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I recently found cherry worms in our Montmorency pie cherries. I did a little web searching and found info re: the worms here: http://www.jjnursery.com/care_cherry_worms.html Their solution is to spray with malathion - yuck. I found one possible organic solution here: http://www.kootenaycovers.com/ but i'm not sure a "bagged" tree in the middle of our yard is going to be all that attractive.
Another site: http://extension.usu.edu/tv/faq/faq_q=475 suggested this: "For helpful cultural control, place plastic landscape fabric or another barrier on the ground under the canopy of cherry trees to prevent larvae in dropped fruit from burrowing into the soil where they will pupate for the winter. Landscape fabric placed in the spring will also prevent adults from emerging from the soil. Keep the fabric in place year-round and prevent a buildup of soil and debris on top that would provide pupation sites for the fruit fly."
Will landscape fabric around the base of the tree be ok from the tree's perspective? Any other organic solution suggestions?
I'm going to try my "Surround" - it's only kaolin clay; it's even edible, so nothing bad. The clay is mixed with water and sprayed on. It doesn't interfere with photosynthesis. It may make the cherries unpleasant for the flies to land on. Worth a try.
I like the fabric idea too - as long as it's water permeable.
This year we got cherry leaf spot (a fungus) so bad, no cherries, and leaves all fell off!
CompostR - Sorry to hear about your cherry leaf spot - such a bummer. Thanks for the "Surround" suggestion. Will that help solve your leaf spot problem too? One local nurseryman keeps pushing the application of dormancy oil 3x a year on fruit trees. I don't know if it is organic and/or if it would address the fungus issue - i think it's directed more toward insect larva that try to overwinter in the fruit tree bark. Best of luck to you on resolving your cherry tree issue. Looking forward to cherry pie for both of us next year. :)
I'm hoping it helps the leaf spot. We'll see. If not, I'll try to find the best earth-friendly fungacide.
With dormant oil - your run-of-the mill oil is probably a petroleum product, but you can find those made with vegetable oils - probably "Gardens Alive" has some. I have the old petro type, so I'm just using it up gradually instead of throwing it out. The amount you use is very small.
Yep - you're right - I think the dormant oil smothers overwintering "bugs." But, it may help prevent insect egg laying by making the tree unpleasant to land on.
You are so on the right track though - the absolute best thing is to identify the insect and know it's life cycle - then you can come up with strategies.
My trees are so small yet - that'll be one tiny pie : ))