Preventing Worms in dwarf peach tree

Asked February 24, 2018, 9:12 AM EST

Is there something safer to use than dormant oil spray on peach trees. I understand this is a good time to spray to avoid worms in the fruit. What do you recommend?

Anne Arundel County Maryland

1 Response

Dormant oil is effective at controlling overwintering scales, aphids, and spider mites but not larvae that affects fruit.
Peach trees can be susceptible to several insect pests as well as brown rot, a fungal disease. You will have to familiarize yourself with and manage and prevent pest problems. See our website on Common Problems of stone fruits. Look at oriental fruit moth and plum curculio. You will have to cut open the fruit and look for signs and symptoms this season.

Keep your peach trees in good health through proper planting, watering, fertilization, pruning, and pest management. See our website on stone fruits and the spray schedule from Virginia Tech.

The goal of your spraying should be to prevent and manage the most serious fruit problems such as brown rot, plum curculio and Japanese beetles. Certain insecticides such as those that contain pyrethroids are highly toxic to bees, pollinators and natural enemies. Do not spray them during bloom period. Remember when selecting fruit trees to research and select the most disease resistant varieties. Be aware that pesticides labeled in other states may not be labeled for home fruit and be available in Maryland.