Michaels Apples Releases April 2012 Fruit Tree and Gardening Newsletter


April 2012 Fruit Tree and Gardening Newsletter


I will give 4 grafting classes this year. Participants will go home with 6 grafted apple trees.

I will have a good collection of scions available from heirloom/antique, gourmet, and cider apple varieties. I’ll provide 6 dwarfing rootstocks (ELMA 26) per participant, scions, grafting rubbers, and parafilm grafting tape. Each participant will provide a grafting knife—I recommend a quality (like Stanley) utility (sheet rock) knife and new blade (the old-style straight, fat-handled, utility knife is better/safer than the ergonomic, curved types). BYOB (bring your own band aids).

Dates, times and locations are:

  • Saturday March 31, at 1:00 p.m. at Rail City Nursery, Sparks, NV
  • Saturday April 14, at 9:00 a.m. at 901 Gordon Avenue, Reno, NV
  • Saturday April 14, at 1:00 p.m. at 901 Gordon Avenue, Reno, NV
  • Saturday April 21, at 9:00 a.m. at 165 Bridge Street, Paradise Valley, NV

Classes will start promptly at the appointed times.

To register and attend the Rail City class, contact and register with Rail City at http://www.railcitygarden.net/aboutus.html#contact . The cost for the Rail City class is $40 per person.

To register and attend my classes in Reno and Paradise Valley, email me to reserve a spot. The cost for the Reno and Paradise Valley classes will be $35 per person. Classes will be limited to a maximum of 10 participants per class.

If you would like to graft an apple tree from your grandpa’s farm or the tree over the fence in you neighbors’ yard, you’ll need to collect a scion now while the tree is dormant. Find a fruiting limb; cut a shoot of last years’ growth. Ideally, the shoot (now a scion) should be about 10 – 12 inches long and the thickness of a pencil; shorter and thinner won’t matter—we’ll make it work. Do not collect last year’s water spouts or any root suckers. Dip the cut ends of the scion in hot candle wax, wrap loosely in a moist paper towel or newspaper page, and put that in a plastic veggie bag. Roll up the bag loosely and place on a tray in your fridge (not in the freezer or the crisper drawer). Oh yes, and label the scion—I use freezer tape and permanent marker. Bring the scion to the class.



Free Rose Pruning Demonstration


Reno Rose Society and City of Reno Parks Department Saturday, March 31, 2012 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM


You are invited to attend our annual Rose Pruning Demonstration on Saturday, March 31, 2012, from 11 AM to 2 PM at the Reno Municipal Rose Garden, east of the California Build­ing in Idlewild Park This is a great opportunity for residents to learn rose pruning techniques for a variety of rose types. Free sharpening of one pruner to first 50 attendees.


The demonstration will focus on the pruning needs of individual rose types based on rose spe­cies and the best time of year to prune the various types, including how to properly prune a climbing rose. Attendees are invited to bring gloves and sharp pruning shears to practice on the roses in the garden after the demonstration. Consulting Rosarians certified by the American Rose Society and the City’s Horticulturist Dianne Storz -Lintz will be on hand to answer questions on all aspects of rose culture and pruning. The pruning demonstration with its associated volunteer hours, go a long way toward maintaining the garden. If you can spend a few hours helping prune while you are learning or practicing, it would be greatly appreciated.


The one-acre Rose Garden has 500 varieties of roses and 1,750 total roses. The rose season is from early June to mid-September. The two peak bloom times are early June and late August. The Rose Garden was established in 1958 under the leadership of Fred Galloway and is now dedicated in his honor. Galloway was the City of Reno Horticulturist for over 25 years, retir­ing in 1983.


The RENO ROSE SOCIETY is an affiliate of the American Rose Society and consists of rose lovers in northwestern Nevada and east central California. As part of its goal of providing educational and community service, the Society hosts an annual rose show, pruning demon­stration, and educational programs which are free and open to the public. For information on our programs or membership, go online to http://www.renorosesociety.org or call 775 746­1140 or 971-0777


The main concern for us in April is to begin our spray program to minimize disease and insect damage to our fruit trees. Pest management is one of the more complicated aspects of raising fruit trees. I practice Integrated Pest Management (IPM); IPM minimizes pest-related loss of fruit with as little cost to the grower and as little disruption of the environment as possible.

First the outline, then the details:

Spray Outline for tree fruits

  • Dormant oil spray—smothers over-wintering aphid eggs
    • January or February when weather is warm and dry (optional)
    • At or just before ¼ inch green tip (which on my trees is NOW!)
  • Fungicide—helps control powdery mildew
    • 10 days after dormant oil, but before bloom
  • Insecticide—controls codling moth (in larvae stage)
    • First spray at 100% petal drop
    • Determine mating time using pheromone traps
    • Determine biofix and predict larvae hatch
    • Spray twice per hatch 7-10 days apart (3 hatches per year)

Note: Codling moths prefer apples and pears, but will also attack stone fruits. I limit my insecticide sprays to apples and pears bearing fruit (no use spraying non-fruiting trees and kill beneficial insects). I don’t spray stone fruits (cherries, plums, peaches, nectarines, etc) unless I find—or found last year—codling moth damage on the stone fruits.

