As harvest approaches for apple trees, it is a good idea to walk around your trees and observe how things look on August 1st. Look at your overall pruning job and take note as to what you should change next year. Is there adequate airflow through the tree? Can sunlight reach all of the fruits? How do the leaves look? And of course the fruit: clean? insect damage? fungal issues? size of fruit?

Each tree has different issues and by observing them individually throughout the season you can address some of those needs pre-emptively next year. Be sure to take good notes in your journal


Greater Peach Tree Borer

I noticed the first wave on GPTB today in my sticky wing trap.  Tomorrow I will spray the lower trunk of my peach trees with a solution of neem.  I will not spray the leaves as this pest is interested in boring into the trunk to lay its eggs.  I will also drench the base of the tree to try and reach the grub stage of the insect.  I will attach a link from Ohio State for more information about the Greater and Lesser Peach Tree Borer.  Note that the treatment that they recommend in the article is not an organic product.http://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/2000/pdf/2032.pdf

Aphids on Cherry Trees

Local grower Karen Egan had a question about an aphid outbreak on cherry trees.   Besides insecticidal soap, an application of neem oil could be effective.  The Neem tree (Azadirachta Indica) is an evergreen and native to India.  The product comes in several dilution rates.  Orchardist Michael Phillips prefers 100% neem that is available online from different sources.  Care must be taken when using because the oil is very thick.  Use warm water and add a liquid soap as an emulsifier.  The neem must be thoroughly diluted or phototoxicity can occur, causing the leaves to burn.
Also beneficial insects can be ordered that attach aphids. Check out http://www.ipmlabs.com and http://www.biconet.com for more information.