When Should I Spray My Apple Tree

Publish Data: August 28, 2021

by Mumtahina Piya

My neighbor doesn’t want to spray his apple tree to maintain the authenticity of the fruit. He used to think that the chemicals can harm the taste of the fruit. But that’s not true. He had to spray it once the insects attacked his tree. 

Don’t think like that and also do not do this as my neighbor does! If you want to protect your apple tree, you must have to spray the tree. 

So when should I spray my apple tree?

Starting from the time of petal dropping, you can spray the apple tree before the harvest time. Though it’s the best time for applying insecticides and fungicides, feel free to put these products in different seasons throughout the whole year. The amount and timing of applications depend on the tree’s condition and requirement. From petal drops to the pre-harvesting period, you can have several applications of the insecticide. 

Spraying the tree is needed as much as sunlight, water, healthy soil, and fertilizer. If you want to have a healthy and pest-free tree, you will need several applications of pesticides at the appropriate time. 

Since the timing is so important, you need to know about it. Here I am going to tell you about the times of applications. Let’s dig in deeper!

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There are so many sprays available in the market. Here, I have mentioned various spray products that you can use for your apple tree. 

Dormant Spray

It is a horticultural oil that is also known as dormant oil. Mainly it is sprayed on the trees during the dormant season. It kills the scale insects, mealy bugs, aphids, powdery mildew, mites that grow on the barks. There are two forms of dormant spray, one is mineral-based, and the other one is plant-based.

Insecticidal Spray

This spray is for killing insects. Insecticidal remove the insects from foliage, trunk, or from developing fruits. It is better to spray it during the growing season. Also, avoid spraying during flowers blooming season as insecticides can kill the pollinators also. 

Fungicidal Spray

This spray is to control the spread of fungal and bacterial diseases. During the growing season, you can apply it to prevent fungal attacks on the apple tree. This spray is not for insects, but it can kill pollinators. So, you better avoid spraying it during the blossom season. 

General-purpose Spray

It is a commonly used spray to control insects and prevent diseases. You don’t need too much knowledge of that particular disease or plant life cycle to spray this. But it is a mixture of fungicides and insecticides, so sometimes it may result in using an unnecessary product for your tree. For example, your plant requires fungicides only. But when you are using a general-purpose spray, it may add pesticides too. In addition, it may not work for that particular disease or insect on your trees. 

Foliar Fertilizer Spray

This product is a mixture of micronutrients that are essential for the growth of fruits. Sometimes, there may be lacking nutrients in the soil. So, if you mix the micronutrients like zinc, copper, magnesium, molybdenum, and boron with water and spray it on the foliage, the foliage will absorb that ingredient. You can apply the macronutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus, and calcium to the roots area. After the absorption, the elements will start working for the growth of growing fruits. 

Spray products based on the diseases

Disease Name

Product Name

Fire Blight

Fire Blight Spray

Powdery Mildew

Copper Fungicide

Scab

Fungicide Spray

Spray products based on the pests

Pests Name

Product Name

Spider Mites

Insecticide spray and keep the plant healthy

Codling Moth

Bonide Insecticide

Tent Caterpillars

Bonide Insecticide

Apple Maggot

Kaolin clay solution

Aphids

Bonide all season dormant spray oil and insecticide concentrate

Time for spraying the tree!

The insecticide and fungicide applications can vary depending on the various disease. The applications of those products can also be different based on the lifecycle of the apple plant. The life stage of the apple tree is dormancy, pre-blossom, blossom, petal drop, and fruit formation. 

So, you might be thinking about why it is required to know all these about the application. You can apply this or that spray according to your preference. But that will not work. Use the sprays accordingly and appropriately so that they can’t harm the trees! So, let’s know about the timing!

Use general-purpose spray during the growth!

This fruit tree spray can reduce your application time since it is a mixture of fungicides and insecticides. As a result, you don’t have to spend time spraying insecticides and fungicides separately. This spray product contains organic products (like pyrethrins, neem oil) and inorganic products (like malathion, carbaryl, captan). 

Spray this fruit tree spray after every 2 to 3 weeks later during the growing season. Start applying it when the plant is at the green bud stage. Keep spraying it till two weeks later of the petal drops. But avoid applying it during blossom season as it might kill the pollinators. In addition, you can use some variations of this product until harvest. On the other hand, you can’t use some variations after fruit formation. So it is strictly recommended to follow the product label before use. 

Use dormant spray during winter!

We usually apply this dormant oil or spray during winter or early spring to kill the overwintering pests. Generally, based on the previous year’s pest attacks experience will help you to identify whether you have to apply it or not. You can spray this spray after every 3 to 5 years. There is no need to maintain it annually unless the pest attacks are severe. 

You must apply this spray within the dormant season. Once the flowers bloom, you can’t spray the tree. Also, make sure that the air temperature is above 40 degrees F. Furthermore, spray it only on the branches and not the soil surface. 

Use fungicidal spray during the growth!

This spray can improve the fruit quality by keeping the fungal diseases away from the tree. Fungus and bacteria attack the tree when the environment is in their favor. Some of the fungus and bacteria may attack during summer, some during winter or spring. So, it’s better to control them before the attacks. 

There is different spray schedule for different types of fruit trees. It’s better to use this product during the fruit formation period when the petal fall season ends. In addition, check the product label before application so that the trees will not get harmed.

Use insecticidal during the growing season!

Start using this spray when you want to keep the pests under control. Starting from the green bud stage, you can use this spray until the harvest season arrives. But make sure that you are not using it during blossom season as it can kill the pollinators. Maintain two weeks intervals per application. 

It’s better to avoid using the same insecticide repeatedly as the insects can create tolerance against it. That’s why to solve this problem using different types of insecticides by turn. For example, you can use the general-purpose spray for a few days and then switch to another insecticide for a few days. Like this, the pests won’t be able to create tolerance against that insecticide. However, don’t forget to check the application instructions mentioned on the package.

Use foliar fertilizer during fruit development!

If you notice the sign of the deficiency of micronutrients on your plant, this foliar fertilizer will help you get rid of the lacking. Apply this spray in cold weather when the petals are about to drop. When you are applying the micronutrients, make sure you are not spraying any unnecessary nutrients. The over-application of any nutrients can damage the tree.

The best time for applying it is in early spring when the leaf buds are open. Apply the fertilizer on the leaves, and the leaves will absorb the fertilizer and carry it to the fruits. Don’t apply it after the mid-spring. 

Spray schedule based on months

Till now, I have mentioned spray timing based on seasons or the apple plant’s lifecycle. But I think it will be helpful for you if I give you the monthly schedule for spraying. So, take a look at the following chart.

Season

Month

Activities

Winter

November – February

Pruning, removing garden debris, dead leaves, and spraying dormant oil.

Spring

March – April

Spray insecticides to control aphids, mites along with spray fungicides for apple scab, powdery mildew, and fire blight.

Summer

May – September

During the flowers blooming spread codling moth traps

Fall

September – October

Spray insecticides 

 

Few Last words for you

The best way to prevent insects and apple diseases is to spray apple trees. But most people make mistakes while spraying the trees. Either they spray the trees at the wrong time, or they apply inappropriate insecticides or fungicides. The improper application of the spray product can harm the tree severely. But I don’t want you to make these mistakes! That’s why I have given this guideline about the spray schedules of apple trees. I hope this schedule will help you with the whole spray thing and have a bountiful crop of apples!