Planting Tips: Edibles

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What is dormant spray? Dormant spray is used to prevent insects and diseases that can emerge in spring. It is applied in the winter months when the plant is no longer putting on growth and is dormant for the winter. Dormant spray can be one of the most beneficial things you can do for your trees and shrubs.

What will dormant sprays treat? Dormant sprays can be sued on most plants. There are different types of dormant sprays; some treat insect problems, while others are used to combat fungus and bacteria that can cause disease. The problem you are trying to treat will determine which product you use.

What are the different types of dormant spray? There are three main kinds of dormant spray – oils, Lime Sulfur, and Copper based sprays. The oils are used to treat insect pests, such as scale and aphids. Lime Sulfur is very effective against fungal diseases, such as leaf spot and powdery mildew. Copper-based sprays are also effective fungal fighters and are plants; two sprays like oil and lime sulfur for example, are often combined to give broad-spectrum control of several problems.

What rates are dormant sprays applied at? Dormant sprays are not limited necessarily to the dormant season that is just when they are most effective and therefore usually applied. There are different application rates for a dormant tree versus a growing tree. The concentration in the dormant season is double+ the rate used during the growing season – dormant concentrations would blow the leaves right off a tree, but are safe to use on a leafless tree. If applying dormant spray during the growing season, be sure not to apply during bloom important to always read the label, as there are many different products, concentrations, and possible scenarios, and the application rates will vary accordingly.

When should I apply my dormant spray? The best approach is three treatments. The first application should be applied in late fall after leaves have fallen, the second in winter. The third just before bud swell in late winter to very early spring. Once the buds start swelling, this signifies the end of the dormant season. You will want to apply on a relatively dry day with no rain, so that product can stick without being washed off. Do not spray during bloom time as this can knock flower off trees along with beneficial insects, like bees.

How safe are dormant sprays for people? Compared to most pesticides, very safe. This does not mean they are safe to ingest or play around with, but they are much less toxic than sprays that would be applied in the growing season, and are often more effective due to their timing. When applying, you should use the same precautions as with any other chemical.

Are there any potential problems? A few things to keep in mind:

  • Lime Sulfur is notorious for staining non-plant material, such as walkways, patios, roofs, etc. This will leave a green color that is difficult to remove.
  • For apricots – make sure product label permits use on apricots.
  • Be careful when spraying evergreen plants. They will not usually take the hefty concentrations that the deciduous plants will. The label will generally give a recommended rate for evergreen plants ….read the label!

Bark & Garden Center product line varies from time to time to ensure we have the best product available.