So spring has sprung and the fruit trees are in full bloom, but what to do about those pesky insects that ruin just about all the fruit before they are even ripe and ready for you to enjoy?
If you are lucky enough to have at least one fruit tree in your garden you will know about the very real tragedy of watching them grow for several weeks only to find them ruined by fruit flies and/or other insects and birds by the time they are ready to eat. So if you are looking for an environmentally friendly alternative to those poisonous pesticides and insecticides you should keep reading because I’ll be listing a few of my favourites.
Before you decide on your method you should take note that there are good and bad insects, some insects are actually necessary in your garden and their presence is needed for a beautiful flourishing garden. These are insects that pollinate, and/or feast on other pests and insects. Be careful when using any form of insecticide or pesticide as it may also kill or repel the good insects.
Lime sulphur and dormant oil witch can usually be bought at nurseries, it can be sprayed onto the trunks and branches of dormant fruit trees; this suffocates and kills any insect eggs. Make sure that you only spray this on dormant trees as it can kill the tree.
You can also make your own dormant oil to spray onto the trees by mixing 1 cup vegetable oil and 2 table spoons liquid soap (like sunlight) in 4 litres of water. Shake well before and during use. This spray will unfortunately also kill the good insects, so make sure you only spray it on the affected plants and trees, and rather do it early in the morning or just before dark.
Help nature take its course, Praying Mantis fall under the category of good insects mentioned before, they consume most other garden insects and will so doing help you control your insect problem. You can actually buy Praying Mantis eggs from an online catalogue.
Lady bugs, there is a reason people say they bring good luck. They consume aphids, mites, whiteflies, and scale. You can either buy them from a catalogue online or lure them to your garden by planting daisies, tansies, or yarrows.
Birds can also wreak havoc in fruit trees; one option is to literally cover the canopy with fine mesh bird netting. Make sure that it is not tied too tightly, giving the fruit and the trees enough room to grow. Also do daily checks to make sure the fruit is not pressing against the mesh, or that there aren’t any holes in the mesh because the birds will eat through the holes.
This might sound cruel, but placing a rubber snake in a tree can also scare off most curious creatures including birds.
Anything reflective, you can either hang old cd’s in the tree, or long strips of flash tape, or even suspend reflective aluminium items from the branches.
None of these methods will physically hurt the birds and it might save some of those juicy fruit for you to enjoy when the time comes. Remember that birds need to eat, and placing bird feeders around the garden (away from your fruit trees) might actually also be beneficial to both parties, if they are able to get food easily from one place it might lure them away from you fruit trees.
Important to note that a study based on the USDA and FDA testing data, the fruit and vegetables with the highest levels of pesticide residue are:
- Sweet Bell Peppers
- Nectarines (Imported)