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Protect your fruit trees now with dormant oils

If you’re looking for winter chores to get done in the garden, if just to get outside for a little bit and remember that the outdoors still exist, wintertime is an excellent time to proactively protect your fruit trees be utilizing dormant oils. We sell and recommend using Bonide’s All Seasons Horticultural & Dormant Spray Oil, which is a “superior type of paraffinic oil that may be used as a growing season spray, dormant spray (no leaves) or delayed dormant (green tip) spray to control overwintering eggs of red spiders, scale insects, aphids, bud moths, leaf roller, red bug, codling moth, blister mites, galls, whitefly, mealy bugs and other insects and diseases.”

Bonide’s All Seasons Horticultural & Dormant Spray Oil is for use in organic gardening and highly recommended for use on fruit trees, shade trees, shrubs, ornamentals, roses, and vegetables. This oil smothers pests, killing them naturally, and does so during the growing off-season, meaning the oil won’t interfere with your fall season fruit harvest or spring and summertime blooms.

According to Steve Renquist, a horticulturist for Oregon State University Extension Service who has taught hundreds of gardeners the basics of managing fruit trees, “when you’re planning a program, you want to use products that have low toxicity, and won’t cause a lot of problems for the environment. Dormant sprays score pretty well. Their toxicity level for animals is pretty low if you follow the labels. Superior or horticultural oil kills target insects, but beneficial insects are rarely around trees in the dormant season.”

Some tips for using horticultural and dormant spray oil from Renquist:

  • Read the labels of all products you use and follow the instructions. Using any pesticide incorrectly is not only harmful to you and the environment, it can actually cause damage to the very plants you’re trying to benefit.

  • Apply Superior or horticultural during the dormant season to allow for greater coverage and a higher likelihood of getting to a majority of insects.

  • Spray when temperatures are above freezing but before buds break.

  • Prune trees to keep the branches separated for good pesticide coverage and good hygiene. The best time is in January so that the last spray or two will cover the pruning wounds.

  • Clean up fruit, leaves and debris under trees. They can harbor insects and diseases. If you don’t want to rake leaves, mow over them a couple of times and leave them to decompose.

  • Clear weeds from around the trunk and under the tree where insects and rodents can hide.

  • Add organic matter around trees for fertility and because enhanced microbial populations in the soil will help devour the remnants of orchard sprays that fall to the ground.

At Whispering Hills, we carry everything your landscape needs, including Bonide’s All Seasons Horticultural & Dormant Spray, as well as a well curated selection of other Bonide products, plant care products and herbicides and fungicides. If you have any questions on how to use horticultural and dormant spray on fruit trees or any other plant material, as well as any other question you may have, feel free to stop in to talk to our expert staff who will point you in the right direction.

Whispering Hills Garden and Landscape Center is a full service landscape center and nursery located in Cary, Illinois. Stop in today to schedule a Spring 2022 cleanup. (Updated: 2/23/22)

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