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Timing regarding spraying for scab

Posted by Molly DellaRoman 
Timing regarding spraying for scab
May 06, 2018 04:49PM
Hello all,
This is my first time posting. My partner Tim and I purchased an existing orchard in Brooklin, ME last winter. The orchard began in the late 80's and has many different varieties of heirloom apples and pears, Asian pears, peaches and plums. It has always been certified organic. They have been on a sulfur spray program for scab for the life of the orchard. Scab is definitely an issue that we are trying to address with lime on leaf litter in the fall and improving the orchard floor with aged wood chips. It is going to take us a little while to get things in balance before we can decrease/eliminate the sulfur. We sprayed our first application on the apples and pears last Tuesday during green tip. We used a sticker with it and had a small amount of rain on Thursday and today (Sunday). With the sticker and fairly insignificant rainfall, we were hoping not to spray for 7-10 days. My question is however, we are not expecting any rain here until about a week from now. Is it all right to extend the time between the sprays if you are not receiving rain, or is it better to spray every week or so no matter what (considering we are right on the ocean and have fog most mornings). Just trying to figure out how to spray as little as possible! Thanks for any advice!

5 Star Nursery and Orchard
Zone 5, Brooklin, ME
Re: Timing regarding spraying for scab
May 07, 2018 03:23PM
Hi Molly,

A HON welcome and cheers to your first post!

Congratulations on your new orchard purchase

Question for you and your partner. . . What do you plan to do with the apples? Is this a business for you two? Are you going to be selling them or using them more for yourselves

Many growers, both conventional and organic, will spray on a schedule to be highly certain they are covered . . . or better put, that their trees are "covered", but our holistic approach looks to do things differently. We wish to increase a highly diverse biology within the orchard, above and below ground. Optimally, to do this, less fungicidal applications are best in this regard in order to help foster the strongest and most diverse microorganism communities in, on, and around our fruit trees. Sulfur and Copper, though okay for organic programs, can be over done and should be used as a tool, when needed, but not just for the sake of using the tool -- just to say we did or to check a box on a schedule.

Your foggy environment may well be conducive to further scab infections beyond the primary infection window in the spring. I would recommend that you plan to add the holistic summer spraying program to your spring efforts and see if the scab (and other secondary defects) are held in better check with those efforts.

How many trees and how many acres are you working with? Have you been on the acreage there for a full year already? What have you seen for disease pressures this past year? Did the previous owners leave you with any log books that journaled their spraying, harvesting, and/or experiences year over year?

Did you and your partner know that Michael Phillips is holding his Holistic Orchard Intensive again in June at his farm in New Hampshire? Boy, this would be an excellent opportunity for you to both go deep with your holistic awareness in a highly inspiring two day hands on class. [herbsandapples.com]

I want to put a plug in for you to get a soil test done in your orchard too. Even though the property has been organic certified for several decades (very cool, I might add), soil nutrients may be out of balance. Focus some time and energy on addressing areas in your soil reporting that may need attention too. A healthy and robust soil is the foundation of holistic orcharding success.

We have a number of HON members who farm along the north east coast. Perhaps you will hear from one of them with more insight and shared experience too.

Gopher Hill Apples
Zone 8 in California
Re: Timing regarding spraying for scab
May 15, 2018 01:34AM
The sulfur should have a residual effect of 7 days. If there is no rain you can certainly extend the time between sprays, especially if you have dry conditions like wind or heat and the fog burns off in the afternoons. We only did 2 sulfur sprays this year while some years we do more. We do reliably use limestone in the fall to break down fallen leaves as a way to stay ahead of it.

Fruitilicious Farm
Zone 9b in California
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