Hello, rather new here and to permaculture. I'm reading Gaia's Garden and I getting as much from the Wheaton websites as I can.
We have a quarter acre in the city (our 3rd year on it). We have a lot of mature trees and now many new trees, mostly fruit. My husband is a groundskeeper and master gardener and long ago he worked as a "sprayer" of yards. He is a little resistant to learning this new permaculture thing that I'm so excited about, but has said, "If you go out in the yard and do it, I wont undo it!" So, here I go! (The more he sees me do/plan, the less obstinate he seems to be, *maniacal laugh*, I knew it!)
I am working at getting the vinca out from under two of our old apple trees and grass from around all the rest. I've got the apple guild figured out, still working on the plum, fig, pear, and cherry guilds, and am about to get the first of the plants into the ground, mostly I've got comfrey, bulbs, and a couple of herbs that I can divide. I did a lot of old fruit cleanup the last 2yrs and have been attracting more birds to hang out in the yard and I see they're getting a lot of bugs off the trees. My husband said he even noticed that last summer we had fewer pests.
With all that in mind, the problem is we've got a lot of scab/aphid/fungus/misc. bug stuff going on in our yard and until I get the guilds installed, should we use dormant oil on the trees? My husband is ready to go dose the yard and I don't know anything about the stuff and I haven't read any permaculture-love of it.
I think the scab thing and the aphid thing are seperate problems. Somewhere on this forum Paul has an excellent article on aphids. Anyone care to point it out?
I can't seem to find it.
My experience has been that if you wait long enough - longer than most of us can stand to wait - the ladybugs and other predators will show up. But they seem to wait until there is a mega-feast, as in LOTS of aphids, before they show up.
Yes, we've noticed that the ladybugs come after the plum tree is a dripping mess. I just included them to complete the picture of what we get in our yard. The main issue was that I have no info on the dormant oil, everything I saw online was positive, but I was worrying that I didn't search the right term to get the negatives. I will look Paul's aphid post, thanks!!
Dormant oil suffocates bugs and eggs, it doesn't poison them. You can find recipes online - typically just mixtures of vegetable oil, a dash of soap, and maybe a bit of baking soda. None of those are a concern in the small quantities you would need.
The trick is just to apply it a the appropriate time for maximum effect.