Do your fruit trees have holey leaves with discolored patches? Do you notice insect exit holes on fruit? If so, there’s a good chance your fruit trees are battling a pest invasion. Worms, squirrels, moths, and other pests can damage fruit trees and destroy crops.
While many homeowners resort to pesticide sprays for preventing/fighting fruit tree pest infestations, we do not recommend this approach. Pesticides kill multiple species, including important pollinators such as bees. They poison our natural resources while putting your family’s health at risk. Pesticides have been linked to cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and many other health problems. For all these reasons, many Portlanders are prioritizing organic pest control solutions. Yes, it is possible to enjoy delicious, homegrown fruit without spraying pesticides.
Portland Certified Arborists’ Tips on Organic Pest Control for Fruit Trees
• Get in contact with an arborist who specializes in diseases and pests. Urban Forest Pro’s arborists can recommend earth-friendly solutions for organic pest control, such as barriers around the base of trees to prevent squirrel entry. In our experience, the best squirrel prevention devices look like an upside down bowl; however, keep in mind that they will not work if squirrels can jump to the tree from a nearby fence or tree. Metallic streamers and hanging CDs can also deter squirrels, but they must be taken down after harvest season. Otherwise, the squirrels will become accustomed to these shiny objects, and their deterrence value will evaporate.
• Prune your fruit trees yearly. Annual Portland tree pruning is ideal. Trimming away dead wood prompts the growth of healthy new tissue and buds, while also decreasing the amount of food available for pests. Moreover, pruning increases light penetration through the tree’s canopy. The extra sunlight minimizes pest proliferation. Our arborists can expertly prune your fruit trees for a reasonable price.
• Keep the earth below fruit trees tidy. Rake regularly to remove leaves, which can harbor leaf-borne diseases.
• Connect with Portland Fruit Tree Project (PFTP). This unique Portland non-profit organization is dedicated to increasing access to healthy food. They gather fruit that would otherwise rot and go wasted, and distribute it to those in need. PFTP also has knowledgeable volunteers who are educated on the best pesticide-free ways to grow great fruit. Finally, PFTP will prune your tree for a share of the fruit. Some of Urban Forest Pro’s ISA-certified arborists teach pruning classes for Portland Fruit Tree Project.
Each pest will require its own management approach, so identifying pests is a first step. For identification assistance and recommendations on how to eliminate problematic pests, call us. Our arborists have decades of experience with fruit trees in the Portland area. They can suggest the most effective approach for pests in your fruit trees.