How to Save Your Apple Tree From the Bugs- the Organic Way
Today I am going to teach you how to protect your apple tree from being destroyed by insects. The only methods I teach are safe, natural, organic methods, so you can rest assured the fruit will be safe for you and your family. The insects most commonly attacking the apple are the codlin-moth, tent-caterpillar, canker-worm and borer. The codlin-moth lays its eggs on the fruit about the time of the falling of the blossoms, and the larvae when hatched eat into the young fruit and cause the ordinary wormy apples and pears. Owing to these facts, it is too late to reach the trouble by spraying after the calyx closes on the growing fruit. Spray all trees with a mix of Bt, fish oil and liquid seaweed. Rates per gallon: 2 tbs. Bt, 1 tbs. fish oil, 2 tbs. seaweed. Repeat every 3 to 5 days at twilight over a two week period. Moth eggs are hatching at this time, and the tiny larvae take only a day or two to eat their way into the sanctuary of a developing fruit, thus the need for frequent applications. During July, tie strips of burlap or old bags around the trunks, and every week or so destroy all caterpillars caught in these traps. The tent-caterpillar may be destroyed while in the egg state, as these are plainly visible around the smaller twigs in circular, brownish masses. Upon hatching, also, the nests are obtrusively visible and may be wiped out with a swab of old bag, or burned with a torch. Be sure to apply this treatment before the caterpillar begins to leave the nest. The treatment recommended for codlin-moths is also effective for the tent-caterpillar. The canker-worm is another leaf-feeding enemy, and can be taken care of by the spray.
The railroad-worm, a small white maggot which eats a small path in all directions through the ripening fruit, cannot be reached by spraying, as he starts life inside the fruit; but where good clean tillage is practiced and no fallen fruit is left to lie and decay under the trees, he is not going to give much trouble.
The borer’s presence is indicated by the dead, withered appearance of the bark, beneath which he is at work, and also by small amounts of sawdust where he entered. Dig him out with a sharp pocket-knife, or kill him inside with a piece of wire.
The San Jose scale is of course really an insect, though in appearance it seems a disease. It is much more injurious than the untrained fruit grower would suppose, because indirectly so. It is very tiny, being round in outline, with a raised center, and only the size of a small pinhead. Where it has once obtained a good hold it multiplies very rapidly, makes a scaly formation or crust on the branches, and causes small red-edged spots on the fruit. For trees once infested, spray thoroughly both in fall, after the leaves drop, and again in spring, before growth begins. Use miscible oil, one part to ten of water, thoroughly mixed.
Follow these instructions for keeping insects off your apple tree and you will be sure to enjoy crunchy, juicy, delicious apples- minus the worms!