Michael’s Apples Releases August Fruit Tree Care Newsletter


August 2012 Fruit Tree Care

Got Fruit? If you have more fruit than you can ever imagine using, consider donating the excess to one of the gleaning organizations in the area. In Reno/Sparks, contact Pamela Mayne at Reno Gleaning Project renogleaningproject@yahoo.com; leave your name, address, phone number, and the fruits you have and she will get back to you. After you have picked the fruit you want, her volunteers will come out and pick the rest of your crop and donate it to needy folks in the Reno area. For a recent article on her work, see: http://www.ediblerenotahoe.com/editorial/fall-2010/307-fall-2010-edible-notables

In Carson City, Healthy Trees’ Tom Henderson and Fruit Barons’ Gianna Shirk support and manage a similar program. To volunteer your time or your tree fruit, contact Gianna at 775-220-6330. For a recent article on their work, see:


Bumper crops of most fruits are bending limbs in the Reno area this year! If your trees are overloaded, you can thin out damaged fruits and support limbs with scrap lumber.  Cutting a V or U shape on one end and an old rag or carpet remnant on contact point will help protect the tree bark.  Remember to pick up and remove fallen fruit at least once weekly, and keep the area under your trees clean. When picking apples and pears, twist and lift; yanking the fruit off the branch may damage/remove next years’ buds.

If you have apples and pears and are tracking codling moths, hang your third pheromone trap around August 15; we should have a 3rd biofix on or a little after Aug 20th.  Again, count the degree days, and apply pesticide at the proper time. If you haven’t saved the link yet, google ‘UC Davis codling moth’ for detailed information.

If you have cherry trees, you will want to check for pear sawfly larvae damage now. Although a pest of all fruit trees, cherry trees seem to be especially susceptible in northern Nevada. Examine the leaves on your cherry tree for leaf damage evidenced by the green upper surface of the leaf is gone leaving only the brown skeletal veins. Then look on the leaves for a small (3/8 inch long and 1/8 inch wide), slimy, dark brown to black, little slug—the larva of the pear sawfly (a small wasp). For more info, go to: http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/r603302211.html.

If the damage is extensive (more than 20 % of the leaves effected) and the larvae are still present, take action. I generally will spray with Sevin or Spinosad. If unchecked, the larvae will strip the leaves on a large portion of the tree and severely damage the tree if not kill it.

Check your soil moisture by digging a small hole just beyond the drip line of the tree; the soil should be moist but not soggy. If the soil is hard and dry, increase your watering time. You will also want to check the moisture in your garden and yard as well.

Now is the time to apply Bt to tomatoes to kill the tomato hornworm before one eats one of your tomato plants for dinner; you can also use Bt on cabbage to control the cabbage looper (the 1” green caterpillar).  Buy a small container; it goes a long way.