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Late fall sprays

Posted by Josh Willis 
Late fall sprays
November 15, 2022 11:32PM
Ok team, how late can a late fall spray go? We're running behind quite a bit on our fall spray to promote biological activity. Temps here in Maryland are now in the 40's to 50's during the day, and 20's at night. If we spray some neem, fish oil, and EM-1, is anything biological going to be awake enough to have that spray do any good? Or will it wake up on the warmer days, and better to spray something rather than skip it?

As usual, it seems I am exploring the limits of "not optimal." winking smiley

Earthworks
Zone 7a in West-Central MD
Re: Late fall sprays
November 16, 2022 06:02PM
I have the same question, Josh, so thanks for posing it to the forum.

In my part of the intermountain west we got early cold and snow cover and many of my trees still have green and partially colored leaves on them. It seems like a fall dormant spray will be impractical this year and probably not effective anyway. Not an unusual occurrence in my experience.

Pommes de Terre Acres
USDA Zone 5 - Dixon, Montana
Intermountain West Region
Re: Late fall sprays
November 19, 2022 02:48AM
Yo! So from where I sit, the beautiful thing is that nature is quite adaptable. Even in cold temps - if not, how long could it have survived this long? Will these sprays have the same effect as if sprayed in September or during warmer temps? Will they do anything at all? Who knows?
First, the neem is a seed oil and so good at doing many different things - including the FAK. Second, the fish oil gives the tree (at a minimum) a nutritional boost to provide more cytoplasmic antifreeze going into winter. At best it provides a nutritional boost to the microbes. But If it provides anything to microbes is another question - maybe, maybe not this late in the season. The EM-1 is the questionable one - will it survive, does it do any good? My take is that yes it will. The effect may be marginal (compared to warmer temps) but it can't hurt.
In the end, it never hurts to do this spray. I would add Cueva and leave out Em1 if you are looking for more of an FAK effect, but in the end it never hurts and only helps to boost the beneficial microbial base layer going into winter.

Mike Biltonen, Know Your Roots
Zone 5b in New York
Re: Late fall sprays
November 19, 2022 08:53PM
Thanks Mike; your 'take' makes sense to me. I think for my local situation I am going to have to rethink timing of my fall spray regime. I am normally harvesting my main fruit varieties from late Sept. thru late October and most of the trees typically have not begun a real slide into dormancy yet when early cold and sometimes snow makes spraying physically impractical. Integrating a fall spray during harvesting might make more sense for me. My operation is small enough I can probably work around any conflicts and it does seem that my trees need a 'cytoplasmic antifreeze boost' given that early and late cold have set fruit bud production back all too often in my orchard blocks.

Pommes de Terre Acres
USDA Zone 5 - Dixon, Montana
Intermountain West Region
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