Fruit plants and trees are great to have in a garden. They are beautiful, and they produce a lot of enjoyable and tasty treats for the family. But people aren’t the only ones out there who enjoy fruit. Bugs and animals large and small enjoy apples, pears, strawberries, and anything else sweet and low hanging. Here are a few tricks to try to keep some of these fruit thieves away.
1) Plant natural pesticides close to your fruit tree – Onions and garlic keep a lot of insects away. Consider planting a small circle around the base of your fruit tree. The flowers are quite pretty, and later in the season, you can enjoy freshly grown onion or garlic.
2) Plant some flowers that attract bug-eaters – Try planting dill, caraway, Queen Anne’s lace, marigolds, or buckwheat near your tree. These will attract a fiercer crowd of insects that will feed off of the fruit eaters and leave your fruit alone.
3) Compost tea- This is just what it sounds like; you brew a tea based on compost waste and let it sit and stew for a few days as it builds strength. It may sound unappetizing and like a bug magnet, but many organic farmers have found success with it. You can brew your own compost tea, or buy some from a local retailer. It is suggested that you spray your fruit trees once before the flowers open and then as needed. You can also use compost tea in the earth surrounding the tree to feed the plant and provide much needed nutrients. Compost tea is considered a healthy complement to compost soil.
4) Baking soda and fungal disease – If your problem is fungal-related, you can mix two tablespoons of baking soda in a quart of water and spray the affected areas. Reapply the spray as needed until the fungus disappears.
5) Dormant oil spray – This is officially counted as a pesticide, so it might not qualify as organic. If you have severe insect problems this is a pretty straightforward and safe pesticide to use. You can choose an oil that is soybean based. Spray your tree in the winter before budding takes place to have the best effect. If need be, you can spray one more time later in spring, but before the buds open as you could destroy the flowers. Follow the directions as to any safety precautions you might need to take.