Location: SW Tennessee Zone 7a average rainfall 52"
posted 12 years ago
So I left a couple of T posts propped up against one of the appletrees the other day (fence building called on account of rain), and went I went back over there today there were a bunch of gypsy moth caterpillars parked on the posts. There were also a bunch of new holes in the trunk of the tree. Now I don't mind sharing up to a point, but I'd rather my only producing apple tree not be eaten. Any tips for getting rid of these things?
For this year I would try a B.T. spray. This is a bacteria that kills caterpillars and is safe to humans.
If the apple tree is out in the open (crown isn't touching others). You could try putting some tanglefoot around the trunk next year (that is a sticky, resinous goop that the caterpillars get stuck in when they try to ascend).
Also, do a soil test (micronutrient analysis) around the base of the tree. The trees that suffer worst from gypsy moths or other pests are those that are stressed. Figure out if your tree needs anything and if so pump it.
Many of the crawling pest overwinter in old fallen fruit, so the problem tends to multiply. If you had a few chickens, they would have a good time cleaning up, eating the apples, larvae and all, plus any other bugs they could find.
The makers of the Tanglefoot goo also have a tree banding material that you wrap around the trunk and then spread the goo on. When it's loaded with dead caterpillers, you just peel it off and apply another. If your problem is really bad, place two bands around the trunk, a few inches apart. Then, when the lower band is loaded and the latecomers are just crawling over the bodies of their friends (laughing, I'm sure), they hit the upper band and they're goners.
If you live anywhere within reach of Olympia, you might visit Black Lake Organics on Black Lake Blvd, Oly, about 2.5 miles south of Hwy. 101.
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