OK, It's a moderately nice January day and I finished pruning the apple
trees. Looks like it's going to be a great year for apples but I need to
know the what, when, where, and how much of spraying apples trees to fend
off both predator and disease!
Any advice, references, etc???
West Central Wisconsin
Piggy-backing on Ron's question, I've always heard that apples are THE
most sprayed of all crops, and that one should avoid the seeds and
peel at the very least. And preferably eat organic apples.
Is this true about the spraying? Does it apply only to large
commercial orchards (maybe Ron's IS a l.c.o.).
Looking forward to the wisdom of Those Who Know.
A king can stand people fighting but
he can't last long if people start
Report Card: Pesticides in Produce
"...peaches leading the list, then strawberries, apples and nectarines."
Pesticides in Apples
Pesticides were found on 91 percent of the apples tested.
There were 36 pesticides found on apples:
12 Most Contaminated
Buy These Organic
. Bell Peppers
. Imported Grapes
. Red Raspberries
Or, grow some of them yourself, if possible. In my garden (upstate NY), I've
never had any reason to spray peppers, potatoes, raspberries, spinach or
strawberries. They all turn out flawless. Climate is a factor, as is the
time of year the crops are grown, relative to the life cycle of certain
Apple growers seem to be divided into two camps, organic and the rest of
us. I am
not a strict organic guy. I have seen the results of other hobbyist apple
growers, who try to be organic, and I find the results disappointing. They
are content with losing a portion of their crop, whereas, I want to preserve
as much as I can. I use a combination of spraying and organic methods (sticky
balls, traps, etc.). In my area,
these organic methods are not enough to fully protect the fruit. I don't feel
is endangered by spraying, when using certain precautions. One is to stop
spraying a few weeks before harvest to give the sun time to burn off the
chemicals and the wind
and rain to do a similar job. As a secondary precaution, I wash all my fruit
with a mild
soap solution. Do I remove the chemicals 100 per cent? Probably not, but the
is very small. The chemicals do not penetrate the skin, so if it still of
concern, you can peel the skin off before eating.
I never buy store apples, but for them, I would certainly take the second and
third steps. I don't trust the 'organic' label on apples. I suspect some of
them may be sprayed occasionally with chemicals, if a farmer is in danger of
losing his crop.
The seeds are not susceptable to spray contamination, and besides, who eats
I don't know what you spray with, but as the web sites indicate, some
products are systemic, so you can wash your apples all day long and you
won't get rid of those chemicals. And, sun, wind & rain won't do a thing,
I don't grow fruit trees, but I seem to recall reading about the idea of
using a material similar to floating row cover to completely wrap dwarf
trees. Obviously, this won't address fungus problems, but it should
certainly help with some of the bugs. Have you explored this idea?
You are definitely wrong about the sun, wind, & rain. It's a question of
and I specifically said that the residue remaining would not be
ingest much more junk into our bodies by just breathing our poluted air. If
wanted to be safe, you would become another 'bubble boy', who was locked
into a completely controlled environment because of his poor immune system.
If you define organic to something that grows naturally, you may want to
about Wolfsbane, Death Angel Mushrooms, Marijuana, Hemlock, Foxglove,
Mandrake, Poison Sumac, etc. I am not suggesting these are used on apples,
but I am just using that as an illustration for comparison.
It's called 'Surround'. It is a disgusting powder that covers your fruit. I
it and it doesn't do the job. It's a pain to apply, and an even greater pain
to clean off
after harvest. Surround is primarily made of Kaolin, a clay substance. I
the potential problems of ingesting clay on a medical website and they claim
following: "Clay or dirt eating has been associated with lead poisoning in
and pregnant women, with potential risks such as low red blood cell count and
Clay or dirt eating has been associated with lead poisoning in infants,
children, and pregnant
women, with potential risks such as low red blood cell count and brain
like this organic spray has potential detrimental effects, as well.
Unfortunately, the organic sprays have a long way to go to approach
the effectiveness of chemical sprays. I am experimenting with covering the
with zip lock bags and mesh nets. It seems to be working nicely, but it is
labor intensive approach, and only practical in protecting a small percentage
I'm definitely wrong about sun, wind and rain?? Before we continue, let's
agree on some definitions. Do you know what "systemic" means? Do not post
links to dictionaries or any other source. Tell me in your own words what a
systemic pesticide is.
No, I'm not talking around something you spray or dust onto the fruit. I'm
talking about a gossamer-like fabric which allows light & rain to penetrate,
but stops the majority of insects from contacting the plant. In catalogs and
garden stores, you'll see it labeled as "floating row cover" because it's so
lightweight that it appears to float. I can't recall where, but in the past,
I've seen it sold in larger sizes for covering dwarf fruit trees. You'd
obviously need to wait until enough pollination had taken place, and then
cover the tree. Do some research. You might discover something interesting.
Since you were the first one to use the term, why don't you tell me what
you meant it to be?
