There are many reasons why people choose to plant trees on their property, which include to improve the appearance of the landscape and to provide shade. It's often necessary for homeowners to contact a tree service to trim their trees, care for diseased trees and to remove trees. We aren't affiliated with tree service professionals but we think homeowners should understand the importance of tree specialists and why their services are needed. We researched tree care and talked to professionals in the tree service industry to obtain the information we needed for this blog. As you read these articles, you'll learn when it's necessary to contact a tree service to maintain and care for your trees.
Fruit trees are a delicious addition to your backyard, but you'll soon realize that if you want delicious fruit, you have to provide your trees with great care. One of the most important steps in caring for fruit trees of any variety is applying a dormant oil spray. Here's a closer look at this early-season care step.
What is dormant oil spray?
Dormant oil is a blend of oils and other ingredients that are meant to be applied to your fruit trees during the dormant season. Typically, the spray is applied in late winter or early spring, just as temperatures are starting to rise above freezing and before the tree develops buds. The base oil is often a petroleum-based oil, but in recent years, some manufacturers have begun using vegetable oil as the base. Insecticides are suspended within the oil. An oil base is used because it clings to the tree much better than a water-based formula.
What problems do dormant oil sprays protect against?
The primary purpose of dormant oil sprays is to protect against harmful insects. The spray covers any pest eggs that had been laid on the tree and basically suffocates them, preventing them from hatching into larvae when springtime comes. This is one reason why it's so important to apply the spray early in the spring; you have to do it before the eggs hatch. Dormant oils protect against aphids, tent caterpillars, and various species of mites.
How do you apply dormant oil spray?
Many homeowners opt to call a tree care company and have the professionals apply a dormant oil spray. This is usually a more cost-effective option in the short-term since it saves you from buying a sprayer. However, if you have several fruit trees, it may be worthwhile to buy a sprayer and apply dormant oil yourself.
Wait for an early spring day when the temperature is above freezing, and then begin applying the spray near the top of the tree's crown. Be generous, and make sure the oil is settling into all of the tree's nooks and crannies since this is where insect eggs are typically hiding. You want to be no more than a foot from the branches when spraying. Slowly work your way down the tree, and make sure even the trunk is covered. Wear goggles, a mask, and long sleeves while you spray; it gets messy.
Dormant oil spray will go a long way towards protecting your fruit trees from insect pests in the coming months. Reach out to a tree spraying company if you have any questions.