apple crop damage #161568 - Ask Extension


apple crop damage #161568

Asked December 02, 2013, 10:14 AM EST

Rather than trying to decipher the message myself I've chosen to post excerpts from an email from a local resident regarding apple and plum issues, compost questions, etc. Please advise! Thanks!

"I think we have coddling moths and apple maggots.  My husband sprayed lime sulphur one or twice, but apparently, we need more input than just that.  Can you give us some pointers to increase the quality of our crop?

I think I have coddling moths, because much of the fruit looked like this: and it got much worse in later fall as they had time to burrow around or it may be apple maggots

I think we also had some flyspeck and sooty blotch - those don't really bother me but I thought it might help I.D. our problems. I think we also have some tarnished plant bugs, but they don't make the whole apple unusable. We've had long grass under the trees which I think we need to remove and perhaps mulch. Is there a preferred mulch for apples?

Also, our plums had a boom year but many rotted from the inside out. You could see many small points of mold emergiing from the skins. I thinned the fruit several times, but apparently not enough. What was wrong and What treatments do I need to do to minimize that molding agian.

I'm looking for a list of what to do when this next year. I'd like the treatments to be as organic as possible, but I think our pests have built up over time so I may need some extra help from chemicals until I can get those numbers down.

I also wonder how easy it is to kill the pests if you compost. I'm not sure I can get our compost hot enough in the winter to take care of the fallen fruit I've picked up."

Houghton County Michigan

Expert Response

The apple damage looks like apple maggot. moth has more of a distinct tunnel in the fruit. I don't think it is likely that codling moth is a significant pest that far north late in the season, but apple maggot makes a lot of sense. MSU does not have a lot on home fruit on their new website and they are thinking of adding more in 2014. I have several home owner spray guides I can send if you want.Virginia Tech posts one each year. was never able to figure out any organic way to control apple maggot since crabapples and hawthorn are also hosts for this pest. Organic growers hang lots of red balls covered with tangle foot and clean them off regularly.The plums sound like brown rot. The sulfur sprays before and during harvest would be an effective organic material to reduce rot. They would also want to remove all the mummies on their trees. me know if you need anything
Mark Longstroth Replied December 03, 2013, 10:32 AM EST

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