You may have heard this term before but what exactly does it mean? This is a generic term for any spray applied to deciduous trees during fall, winter, and early spring while the branches are still bare. There are many different products that can be used. We, for instance, carry around three. It’s more the timing which makes it a dormant spray.
Dormant sprays are used mainly on fruit trees. They help destroy insect eggs, over-wintering adults and hatching larvae. They can also kill fungal infestations that could spread in warmer weather and become much harder to control. Besides being one the most effective options, spraying during the dormant season is the least disruptive to beneficial insects and the environment. For those that prefer organic gardening, many of our dormant sprays are also organic. How great is that?
Want to give it a try? Depending on your tree and what you are needing to control, specific spraying schedules will be called for. Our expert staff can help you choose the right product as well as explain what schedule you should be using.
In general, either a dormant spray application, a delayed-dormant spray application or a combination of the two are called for. Dormant spray must be used before the trees experience any spring growth. For us, this is usually between November and March. Delayed-dormant sprays are designed for use just after the buds begin to swell, but before the trees start to leaf out or flower. This usually occurs in late March to early April. Dormant oils must never be used when the tree is in flower, since they can be deadly to pollinators.
Dormant sprays are especially effective against scale insects, mites, aphids, leaf curl and shot hole. Some issues, such as Peach leaf curl requires persistence in order to be effectively controlled. For these, you would treat several times during the dormant season, instead of just once.
Apple Scab and Apple Maggot is another common issue in our area. This is a great example of how knowing what specifically you are trying to control can make your treatments effective, saving you time and money. Both of these issues are actually treated later on in the spring instead of with a dormant spray.
If you’d like help in determining exactly what steps you should be taking to get the best harvest from your trees, the staff at Farmington Gardens are here to help! Come on in! We’ll determine what fruit variety you are growing and how extensive, if any, your issues were last year. We can then get you squared away with the right product that will work best for you.