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Herbs, flowers, and other plants near fruit trees to repel pests

 
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I've been reading recently in a few places online how planting some types of herbs, flowers, and other plants near fruit trees can help keep away moths like the codling moth and also repel pests like plum curculio.

Has anyone had any success growing these in this way?
 
pollinator
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My peaches have peach leaf curl, one more affected than the other, i've put a horseradish at it's feet, as i read somewhere, it's a lot less now.
Two years ago the frost killed all the peaches, aphids came and if you walked under you got sugarsprayed the tree got covered, it started molding then tiny parasitic wasps arrived and became extremely numerous, flies, ladybugs and their larvae, hoverflies, and all in clouds. Year after record harvest. Maybe sugar coating created blossoming microbial life in the soil.
 
Steve Thorn
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Great info Hugo!

Is your crop ever targeted by any of the pests I listed above, or are you relatively free from those pests in your area?
 
Hugo Morvan
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Some apples have those holes in them the larvae of the codling moth produce. The plum curculio scars i see occasionaly, but the insect itself, with the long snout, i do not recall, fruit flies only in my kitchen. I would like to know what herbs would help against codling moth. If i get these bad apples i keep them aside and cut out the affected bit toss it on the compost heap, the rest of that apple goes into apple cider vinegar.
 
pollinator
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Since plum curculios have to climb the tree, it seems like there might be herbs that could help.  It doesn’t seem like herbs would affect moths. I hope someone can answer your questions. I have problems with both.
 
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We plant peppermint pelargonium (geranium) under our apple and pear trees. It's got a really strong scent and is supposed to be despised by codling moth larvae, who need to get to the ground in order to pupate. The theory is that they crawl down the trunk but won't venture into the fragrant zone, and end up dying on a branch.

It's hard for me to assess how effective this has been in our orchard because even if we eliminated a breeding population the moths would fly in from neighbouring properties. However, this season there is definitely less damage than in previous years.
 
Steve Thorn
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Hugo Morvan wrote:Some apples have those holes in them the larvae of the codling moth produce. The plum curculio scars i see occasionaly, but the insect itself, with the long snout, i do not recall, fruit flies only in my kitchen. I would like to know what herbs would help against codling moth. If i get these bad apples i keep them aside and cut out the affected bit toss it on the compost heap, the rest of that apple goes into apple cider vinegar.



From what I've been reading, lavender seems to be a major one to repel codling moth.

It appears that it has been used for centuries to naturally repel moths in general, thought that was pretty cool!

Other good ones for codling moth appear to be sage, borage, tarragon, and rosemary.

Garlic may help repel plum curculio.

 
Steve Thorn
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Phil Stevens wrote:We plant peppermint pelargonium (geranium) under our apple and pear trees. It's got a really strong scent and is supposed to be despised by codling moth larvae, who need to get to the ground in order to pupate. The theory is that as they crawl down the trunk but won't venture into the fragrant zone, and end up dying on a branch.

It's hard for me to assess how effective this has been in our orchard because even if we eliminated a breeding population the moths would fly in from neighbouring properties. However, this season there is definitely less damage that in previous years.



That's great!

Awesome information Phil, going to look into those!
 
Ken W Wilson
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I know of a couple of old apple trees in different loacations that are uncared for and have very little damage. I wish I knew why insects don’t bother them. Is there just a healthy predator population or resistant trees? I’d like to think that the natural predators would have things under control eventually. May it takes 30 years.

One is isolated and actually seems to be completely self pollinating. They can’t find another pollen source, anyway. Very tasty apples.  I need to get scions. Wonder if it’s too late for this year? I tried seeds last year, but they didn’t come up.

Has anyone tried the apple socks that you put on each apple? I can’t think what they’re really called. I will do a search.
 
Ken W Wilson
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Steve Thorn
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Ken W Wilson wrote:I know of a couple of old apple trees in different locations that are uncared for and have very little damage. I wish I knew why insects don’t bother them. Is there just a healthy predator population or resistant trees? I’d like to think that the natural predators would have things under control eventually. Maybe it takes 30 years.



Yeah, that's interesting. It seems like large, older, trees on their own roots have a better resistance to pests from what I've seen too.

Is that how you'd describe those trees?

One is isolated and actually seems to be completely self pollinating. They can’t find another pollen source, anyway. Very tasty apples.  I need to get scions. Wonder if it’s too late for this year? I tried seeds last year, but they didn’t come up.



Very neat! I bet if it hasn't budded yet it wouldn't be too late to graft.

Has anyone tried the apple socks that you put on each apple? I can’t think what they’re really called. I will do a search.



I've been thinking about trying these out while I get the herbs established under the trees this year. I bought these which are kind of similar, hope they work.

 
pollinator
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I've used, old panty hose to protect pomegranates/plums. I don't know if they still sell these...?
Anyways they were breathable, could be used year after year. Made for great conversation from passer-bys.  
One year we began using spraying the trees with surround. I'm not a huge fan of spraying, it was messy. It's a powder that mixed with water and sprayed on fruit. Rain washes it away. Supposed to keep insects away from fruit.
I too am really interested in, plants for pest deters. It's always nice to have herbs planted multiple places.
 
Steve Thorn
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Magnolia may be an evergreen tree that could help repel some pests. Here's a link to the thread discussing it in more detail.

https://permies.com/t/134924/Magnolia-Repelling-Pests
 
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What about repelling Japanese beetles? One year they denuded my Gala apple.

Last year though, they spent  lot of time on the wild blackberries, and migrated to the elderberries after the harvest was done. I still had plenty of both berries to harvest. Due to quantity of them I'm okay with it, I'd rather have them stay away.

 
Steve Thorn
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I haven't grown them personally yet, but I've heard that four o clock flowers attract Japanese beetles and kill them. The plant is supposedly poisonous to humans if eaten.

I get Japanese beetles a lot too. They've been targeting my grapes and cherries recently, and I've considered planting some four o clocks around these plants to see if it helps reduce their numbers.
 
pollinator
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The first year we moved here, the Japanese beetles were everywhere and devoured everything. I couldn't dig anywhere without turning up at least a handful of grubs. I bought a bag of milky spore powder two years ago and watered it in and the numbers started really going down last year. Now, when I dig up the grubs, they look sickly and more brownish. The milky spore, I think, is infecting them like it's supposed to and eating them. There are two different kinds. Be sure to get the one that says you only have to treat once. It costs more, but it's supposed to be good for 20+ years.



 
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