I would like some info on fruit tree care: peaches, pears, apples, cherries, spray schedules, preventing diseases, blight, what safe products to use, organic, etc.
The Gardener’s Answer
Hi, Gabe in Kentucky: There are a few factors we should take into consideration when doing everything we can to prevent insect and disease problems. For fruit trees it is essential that they receive a minimum of six hours of direct sunlight each day. Nutrient levels and soil conditions are just as important. Stone fruit such as peaches and cherries are more susceptible to insect and disease problems than other fruit, and they do not thrive in the clay soil that we have here in Kentucky, so it is necessary to amend the soil for these trees. Good sanitation and cultural practices are essential in preventing insect and disease spread. Purchasing disease-resistant cultivars from a reputable source is the first step that should be considered when planting any fruit tree. Growing fruit organically is possible, but keep in mind that the fruit may not be picture perfect like we find the grocery stores. The following link is a publication provided by the University of Kentucky in collaboration with the Cooperative Extension service for home gardeners: www.ca.uky.edu/agc/pubs/id/id21/id21.pdf. This publication is full of detailed, reliable information on disease and insect control programs for homegrown fruit in Kentucky. Dormant oil, fixed copper, and pyrethrum are all organic control options. See Table 8 for specific spray schedules.