a beautiful landscape in northern california sometimes requires a little extra attention when it comes to insects.

After hearing from thousands of gardeners over the years, two of the biggest challenges we face in our region are fungi, and, sucking and borer type insects.  Fungi comes quickly and can easily overtake your tree or shrub if you’re not on top of things.  Get ahead of those pesky insects that suck on the foliage or bore into the trunk system.  If these diseases and pests are not addressed, they could lead to a gradual death of the plant.  (See Photo 1: Peach Leaf Curl, Photo 2: Powdery Mildew, Photo 3: Aphids).

We suggest dormant spray. Using dormant sprays with a copper fungicide (for fungi) mixed with Parafinnic Oil (for insects) is the most effective solution around. It is highly recommended to apply these three times a year during the dormancy period to achieve full effectiveness. 

What does “dormant” mean? Dormancy is the period during winter when trees and shrubs lose all of their leaves and stop actively growing. This gives gardeners the perfect opportunity to destroy pests and diseases including mites, aphids, rust on roses, powdery mildew, shot hole fungus, and peach leaf curl. Dormant spray is one of the most important sprays this season.  Thoroughly applied at the proper times, dormant sprays prevent and kill more insects and diseases than most other sprays during the year. They can also help reduce the amount of spraying needed later in the season.

Dormant spray comes in two common forms: oils and copper-based sprays.  
Remember that oils are used to treat insects like spider mites, scale, aphids and other pests by smothering eggs and other insects during their overwintering stages.  While copper-based sprays effectively fight fungal diseases like powdery mildew and peach leaf curl.  Often the two sprays are combined to get a broader spectrum of control of various pests and diseases.

dormant spray
For best pest & disease control, dormant sprays should be applied multiple times a year.
For Fruit & Nut trees three applications are recommended:
• Late fall (Thanksgiving), after leaves have dropped
• Mid-winter (New Year’s Day)
• Early spring (Valentine’s Day), before buds begin to swell
For Roses apply:
• Mid-winter, after pruning and clean up
• Early spring, just before bud break (new leaves)

We have two favorite dormant sprays that we recommend. They are easy to use for beginning and experienced gardeners alike.

Monterey_Liqui_cop-976257-edited-999232-edited-036630-edited.jpgMonterey Liqui-Cop:
• Used for: the control & prevention of diseases attacking citrus, fruit, nuts, vegetables, roses & other ornamentals
• Controls: peach leaf curl, brown rot, fire blight & others

1)  Shake well before use
2)  Mix approximately 3-4 Tbsp. per gallon of water*
3) Apply product, be sure all plant surfaces are covered thoroughly (trunk to twigs)
*May be mixed with Monterey Horticultural Oil

Monterey Horticultural Oil.jpgMonterey Horticultural Oil
• Used for: controlling insect infestations on citrus, small fruits, tree fruits, nuts, vegetables, roses & other ornamentals
• Controls: aphids, mites, scales, whiteflies and other soft-bodied insects.

1)  Combine 2.5-5 Tbsp. per gallon of water*
2)  Wet entire surface of branches, main limbs and trunk
3)  Must be above 40°F when spraying outdoors
4)  Do not apply if tree has been sprayed with a sulfur material in the past 30 days
* May be mixed with Monterey Liqui-Cop


Tips from the experts:

  • Though dormant sprays are safe to use on fruit trees and deciduous trees & shrubs, they are not recommended for evergreens
  • Clean up any leaves, dropped flower heads, fruit or nuts, and broken branches & twigs to further prevent fungus and insect development
  • Apply in dry conditions when there is no wind and it is above 40 degrees
  • For easy application try a hose-end sprayer or a one-gallon hand-held sprayer
  • For more information call or stop by one of our locations