EC 631    Revised April 2015

This pest management guide provides the home gardener with information on pest management for home orchards. It does not meet the exacting requirements of the commercial fruit grower. Generally, in the home orchard, more pest damage can be tolerated than in commercial orchards. Thus, the number of suggested materials and the times of application in this guide have been kept to a minimum. Many fungicides and insecticides are available, which, when used according to the label directions, are effective in managing diseases and insects listed on the label. For more complete information, consult the PNW Pest Management Handbooks, available at

To effectively manage diseases and insects in your orchard, it is best to combine a number of techniques. In addition to using pesticides, cultural and biological practices also can help prevent or manage diseases and insects. Timing and thorough spray coverage are the keys to good pest management. Good coverage is achieved by thoroughly wetting the leaves, twigs, and branches; however, this can be difficult with hand sprayers. When using wettable powders, be sure to shake or stir the spray mix frequently during application because the powders tend to settle at the bottom of the spray container after mixing.

To avoid excess chemical residues, observe the rate and proper interval between the last spray and harvest, as indicated on the label. Table 1 lists the preharvest interval for all the recommended pesticides. Be sure to rinse fruit with water before eating.

Importance of controlling diseases and insects in commercial fruit districts

Many commercial fruit growers in Oregon are adopting nonchemical approaches to managing orchard pests. These “soft” control practices may become less effective if pests spread from nearby, unmanaged trees. If homeowners maintain fruit trees for fruit production, it is critical that they help prevent the spread of pests to commercial orchards. Because of recent changes in pesticide registrations, home orchardists have to provide diligent pest control to prevent damage to nearby commercial orchards. See “Required control programs” (page 9). If you have fruit trees in your yard or landscape that are primarily for shade or aesthetic value, you might consider replacing them with types of trees that do not harbor pests that can negatively affect commercial fruit trees. Contact your local Extension office for a list of suggested replacement trees.

Applying pesticides safely

Many organic and synthetic formulations of pesticides are available for home garden use. Many are variations with the same active ingredient. Look for pesticides that can be used on a wide range of fruit, vegetables, and ornamentals, so you can limit the number of pesticides you need to purchase and store.

The pesticides listed in this publication were selected on the basis of their effectiveness, availability, and safety. Always apply pesticides according to the label instructions—this is very important. The label contains valuable application information and safety precautions to protect you, others, and the environment. Before you purchase or open the container, read the label. Read it again before you mix, store, or dispose of the product.

Be cautious when using products that contain a combination of one or more insecticides and fungicides, such as the various “home orchard sprays.” Some of these products call for applications during bloom to control fungal diseases. However, if you also apply an insecticide during bloom, you run the risk of reducing or eliminating bees that are critical for pollination. A better strategy, especially during the spring, is to use products that contain only a single type of pesticide and apply them only when necessary. This approach is less convenient but may save you trouble in the long run.

Not every effective pesticide is included here; space constraints make it impossible to list them all. Some of these other pesticide products may be packaged in larger quantities for commercial growers, making them impractical for your orchard if you have only a few trees. Check with your local Extension agent, Oregon State University Master Gardener, or nursery professional for additional information.

Managing diseases and insects without pesticides

A wide variety of cultural and biological techniques can be used to manage or prevent disease and insect damage. Consult your local Extension agent, OSU Master Gardener, or nursery professional for more information.

  • Select the proper cultivar for your climate and soil. For example, Liberty, Prima, Akane, and Chehalis apples are resistant to apple scab, while Granny Smith and Gala are not. Apricots are not well adapted west of the Cascades; wet springs prevent apricot fruit set and result in high disease incidence.
  • Water and fertilize properly. Overwatering can lead to root rot, while overfertilizing can increase disease and insect problems. A soil test is the best first step in managing soil fertility.
  • Proper pruning. Proper pruning improves fruit quality, air circulation, and pesticide spray coverage.
  • Good sanitation. Remove and burn diseased branches and leaves. Remove and destroy old fruit from the tree and the ground. Do not use diseased leaves as mulch.
  • Pest monitoring. Know which pests are likely to attack your trees and when pests might appear. Inspect your orchard regularly. Pheromone and sticky traps are useful pest management tools. Contact your local Extension agent or nursery professional for more information.
  • Biorational pesticides. Insecticidal soaps and oils are effective against a wide range of tree fruit pests. Microbial pesticides like Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) can be used to control certain caterpillars.
  • Biological control. Enhanced control by natural enemies can be achieved by limiting the total number of pesticide sprays and using selective pesticides when possible.

