the tree can over-ripen within days in the heat.
Colors change on the apples, if it is green with red stripes, the green can become lighter. Green apples turning yellow - as with Golden Delicious, they are ripening. The southern side of the tree and on the outside is where apples usually ripen first. The inner part of the tree, apples ripen later. Taste, smell, weather, color changes all define when you pick.
What type of spray are you intending to use for codling moth?

Thanks for your help. I using Fruit Tree Spray by Bonide for the codling moth. I had heard that a new hatch was to take place soon.

I will check with some of the OSU entomologists about a possible new flush of codling moths. I have not heard anything about the moths for a couple of months.

Codling moths can cycle through the summer about 4 times given appropriate food (i.e. apples, pears). Once in the apple your sprays do not work, however, there are less toxic sprays that you can use that will not harm you or other beneficial insects that will parasitize the worms. Neem oil would be my first choice. Sprayed on the fruit and leaves it will only harm insect pests. Insect Predators do not eat fruit or leaves but will eat the pests and usually pollen and nectar in many cases. My next choice would be spinosad another spray that will kill pests eating the fruit/leaves. I would also recommend using tangle foot which is a gooey substance that you can spread in a 1 inch circle around the trunk of the tree. The worms cannot get down to the ground to enter the soil through the goo. Also, pick up any fruit that has dropped to the ground and keep the area clean, destroy the fruit or eat it, do not allow the worms to emerge to finish their life cycle. This will cut down extensively on your moth problems.
The problem with the spray you are using is that is contains malathion which is an organophosphate and toxic to animals and humans. I have added a link for you to review . Have not heard back from the entomologists on their take on the data received this summer yet. You might also consider trichogamma wasps. They parasitize codling moth larva but the Bonide spray will kill them and all beneficial insects. If you do decide to use spinosad or neem, please follow the directions on the bottles. I will get back to you when I hear from OSU. Thank you for contact Ask an Expert