Like the rest of the Midwest, Five Feline Farm has experienced a brutal winter. Temperatures below zero much of the time, relentless snow and today there is sleet.
There is usually a window of opportunity in February when temperatures climb above freezing. The buds of the fruit trees begin to show signs of swelling but are not yet opening. This is the time to use a dormant oil spray to help prevent some of those pesky insects that tend to infect fruit trees.
The spray helps prevent fungi, mites, aphids and other diseases. It works by cutting off the air supply to insects or eggs that have been laid in the bark. Similarly it cuts off oxygen to pathogens that have attempted to infiltrate.
Dormant oil spray can be purchased but who knows what is in that bottle. Just like food (and fruit trees do produce food) if there are ingredients you can’t pronounce or your grandmother didn’t know, is it really something you want to spray on your trees? Here on the Farm we are trying to use as many natural products as viable. We are working to create an ecosystem that is sound, sustainable and chemical free where possible. Economical is also a good thing.
Spray each fruit tree coating the trunk and branches. A second treatment may be applied just before the buds start to open to ensure that all areas of the tree have been treated. This also helps to replace any of the spray that has been washed off in rain or snow.
Dormant Oil Spray
1 cup vegetable oil
2 Tbsp Dawn dish soap
1 gallon water
Mix oil and dish soap thoroughly in water. This may be doubled or tripled as needed. Pour into a pump sprayer.