When is the best time to spray my fruit trees? We hear this question a lot. The generic answer is when the blooms appear in the spring. If you have fruit trees you should be spraying on a schedule. Contact your county A&M AgriLife Extension office for more details.
Decision time comes when choosing an insecticide to spray. There is a wide selection of products to choose from but Malathion has been the go-to fruit tree insecticide for years and rightly so. It works well, doesn’t stay in the environment as long as some other synthetic insecticides and is inexpensive. The bad news is that it is toxic to fish, bees and us humans. So read and follow the label directions.
This brings us to Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) and Spinosad. Both are all-natural alternatives to Malathion. Just because they are all-natural doesn’t mean that they will not have an effect on non-targeted species. Malathion doesn’t need a sticking agent, Bt and Spinosad do. I find that liquid molasses works well as a sticker for both products. Liquid molasses will gum up a sprayer so keep an eye on it. The alternative to liquid molasses is a spreader sticker. It’s easy to use and won’t gum up a sprayer. When I spray any of these products I do it in the late evening.