Freeze damage on Boxwood

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March Snows and Home Fruit Tree Spray Schedules
By John Fulton

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[March 24, 2017]  March Snows - While the concentration is on snow in March, the real emphasis should probably be on the cold temperatures experienced over the weekend. Snow is a good thing. It provides an insulating layer for everything it covers. Moisture provided by the snow.is also a good thing.

Early blooming plants such as apricots and peaches may have been the most heavily damaged among fruit bearing plants. Exposed blooms were undoubtedly damaged. Those with swollen flower buds will be able to tell shortly, as damage will be seen as brown portions of the flowers. For now, I would continue on a regular spray schedule and see what develops.

Shade trees and ornamental shrubs will also be affected. Many trees and shrubs had some exposed leaf tissue. Evergreens may also experience dead areas on tips of branches. A freeze may also lead to misshapen leaves as the dead areas limit expansion of good tissue. Itís not a bust, but things may not look picture perfect going into the spring.

Home Fruit Tree Spray Schedules

The first regular spray of the year is applied when the green tissue is Ĺ inch out of the bud. This spray for homeowners usually consists of a multipurpose fruit spray (and sulfur if needed for powdery mildew). Multipurpose fruit spray has been re-formulated to include malathion, captan, and carbaryl (methoxychlor was eliminated from the mixture several years ago). This same mixture would be used when the fruit buds are in the pink stage (when fruit buds show color). After that, persistence and consistence pays off as you spray with the same mixture about every 10 days until we get to within two weeks of harvest. In our area, we need to continue spraying this late because of apple maggot and sooty mold.

This spray schedule will also control borers on apples and pears, if you also thoroughly spray the trunk and main limbs of the trees. On non-bearing, young fruit trees where borers have attacked, you can spray the trunks every two weeks during June and July with a multipurpose fruit spray.

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The spray schedule for peaches, nectarines, apricots, and plums varies a little bit. The dormant spray for them uses captan fungicide. This is the only spray that controls leaf curl and plum pockets. The next spray is when fruit buds show color with captan, followed by captan at bloom. When the husks begin to pull away from the base of the fruit we would then spray with sulfur, captan, and malathion. This mix would then be used every 10 days or so to within a week of harvest. 

For borers on the peach group, you can spray or paint the trunk only with carbaryl (Sevin) on June 15, July 15, and August 15. We walk a tightrope with the loss of some of the insecticides since carbaryl can cause fruit drop or thinning on the peach group and some apples.

Fire blight has also been prevalent the past few years. Spray programs to combat this bacteria usually include spraying fixed copper as a dormant spray - or when green material is visible, but before a half inch out of the bud, and then a follow-up of streptomycin beginning at bloom (and on a four day schedule for no more than four sprays total). And, this is after you did a great job of pruning out material infected by fire blight to begin with.

[By JOHN FULTON, COUNTY EXTENSION DIRECTOR SERVING LOGAN, MENARD, AND SANGAMON COUNTIES]

 

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