I have a peach tree with brown scale- it is only a small dwarf tree in a 45 litre pot (a peach Bonanza). It isn't a massively heavy infestation, but it is getting worse, and my poor peach is getting weaker. Any suggestions on what I can do? The tree is dormant at the moment, and the pot lives in my small greenhouse. What can I do to help the peach, lessen the scale and protect it from returning- ie cleaning the greenhouse or something! I also have scale on some plants outside (a jostaberry)- but that doesn't seem to care as much- I guesso outside has predators, but inside the little glass greenhouse does not.
I'd like to control the scale before I move the peach into the ground in my new greenhouse in spring!
This problem is best addressed with a good, aeratedcompost tea sprayed over the scale areas and the whole tree and soil.
Other good things to do for all your trees and plants are; Use compost both as an amendment and as the mulch, make your own compost (or re-compost bought compost) and add spent coffee grounds, wood chips along with making and using mushroom slurries in your compost making.
Just these few things will make a great difference in the nutritional profile of your soil (both ground and container) which will help all plants maintain good health and disease resistance.
The copper compounds used by commercial orchards work but they also add nasty things to the soil they fall on when the trees are sprayed.
Thanks Bryant- I do make my own compost, and generally mulch everything in spring with a few cms worth. My compost is made from chicken-manure and bedding, and garden waste. I haven't done much with compost tea but can easily give it a try- probably only useful when plants aren't dormant? I use wood chips as mulch, but only a relatively light layer (don't have the quantity for more!). No coffee grounds or mushroom slurry, but I'll see what I can sort out- I've hunted coffee grounds before but all the cafes around here seem to use awful polluting coffee-pod things, rather than real grounds. Thanks!
I've scraped scale off of fruit trees outdoors, but as you noticed with your outdoor plants, it actually wasn't doing much noticeable damage anyway
Charli Wilson wrote:it is only a small dwarf tree in a 45 litre pot
If it's that small, and you say the infestation isn't too terrible yet, maybe it wouldn't take you too much time to just grab a twig and scrape them off.
In our case, I see them every year on our fruit trees in May, and by sometime in late June they have dried up, so if I'm going to scrape them I have to do it in May. I haven't done it for a couple of years now as the fruit trees have grown a lot bigger so i can't reach most of them, and anyway as I said it doesn't seem to do much damage. If you can do some manual control while your peach tree is small vulnerable, maybe the predators of scale or other natural balancing factors will come into play so that in future years the scale insects are kept in check by the ecosystem. I think that's the ideal for an organic growing system: have enough diversity that the ecosystem in your garden is robust, and normally no particular type of pest can cause a big problem, or if it does, it is usually only for a single season and only for a single type of crop. Though the scraping was a bit icky, I wasn't touching the ick, and I rather enjoyed going around caressing each branch of the fruit trees with a twig.
Works at a residential alternative high school in the Himalayas SECMOL.org . "Back home" is Cape Cod, E Coast USA.
I doused said peach tree in a soapy water and vegetable oil mix yesterday, and scraped all the scale off- at least this way it makes it easier to see if things are improving! I've also carted the tree outside, and I'll leave it there for winter- let the birds and things have a go at any insects they see.
Compost teas are also good for adding to the soil, especially around the drip line of trees, if you then come back with a mushroom slurry about a week later, you will do even better for your trees.
If you are spraying the trunks, just before leaf out is a good time to do that for the first time.
I spray trees at just before leaf out, about mid season and then around two months before leaf fall (if I can time it that well).