Michael’s Apples Releases April 2014 Fruit Tree Care and Gardening Newsletter


Bare root trees for sale, plant sale, gardening classes, grafting classes, and pest control program, all in the newsletter:


Looks like we have gone from false spring weather back to regular spring weather; hopefully, the prophecies of precipitation will be realized and we won’t have any more hard freezes…..

I still have a few bare root fruit trees for sale. The trees will be arriving next week, and will be ready for pickup after 4 pm on Friday, April 5th. I’ll be taking orders/reservations until then. Contact me to receive a copy of the updated list and descriptions.

The Loping Coyote Farm plant sale will be on Saturday, March 29th, at Too Soul Tea Company, 542½ Plumas St., Reno, NV. They have many interesting fruits including cold hardy kiwis, elderberries, sea berries, and others. For the list and other information, go to their website: www.lopingcoyotefarms.com and click on the nursery page.

Grow Your Own Nevada Gardening Series Classesstart on April 3! Classes will be held Thursdays, April 3 through May 22 from 6-8 p.m. at the Cooperative Extension office in Reno and broadcast to 13 Nevada counties. For a list of classes, information, and to sign up, go to: http://www.growyourownnevada.com


I will give 5 grafting classes this year. Participants will go home with 6 grafted apple trees.

I will have a 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        April 5, at 10:00 a.m. at Rail City Nursery, Sparks, NV
  • Saturday        April 5, at 2:00 p.m. at Rail City Nursery, Sparks, NV
  • Saturday        April 12, at 10:00 a.m. at 901 Gordon Avenue in Reno
  • Saturday        April 12, at 2:00 p.m. at 901 Gordon Avenue in Reno
  • Saturday        April 26, at 10:00 a.m. 165 Bridge Street in Paradise Valley, NV

Register for the Rail City classes with Cindy at Rail City Garden Center, 1720 Brierley Way Sparks, NV 89434 Phone: 775-355-1551 Email:cindy@railcitygarden.net

To register for the classes at my house and in Paradise Valley, email me to reserve a spot. I’ll send the scion list and instructions. The cost for the class is $40 per person: please send your check to: Michael Janik at 901 Gordon Avenue in Reno, NV, 89509. 775-722-6303.

Classes will be limited to a maximum of 10 participants per class.


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) -Determine mating time using pheromone traps -Determine biofix and predict larvae hatch -Spray 200-250 degree day units after 1st biofix -Spray twice per hatch 7-10 days apart per label instructions -There are 3 hatches per year in our area
  • 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 and at other local nurseries

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; 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. Attached are photos from Ed Franks, home Orchardist and NAFEX member, and from UC Davis.

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

3/28/2014 mgj