[NAFEX] Thoughts on Early Season Tree Spraying?

dmnorton at royaloakfarmorchard.com dmnorton at royaloakfarmorchard.com
Wed Mar 18 14:24:04 EDT 2009

A dormant oil spray is predominately for mites and scale.  If you have a 
problem with these pests then  I recommend a dormant oil spray.  Oil sprays 
are temperature sensitive and must be sprayed between 45+ and 75 degrees. 
That makes it somewhat difficult to spray in the early spring while trees 
are still dormant.  Because of this, I use Superior Oil - 70 sec because you 
can change rates and spray it even after 1/4' green if you need to.  It 
allows for much flexibility.  A Bordeaux mix can be tricky at best and can 
create timing issues as well.  Bordeaux is suggested for those orchards that 
have also had fire blight issues as well as insects which is why it consists 
of copper sulfate, lime and miscible superior oil.  It has to be mixed in 
the proper order and must be agitated continuously.  A fixed copper spray of 
copper hydroxide or copper oxychloride is the other alternative without all 
the hassle.  You cannot apply Bordeaux after 1/4" green like you can 
Superior oil and Bordeaux mixture residues have many compatibility problems 
with other pesticides and fungicides like captan. Fixed coppers can be mixed 
with oils, so that is why I use a fixed copper (specifically Champ) and 
Superior oil.  You cannot use Captan within 2 weeks of a copper spray, so I 
use an EBDC for my first 2 apple scab sprays.  This allows me much 
flexibility in my timing and if I need to I can mix any of these products

I have never seen the need for both a dormant oil spray and a Bordeaux 
spray.  In fact, I only do a dormant oil spray every other season.  This 
season is our year to spray oil.  Your choice of one over the other can 
depend on what you choose to use for your remaining spring sprays.  You and 
I are in almost the same climate zone, but the timing is based on tree 
phenology and GDD (Growing Degree Days.  I use a Bio-intensive IPM program 
and incorporate biologicals into the program with EPA recommended Reduced 
Risk chemicals.  We have around 12,000 trees and our spray tank holds 500 
gallons of product so we can cover the orchard in 4 tanks.  Most of the 
products you would choose depends on the particular pests you have in your 
orchard.  I don't necessarily spray for "every" pest present in the orchard. 
I monitor the most prevalent each season and then choose products that will 
provide the best overall coverage of the pests with the least amount of 
sprays.  Our annual budget for spraying is around $20,000 and one orchard 
spray can cost as much as $4,000, depending on the tank mix I might use.  I 
try to mix as many products as possible based on timing, GDD, pests and 

I hope this helps!

Dennis Norton
Royal Oak Farm Orchard
Office (815) 648-4467
Mobile (815) 228-2174
Fax (609) 228-2174
----- Original Message ----- 
From: <adaggy at twcny.rr.com>
To: <nafex at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Wednesday, March 18, 2009 9:17 AM
Subject: [NAFEX] Thoughts on Early Season Tree Spraying?

>I have been developing a spray schedule for my apple trees this year. In my 
>research, I have come across several university extension sites that 
>recommend dormant oil spray, bordeaux spray, or both at this time of the 
>year. I am curious what other people think about which option to choose. 
>Also, if doing both bordeaux and dormant oil, which would you apply first? 
>Are there temperature restrictions for bordeaux spray? The trees in 
>question are in Zone 5A.

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