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January 30, 2023

Dormant Sprays

While the growing season takes a hiatus, the bugs, pests and diseases go dormant. They wait out the winter months to be revived with the springtime sun and feed off of your new garden. If you are like us, and want to have the best garden success you can this year, treating with dormant spray is vitally important.

Dormant sprays are refined oils that smother overwintering insects such as aphids, mites, scale, thrip as well as insect eggs. You may have heard them referred to as horticulture sprays. These come in many different brands and options to provide for the specific needs of you and your garden. Dormant sprays are best applied when plants are in their dormant stage, after the leaves have dropped in the fall and before the leaf buds open in the spring. Many of the diseases and insects that can attach to your fruit and nut trees, grapes and even brambles can be headed off right now!

Some of the most common trees sprayed with dormant spray are: quince, almonds, crab apples, roses, nectarines, apricots, cherries, pears, apples and peaches . In the small fruit category, the most common type to have dormant spray applied to them are raspberries, grapes, blueberries and blackberries.

Different types of sprays are preferable to the specific application you are using it for. There are three main kinds of dormant sprays: oil, lime-sulfur, and copper-based. Oil-based sprays tend to be used for their effectiveness against pests and bugs. Lime-sulfur and copper and fungicides that prevent the spread of bacterial and fungal diseases such as “peach leaf curl, fireblight, powdery mildew, brown rot and shot hole”. This would be a great choice for your fruit trees. For the smaller fruit plants, another spray made from liquid lime-sulfur is typically used. Combination based dormant sprays are the most often used to create a broader-spectrum treatment. An example of this would be an oil and lime-sulfur dormant spray, which would treat both the pests and fungal diseases effectively.

When you apply “dormant sprays” via the label directions and be assured they are not going to harm humans, the environment or the beneficial insects in your garden. It’s “pet friendly” and very easy to apply!

Applying the Dormant Spray

For the average home garden, it is NOT needed every year. If your most recent harvest season was plagued by pests or diseases and impacted the quality of the harvest then that winter is when you should apply the “dormant spray”. To be most effective, every inch of the trunk, stems and branches should be coated. Insects and diseases will hide in the cracks and crevices of the bark. Your goal is to completely cover any insects, insect eggs, fungi and bacteria, which will essentially smother them and even disrupt their cellular activity. 

It’s best to spray when the temperature will be 40 degrees F or higher. Try to avoid spraying on windy days for the best coverage and saturation and hold off if a freeze is coming soon. (This is because dormant sprays are often cut with water and the water in it will freeze and that can cause harm to the plant, tree or shrub and harm them.)

Sometimes the “dormant sprays” will not completely control an insect or disease but suppress it. It may be necessary to use additional insecticidal or fungicidal sprays during the growing season. (Especially during the warmest summer months.)

We have lots of options for these helpful treatments to protect your gardens and orchards. Come in and talk with our team and we will happily show you our various items and help you find one that will suit your needs!

We’ll see you at the Co-op!

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