[NAFEX] Pruning and Dormant Spray

William C. Garthright billg at inebraska.com
Tue Feb 19 17:58:10 EST 2008

> Your pruning on any apple trees should be done while the trees are in complete dormancy.  If you have stone fruit, prune them at green tip, usually late March, or early April for Zone 5.

Thanks, Dennis! This will help. I'm mostly concerned about stone fruit 
blooming too early, anyway. I did prune my grape vines late last year 
(not late enough, as it turned out - but I don't think there's anything 
I could have done to delay them long enough).

How about pear trees? Should I prune them while they're in complete 
dormancy, like apples? I've got Asian pears, if that matters (though I'm 
planting some European pears this spring).

Also, just for my own education, why the difference in pruning apples 
and stone fruits? I guess I mean, why do apples needed to be pruned 
while they're still completely dormant? Thanks again!

> Your dormant oil needs to be done when day temperatures get above 45 degrees and freezing temps are not expected for at least 24 to 48 hours. For apple trees your dormant oil can be sprayed from dormancy up to green tip.

Good. As a practical matter, I'd prefer to spray everything at once, 
since I've got a big variety of fruit - and no two of any one cultivar. 
But as far as I can tell from the spray schedules, pretty much 
everything should get a dormant oil spray (not sure about gooseberries, 
currants, and mulberries, but I don't suppose it would hurt).

And I do want to spray as late as possible, if it encourages plants to 
break dormancy.

> You can never combine copper sulfate alone with dormant oil, but your fungicide spray does not need to be applied until green tip for apples and pink for stone fruit, so there should be no conflict with the dormant oil and the fungicide if you do the dormant oil prior to or at silver tip.

OK, that's a problem with copper sulfate, not fixed copper or lime 
sulfur, right? I saw lime sulfur recommended as a dormant spray the most 
often, for the biggest variety of fruit, so that's why I'd planned on 
that (no idea if that's a correct decision or not). As I say, I'm not 
sure what problems I need to prevent, except for apple scab and rust 
(which isn't controlled by a *dormant* spray, if I understand correctly) 
and anthracnose on my raspberries. Maybe I don't need a dormant spray of 
fungicide at all. I just don't know.

> If you go to http://www.hort.purdue.edu/hort/ext/sfg/ you can download free copies of the various spray guides for the Midwest that will give you all the timing for the various sprays needed.

Yes, I've got those, Dennis, and also some publications from Iowa State. 
And some pamphlets from local nurseries. Unfortunately, they're all a 
little different. It really is confusing for a newbie like me, 
especially one with just a few trees - well, quite a few, these days - 
in his backyard. I want to do what's prudent, but it's really hard to 
tell what that is.

But yes, you were a big help. Thanks again!

Lincoln, NE (zone 5)

I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, 
I go into the other room and read a book. - Groucho Marx

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