When we bought our current house, it was touted as having a crabapple, cherry, and a walnut tree. The crabapple turned out to be an ornamental that while gorgeous in the spring, provides fruit even the birds won’t touch. The walnut was just not a walnut. It was a “garbage” tree, an invasive tree that had to be cut down

We did have the giant cherry tree which has provided ample fruit since; however, it has all been worm riddled.

New Fruit Trees

So we resolved to add to our orchard and purchased a multi-grafted apple and pear tree. We were so excited but knew it would take a few years before we reaped the fruits of our labor.

Last year was the year! We had fruit! It looked beautiful but when it came time to harvest…pfft! Worms again and something else that was taking tiny nibbles!

We strive to keep our yard as organic as possible so eschewed the route of spraying our fruit trees with pesticides, instead we doused them with Neem oil. Neem oil is purported to kill aphids, white flies, mealybugs, leafhoppers, thrips, and more pests yet it is naturally sourced.

We researched pruning, feeding, and other care for our fruit trees and followed it to the letter. Our trees were never drought stressed and got plenty of sunlight. We thought we had things under control. NOT.

So, this year, the year 2023, I resolve to get a handle on the pests so I can eat some well deserved fruit. The question is, how?

Fruit Tree Pests

Our trees have never had evidence of disease and they are kept pruned, watered, and fed. We thin the fruit as well. From all outward appearance our trees are healthy; and apparently every pest in the neighborhood is in agreement.

Now cost is an issue. I’m cheap and always on a budget so I don’t want to buy a bunch of stuff that says it will repel pests. That said, I may try spinosad or pyrethrin if I can find them on sale that is.

We will also try using sticky traps, hanging moth traps, trunk banding, and fruit bagging. I would add that we would introduce beneficial predators, but we have tons of ladybugs, praying mantis, other beneficial insects and birds galore so there really is no need.

We’re going all out in 2023!

If all else fails we seem to have unending luck with growing grapes and have troves of those to eat, process, and share. If our plan outlined above doesn’t work this year I’m giving up. I’ve always got the grapes.

Amy Grant

Amy Grant has been gardening for 30 years and writing for 15. A professional chef and caterer, Amy's area of expertise is culinary gardening.