You’ve been granted free access to this subscribers only article.
Is dormant oil safe to use on fruit trees?
Q: Can you tell me more about dormant oil, and should I spray my fruit trees with it?
A: Yes, dormant oil applied by label instructions to deciduous fruit trees helps control scale and other insects. It also has some disease preventative (bacteria) impact, especially if you mix in some Kocide (copper hydroxide).
Dormant oil is inexpensive and considered an organic treatment. Apply it to the stems and trunks of peaches, plums, pears, apples, and other deciduous fruit trees in February before blooming begins. To avoid bud damage, it must be applied when 48 hours of temperature above 45 degrees are forecast.
Q: My local nursery has all the fruit trees in. What peach and plum trees do you recommend? How about apples and pears?
A: The peaches I have had the best luck with are Junegold, Florida King and La Feliciana. Methley and Santa Rosa plum trees do well. For apples, I think Dorsett Golden and Ana are recommended. For pears, consider Kieffer and Le Conte.
Q: Both our Meyer lemons and Mexican lime were defoliated by the freezes. How should I deal with them?
A: You can expect some stem and trunk damage but may not know the level of the damage for a few months.
During the spring flush following a freeze, leaves on freeze-damaged limbs may grow but then will wilt soon after. After this wilt occurs on the spring flush, you will have a better idea about which limbs to prune.
Once any damage is evident, typically by early summer, it will be time to remove dead branches by cutting back several inches into healthy, green wood. Protect the large limbs that are cut with diluted latex paint if the returning shoots are few. Typically, the regrowth is vigorous and paint will not be needed.
If one of your trees defoliated, it will probably survive, but you won’t be able to expect any fruit in 2014.
Q: My Swiss chard was burnt by the first freeze but looks pretty now and has started to grow again. Is it still good to eat?
A: Absolutely, all greens and spinach should taste mild because of the cold weather.
Calvin Finch is a horticulturist and the director of the Water Conservation and Technology Center at Texas A&M-San Antonio. Hear him on “Gardening South Texas” on KLUP 930 AM radio Saturdays noon to 2 p.m., and 1-3 p.m. Sundays. Or, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Your Opinions and Comments
Be the first to comment on this story!
You must be logged in to post a comment.
Agriculture Today Archives
County committee nomination period begins (June 22, 2016)
Hartmann takes the steer by the horns to win state championship (June 22, 2016)
La Vernia FFA wraps up school year with honors, scholarships (June 22, 2016)
Livestock Market Reports (June 22, 2016)
Root rot knocks out roses (June 22, 2016)
TDA Market Recap (June 22, 2016)
Texas Hay Report (June 22, 2016)
A student’s ag-related journey (June 15, 2016)
Family Land Heritage news (June 15, 2016)
Five dirty truths on agriculture (June 15, 2016)
Horseherb galloping through yards (June 15, 2016)
Kristin Storey: South Texas queen to compete for national title (June 15, 2016)
Livestock Market Reports (June 15, 2016)
Miller announces assistance for farmers devastated by floods (June 15, 2016)
No “rain, rain, go away” as precipitation persists (June 15, 2016)
Schwartz takes lead as Texas state veterinarian (June 15, 2016)
TDA Market Recap (June 15, 2016)
Texas Hay Report (June 15, 2016)
Texas Rural Leadership Program (June 15, 2016)
It’s almost rodeo time in Stockdale (June 8, 2016)
Livestock Market Reports (June 8, 2016)
Save seed pods for next fall (June 8, 2016)
TDA Market Recap (June 8, 2016)
Texas Hay Report (June 8, 2016)
Big Time Texas Hunts entries now on sale (June 1, 2016)
Burbridge leads the way in Buck Taylor roping event (June 1, 2016)
Farm Bureau solicits AgLead, FarmLead participants (June 1, 2016)
June 2016 Gardening Calendar (June 1, 2016)
Livestock Market Reports (June 1, 2016)
Save squash from vine borers (June 1, 2016)
State Farm Bureau testifies on agricultural use valuation (June 1, 2016)
TDA Market Recap (June 1, 2016)
Texas Hay Report (June 1, 2016)