Homeowners who grow apples at home have to combat many insect pests and diseases to produce a good crop. Many apple growers reduce their use of pesticides, while still harvesting quality fruit, through a set of practices known as Integrated Pest Management (IPM). IPM includes a combination of pest management techniques including monitoring for pest problems, removing diseased or infested plant material from the area, and many other cultural control techniques. Pesticide sprays are used in IPM only when necessary, and gardeners may choose from conventional or organic spray options.
In order for IPM to be effective, home apple growers must be able to recognize the common pests of apples and the damage they cause. They need to coordinate their pest management actions with weather, tree growth stages, and pest life cycles. If pesticides are necessary, always use them exactly as labeled, per federal law.
An IPM approach assumes that good care is being taken of the apple trees. Consult the University of Minnesota Extension publication “Apple Growing in Minnesota Home Gardens” for horticultural information.
Good cultural practices—including site selection, variety and rootstock selection, proper planting, pruning, training, fruit thinning, irrigation, and harvest timing—all contribute to a satisfying harvest each year. In particular, well pruned trees allow for increased access to the tree canopy, making pest management tasks such as bagging fruit, monitoring diseases, placing traps, and applying pesticides easier and more successful.
For more informaton about Fruit Tree production, contact the Extension office.