I have heard of this material for ground covers on plants like strawberries,
but I do not see it as a practical use atop a fruit tree. The branches of
tree would poke holes in it allowing the critters to come in.
You're pretty slippery. A systemic is a substance which is absorbed into the
plant's tissue. It is not removed by wind, rain, sun, or washing the fruit.
It may break down in some way, but since you know nothing about the
chemicals you're discussing, you can't make that claim without further
research. You're exactly the kind of customer the chemical companies hope
The foodnews.org site provides a list of chemicals commonly found in certain
fruits and vegetables. Some are systemic. Their list is a good starting
point for your learning process.
Never having used it, you have no basis for the claim that it would be
mechanically unreliable. You just want to believe it. Faith has no place in
science or gardening.
You didn't, Ron. There's always one shmexpert around who likes to spread
misinformation about pesticides. I enjoy crushing them.
As far as your situation, I like what the late Henry Mitchell (a garden
writer) said about growing one's own fruit: If you buy sprayed fruit from
the grocery store, you're exposed to weird chemicals. If you spray it
yourself, you're exposed to it even more.
Do some research on organic methods. You might not get perfect apples, but
you can probably take some measures that will make an improvement over doing
And what makes you such a shmexpert?
I'm not crushed. You organic guys treat this subject like a religion. I'm
buying it. The whole organic thing is overstressed, overcommercialized, and
in many respects incorrect.
At least I know what chemicals I'm using on my fruit. The commercial guys
(including the organies) can spray with anything they want and you are not
any wiser. There is no medical evidence that controled chemical spraying
causes any disease. Sure a car produces lethal carbon monoxide, but nobody
tells you to put your nose to the exhaust pipe. There are polutants all
us, which are out of our control to avoid. I put chemical spraying way way
down the list when I control the spraying and washing of the fruit
I would also like to see some documented evidence that the sun has no effect
on burning off these chemicals. Anyone who eats his fruit right after
and doesn't even wash it off is ingesting bad stuff, and I am not
that people do that.
I think we have given Ron two basic choices, organic or not. If you are a
about using chemicals, you go organic. If you think you can use them wisely
and preserve more of your fruit, you use chemicals.
I don't claim to be an expert. However, I *do* know that some chemicals are
DESIGNED to be absorbed into the plant tissue, while others are INTENDED to
work on the surface of the plant. Perhaps you thought that when I said
"systemic", I meant that the absorbtion was a chancy kind of thing. It's
not. The manufacturers clearly explain how the products work.
You, however, were oblivious to these two major categories, right? You
didn't know what "systemic" meant. You may, in fact be using some products
which work this way, but you have no idea. Therefore, I did not need to be
an expert in order to tell you that you can't claim anything about how rain,
wind, sun or washing will remove residues. Nothing removes systemics except
the passage of time (sometimes).
Nah...I'm not that fanatical about it, mainly because there's little I can
do about chemicals. If I need carrots, and none are available in the organic
area at the store, I buy regular ones. What I *am* fanatical about is
stopping the spread of misinformation. There are two generations (so far)
which totally missed a period in history when chemical companies were much
more in the news than they are now. For a number of reasons, they're not
much in the news these days unless you search past the local rag newspapers.
No they can't. There are lists of approved chemicals, not that it really
matters. However, farmers are actually using less than 20 years ago. Some
crops are still a nightmare, like the perfect potatoes that are the only
ones McDonald's will accept for use as French fries. But, there are now two
major point sources of agricultural chemicals which contribute more to
dirtying the environment, and they're not farmers. Care to guess what those
Actually, there are, and it's easy to find out more about it. You'd probably
doubt the research, though, because that's your frame of mind.
I'm only interested in what's harmful to me, or not, and I'm not interested
semantics. I know that these sprays are designed to work on the surface of
apples. Assigning technical names to them does not make them any better or
worse at doing that.
My claims come from direct experience. I have experience with these sprays,
that if I don't renew them every so often, they loose their effect on killing
insects. There is only one reason for this, dissipation of the chemical due
wind, and rain.
That includes scaring the hell out of people for no good reason. Most of us
are aware of the chemicals in our society and have learned to live with them.
Because nuclear fission can produce atomic bombs, we don't close down
our nuclear power plants. I think we should build more, since they are a
CLEAN and efficient way to produce energy. If not for chemical pesticides,
we would have world wide famine. When the organic stuff can get to the point
where it can take over, I'm all for it. It's not there yet.
Would you accept anything less?
My mind state is that there is lot's of research in this field both pro and
but nothing definitive has been shown. I feel that with proper usage,
be safely used.
The crazies in Iran said if I promote atomic energy plants here, we may let
them build some in Iran.
Let's campaign to turn off all the nuclear power plants and fire up all those
coal burning generators.
For the millions of starving people in the world, lets see if we can up the ante
letting the crops go to hell.
Doug Kanter wrote:
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