Spray Program Details

Go out and look at your fruit trees. Notice that many of the buds have swollen and become enlarged; the trees have gone from the dormant to the delayed dormant stage. Watch your trees more closely to see when the spring leaves begin to emerge signifying the next growth stage: ¼” green-tip.

Dormant, delayed dormant, and up to ¼” green tip is the time to use dormant oil to control aphids, scales, and other pests. The oil smothers the pests in the egg phase before they hatch. Dormant oil is one of the most benign pesticides (to humans), is easy to use, and is used in both organic approved and IPM programs. Every fruit grower should at least use dormant oil at or just before ¼” green tip and if possible once earlier during dormant or delayed dormant stage when temperatures are above 32°F and no rain predicted for 48 hrs.

The next stages of development are ½” green tip, tight (bud) cluster, first pink/white, and bloom. At 10 days after the dormant oil spray and before bloom, I apply a fungicide. If you have only a few trees and have had no problems with fungi, this can be an optional spray as our dry climate inhibits most fungi except powdery mildew. I have had powdery mildew once on spring growth and simply pruned back the shoot; more widespread infestations would need to be treated with a spray. Any fungicide approved for use on fruit trees will suffice—I use Captan; the organic option is a lime-sulfur spray.

At this point, we have the mandatory cautions: Read label directions, use only products specifically recommended for your particular fruit tree or plant, and follow the label instructions, especially for clothing, gloves, eye protection, and respirators. Don’t get sloppy and careless even with the organic approved products. Just as I don’t want to breathe or ingest Captan, I certainly don’t want to inhale sulfur or get it in my eyes! Also, use a different sprayer for the various applications; don’t spray insecticide or dormant oil from a sprayer that once contained an herbicide!

Do not use pesticides when trees are in bloom! You will kill the honeybees and other pollenators. Honeybees are responsible for 80% of pollination and hence, 8 out of 10 apples on each tree.

After blossom drop, the battle starts against the codling moth. Codling moth is the most damaging pest for fruit growers west of the Rockies. The moth (about ½” long with coppery iridescence near the wing tips) lays its eggs in the spring; the larvae (dang worms) emerge and bore into the fruit, feed, and then leave the fruit, pupate, and restart the cycle. The cycle repeats 2 or 3 times each year in northern Nevada.

Know your enemy. The codling moth lays its eggs in the spring; the larvae hatch, bore into the fruit, feed, and then leave the fruit, pupate, and restart their reproductive cycle. The cycle repeats 2 or more times each year depending on local climate/weather.

Timing your spray to kill the larvae at hatch is the key to minimizing damage. I spray once at 100% blossom drop. Then, I use pheromone traps to determine the optimum times to spray.

I order extra traps; I’ll have some for sale for $5 each while they last. Codling moth pheromone traps can also be purchased in Sparks at Rail City Nursery http://www.railcitygarden.net.

You will need 3 traps per year. The triangular, delta trap is equipped with a pheromone capsule and a sticky surface inside; the male cruises (for babes) at dusk, senses the female pheromone, flies into the trap, and becomes a statistic.

Set out one trap (or more–I use 2 in my 40′ x 120′ orchard area) per instructions when trees are in full bloom and monitor daily. When dusk temperatures are around 55°F, you will notice one moth; a few days later, another. Then, when the dusk temperatures are 62°F and above, an all-out mating frenzy begins and you trap several (like 80-100) of the unlucky boys in one evening. This event is the biofix.

Next, get on the internet, google: “codling moth degree days” and print the chart from www.ipm.ucdavis.edu. Each day, look up the high and low temperature from the day before; record the “degree-days” number where the two intersect on the chart. When the degree-days equal 250 -300 from the first biofix, the eggs begin to hatch and the larvae burrow into the fruit. Spray; then, spray again in 7 to 10 days or per pesticide label instructions. After the first biofix, wait 30 days and set out the second trap..

Several pesticide products are suitable for use on codling moth larvae including malathion, imidan, and permethrin remain as the option for IPM; lime-sulfur, Bt, Spinosad or pyrethrum are approved for organic certified growers.

An alternative to multiple sprays is to bag the apples. The easiest and cheapest method is to use a generic ‘Ziploc’ sandwich bag. After all blossoms have dropped, spray an insecticide approved for codling moths and fruit trees; then, when fruit is about the diameter of a dime or a little less, thin the fruit and place the bag over the remaining fruit. Check the bags after it rains and cut out the corner of the bags to allow them to drain if they contain water. Paper bags may also be used, but need to be removed after the last codling moth hatch to allow fruit to develop proper skin color.

For a complete discussion of codling moths, go to: http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn7412.html

3/30/2012 mgj