Don't use pesticides on my own fruit trees (yeah, bugs may eat some fruit, but the fruit will be healthier and the environment will be better), 363°

Pesticides might ensure you get a fuller crop in your backyard, but really, can't the average homeowner live with losing a small percentage of fruit to insects if it means healthier fruit and a better environment?

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Our apple tree on The Homestead recieves no petsticides and we have the best apple pies...Yummy!

in August 2008

So what are the best ways to grow fruit without using pesticides?
Please comment and help other interested people!

in August 2008

The best way is to grow more plants than you could need, so the bugs and birds can have some, and you still get some. In time, natural predators will help you control your pests.

in August 2008

I don't use any chemicals on my blueberries, strawberries, or raspberries. They aren't trees but I don't have room for trees where I live now. I can guarantee that when I do have fruit trees I will never apply poison to them or any other food I grow.
I agree with Bridget, plant extra. Also, enhance the biodiversity of your garden to insure predator species, plant sacrificial plants, plant varieties that are well adapted to the climate you live in, keep them healthy with good soil building, plant small areas of one species intermingled with other beneficial plants, avoid monoculture.

in September 2008

Here's a tip for keeping codling moth (and similar) out of fruit trees:
in late summer, tie wide strips of corrugated cardboard around the trunk of the tree. the larval stage of the moth will (instead of climbing up the tree) settle in to the nice cosy cardboard and call it home. early to mid spring, before they re-activate, take the cardboard off and burn it. a year or two at most, no more codling moth. (and you recycle a bit of cardboard too!)

in November 2008

To have an effective pest free orchard it is best to start out right. Most modern commercial varieties are designed to be operated in an artificial environment. Pick heirloom varieties. These survived a long time ago without modern pesticides.

Then, keep the trees/plants well fed and mulched. Healthy plants are far more resistant to pests than stressed plants.

Use "living mulch" and companion planting. These provide nutrients, retain moisture, keep the soil cool for the feeder roots and provide habitat for predator insects. We plant comfrey and tansy around our trees out to the drip line. In winter these die back and feed the soil. The comfrey is deep rooted and pulls up nutrients from deep in the soil.

Here in NZ, Australian possums are a pest. We trap them and often plant the possum corpses around the trees to recycle the nutrients.

Moths can also be caught in grease traps (grease smeared on cardboard collars). Use these as fire lighters when they've done their service.

Run chickens and ducks in the orchard if you can. They convert pests and weeds into poop. Careful with geese, sheep and other browsers which will nibble the bark off trees.

in February 2009

@CharlesM- great ideas, thanks! I lost almost all of my peaches to some sort of moth last year. Was considering using an organic, safe-til-the-date of harvest pesticide from Gardens Alive, but may try your ideas instead.

in May 2010

Yes pesticides are v. Harmful to plants and in long run for total food chain and ecosystem, precaution is better than cure

in August 2011

I love all of these suggestions and comments... thanks for sharing as I am a newbie in a sense, but I've always heard my inner voice telling me just how wrong these pesticides and other man-made methods, which are supposed to yield more crop, are so bad for not only our trees, fruits, etc... but for the universe as a whole... it all trickles down.

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