The two keys to successful apple growing are pruning and spraying. Growing apple trees requires the adherence to a spray schedule for insect control and one of the most important sprays is dormant oil. “Dormant,” in this case, refers to the time of application, rather than the type of oil.
Dormant oils control a number of garden pests that overwinter on the tree and appear when the weather warms in the spring. They have no affect on diseases but will control scale and aphids. Dormant oils also control caterpillars that overwinter as eggs and some mites.
When to Apply Dormant Spray
Spray dormant oil in early spring before bud break. Wait until temperatures rise above freezing but don’t wait so long that temperatures are over 80 degrees. Apply the oil when the tree’s foliage is dry and wait if rain is in the forecast.
Not all dormant oils are organic pesticides. If you are growing your apples organically, look for oils that carry a “certified organic” seal on the label.
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