Does anyone have personal experience with growing fruittrees 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.
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.
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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