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Organic tree spray arsenal

 
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Does anyone have personal experience with growing fruit trees absolutely organically in west Tn and still getting a harvest? I am getting tore up by bugs, mainly japanese beetles and have used a ton of different mixtures of neem oil, permetherin, dish liquid, lemon juice, lemongrass oil, diatomaceous earth (around the base and as a dust), vegetable oil and OC spray (capsium or peppers). Personal experience only please.
 
pollinator
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I'll limit my comment to aphid attacks. They seem to gang up on one tree, pretty much randomly selected (how do I know, I'm not an aphid). Then their helper ants come to tend to them and overnight, instead of getting nice plums or apples, I have the equivalent of an ant and aphid rave going on. I have a 3-step process for dealing with these attacks:

(1) Use the high pressure nozzle on the hose to physically blast most of the aphids off. Since the aphids are clustered on the underside of the leaves, I find it best to blast along the length of the branch, that way the water can wash them off.

(2) I make a paste of diatomaceous earth and vegetable oil and girdle about a 3-4" length of the tree trunk. No way ants are going through that barrier!

(3) After this preparation, it is time to give any remaining spots that still have aphids a spray with the neem oil. I put a few drop of liquid soap in the neem/water mixture to make it spread better.

I don't have much of a Japanese beetle problem, I have a LOT of toads and lizards that hang out in my garden. A while back, when I was digging hugelbeds, I would unearth a goodly number of Japanese beetle larvae. That was before I went on the toad and lizard raising campaign. I have some big (2' diameter) rotting logs that the blue tailed skinks use to raise broods, and I have pieces of broken clay pots and sunken dishes of water for toad habitat. Since I made my garden more toad and lizard friendly, I find a lot fewer Japanese beetle larvae.

 
gardener
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Excellent answer, John. I don't live in W. Tennessee, but I use all of the regular permaculture practices, plus compost tea. My climate is different than yours.
John S
PDX OR
 
Verlon Cox
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Thanks John, your post was very interesting and even though we highly encourage a healthy frog population we have over looked our lizard situation. I will definitely research that some more, thank you. I also like the DE paste recommendation.
 
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