FRUIT FLY BULLETIN #3 (January 22, 2014)
What can we do now while it is still the middle of winter?
GET BIG FRUIT TREES DOWN TO A MANAGEABLE HEIGHT
The mantra for dealing with Spotted Wing Drosophila (SWD) and the Cherry Fruit Fly (CFF) is ‘pick early, pick often, pick clean’.
In order to pick clean, we must have trees and bushes of a reachable size. Although it is still winter and January, this is a good time to do something about reducing the height of trees. In fact, this dormant time of year is the kindest time to do big structural cutting.
The objective is to reduce the fruit trees to a manageable height so all fruit can be picked. Some trees may need a few years to get them down to the desired height depending on age and height. A tree that is quite large will take a few pruning cycles to achieve this. Depending on the age of the tree you may have to wait 2-3 years before the next prune. Depending on the severity of the pruning there will definitely be a decrease in fruit production. Also, the following year the water sprouts will need to be removed and reduced.
Cherries are the BIG trees that most need to be dealt with as CFF and SWD both host on all types of cherries. But last July we also found SWD larvae in plums from an ornamental plum tree. Therefore big plum trees also need to be brought down to manageable size to bepicked clean.
If you have berry bushes or canes that you are planning to protect with nets this coming season, you will also have to think about getting them to a suitable size.
Any old shriveled fruit?
At the end of last season we should have removed all fruit from the previous year. But when you are cutting things back now, if you find dried and shriveled fruit still hanging on the branches, these might be housing over-wintering pests.
- Deal with these branches on your own property.
- Don’t truck them anywhere else, like Augusta, as you may just be spreading the infestation.
- Pile them up and wait until April when you are permitted to burn them with a hot fire.
- Or pack them in plastic for solarizing, or bury them deep.
Neglected and unwanted trees?
If you have fruit trees or bushes that you don’t pick or don’t take care of, the best thing would be to cut them down. Neglected fruit is just going to be a breeding ground for fruit flies, and a problem to everyone who is trying to keep their area clean.
For dealing with big trees, you may want to employ your favourite garden service or tree service.
If you have any more questions about this, one of our Garden Club members, John Meilleur of Ferns to Firs Tree Service, will be happy to consult with you. His contact info is: John Meilleur , ISA Certified Arborist #5671 AT, and ISA Tree Risk Assessor
Info@fernstofirs.com and 604-483-7774