Spraying Apple Trees in 2018
What is your recommendation for spraying a healthy apple tree with non toxic materials from January to harvest in the Fall. I have used Monterey "Garden Insect Spray" with .5% Spinosad in the past. Monterey just increased the price by 21% making the product very expensive for a monthly application from April to September. Jim Mettler Eugene, OR
Thanks for your question! First, please keep in mind that everything is toxic to some extent, including spinosad. Admittedly, it is less toxic than many alternatives, but it is still a pesticide.
Second, I am inferring that you're most concerned with codling moth based on the product you're using and the schedule you're applying it on. Is my inference correct?
For codling moth, there are relatively few organic controls, and several are not very effective. While neem oil, insecticidal soap, and pyrethrins are labeled for this pest, they're simply not good choices. Spinosad is probably one of the most effective organics, but I can certainly understand not wanting to pay 21% more! I can think of three options...
1. You can try to locate a different brand of retail spinosad, such as Bonide's "Captain Jack's Deadbug Brew."
1. You can try kaolin, which has been moderately effective, although I'm not sure of the cost, so you may not be saving anything.
2. You can check with some of the agricultural suppliers to see if there is a more cost-effective way to purchase spinosad. Entrust is the trade name of a commercial formulation, but I have no idea what packaging sizes are available, so the quantity and cost may be prohibitive. I know the big box stores won't have anything of that sort, and I doubt Wilco or Coastal will stock it either, although a phone call to them is free, so it's worth checking. I am thinking of Valley Agronomics in Harrisburg, Simplot or Wilbur-Wllis in Halsey, or Crop Protection Services in Tangent.
I hope this helps. Please don't hesitate to reply or call me at 541-344-1709 if you have additional questions.