Moss and lichen

Moss and lichen do not damage fruit and nut trees. Regular pruning and using the dormant chemical sprays (copper fungicides or lime sulfur) for disease and insect control will reduce the amount of moss and lichen in trees.

Pesticide safety tips

  • Most accidents occur during mixing; wear rubber gloves and protect your eyes from spilling or splashing chemicals. Avoid getting pesticides on your skin and wash your hands when you finish. While spraying, you should wear a long-sleeve shirt, full-length pants, unlined rubber gloves, and goggles or some type of eye protection. All clothes should be washed after spraying. See Using Pesticides Safely (EC 1497) for more information.
  • Never eat or smoke when using pesticides. Do not blow your nose during spraying and keep your fingers away from mouth and nose.
  • Check your sprayer for leaking hoses, leaking connections, and plugged or worn nozzles. Clean filters to prevent accidents. Mix the pesticide at the recommended rate on the label. Mix only the volume needed to complete the task. Don’t exceed the label rate; putting more pesticide into the environment than you need for good control is wasteful and dangerous. When you finish, clean your sprayer immediately and dispose of the rinse water properly.
  • Apply pesticides at the right time and under the right weather conditions. Never apply pesticides when winds will cause drift of the chemical off the target area or when temperatures exceed 85°F. Be careful not to let pesticides contaminate neighboring ponds or streams. You are liable for any off-site damage that may result from your misuse of pesticides.
  • Store pesticides in a safe, secure place, out of the reach of children and in their original container. Never keep pesticides in beverage bottles or other previously used food or drink containers. Properly dispose of empty glass, metal, and plastic pesticide containers, after first rinsing them three times with plenty of water.
  • Accidents can happen. You can reach the Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222.

Required pest control programs

Several Oregon counties have ordinances dealing with backyard fruit tree production that require home fruit growers to rigorously control pests to prevent disease and insect spread to commercial orchards. Doing that often entails a more exacting control program than those outlined in this publication. Contact your local Extension office for details if you live in any of the following counties:

• Hood River • Linn • Union

• Jackson • Marion • Wasco

• Josephine • Polk • Yanhill

• Lane • Umatilla

Brown marmorated stink bug

Brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB), Halyomorpha halys, may be the next exotic pest to affect tree fruits and nuts in Oregon. Until recently, this insect was not considered to be a major threat. First identified in Portland in 2004, BMSB has increased substantially. BMSB is present throughout the Willamette Valley, the Columbia Basin, and other areas of eastern Oregon. Adults will aggregate or overwinter in homes and other structures, and can become numerous in attics and porches. They find abundant host plants in neighborhoods on which to feed and lay eggs. Because this invader thrives in urban and natural habitats, it could prove difficult to manage in fruit and nut crops. For more information on this pest visit:

OSU Extension Service publications

Available online at

This information is provided for educational purposes only. If you need legal [or tax] advice, please consult a qualified legal [or tax] adviser.

Trade-name products and services are mentioned as illustrations only. This does not mean that the Oregon State University Extension Service either endorses these products and services or intends to discriminate against products and services not mentioned.

Use pesticides safely!

  • Wear protective clothing and safety devices as recommended on the label. Bathe or shower after each use.
  • Read the pesticide label—even if you’ve used the pesticide before. Follow closely the instructions on the label (and any other directions you have).
  • Be cautious when you apply pesticides. Know your legal responsibility as a pesticide applicator. You may be liable for injury or damage resulting from pesticide use.

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