Alright, Mister D. Let’s talk about
controlling those insects. So, dormant oil
and spraying. So, what should
we be doing? Because those
insects are going to come. Yeah, now is the time
to use dormant oils. And you need to
do it pretty quickly. And what the dormant
oils will do is they.. You can use them until bud
break on your fruit trees. And it’s very
kind of thick oil. It’s thicker than
the summer oils. It’s more
persistent. You can put it out there and
it’s really good at controlling a lot of soft-bodied insects
like aphids and some of the scale insects and
some caterpillars even. And the way it operates, it
simply suffocates the insects. It clogs their
breathing spiracles, a little breathing
tube that they have. And that’s the way
it kills the insect. So, you know, I don’t know
whether it’s considered organic or not. But, you know, I would say that
you might get away with using oils and still
consider it organic. But it should reduce the amount
of pesticides that you have to apply for the
fruits that require, in my opinion, pesticides by
taking some of them out early. It also has some.. It will kill some
eggs that, you know, if you happen to put
the oil over an egg mass. It interferes with the
hatching of the eggs. So, that helps, also. So, I guess you have
to get good coverage. It’s important to
have good coverage. It’s very important
to have good coverage. And I would
probably go on out there.. I would do
that before I prune. It’s time to
prune now, too. But I would probably go on out
there to spray everything and then go on in and
prune it after that. After bud break and, you
know, prior to blooming, you can go with a summer oil, a
lighter oil if you want to do that again to try to reduce the
amount of insect pressure that you’ll have later on. (Chris)
Let me ask you this. So, for fruit trees,
can you spray dormant oil on your
fruit trees? Yes, that’s what I’m
primarily talking about. Fruits, apples,
pears, peaches, plums, nectarines, things like that. That’s primarily
what I’m talking about. Okay. Because I know some of the
folks at the garden centers, you know, of course, you know,
recommend using the dormant oil for your
ornamental plantings. I’m sure that would be
okay for the same reasons. So, what are some insects we
need to really be looking out for though for
the most part? Well, like I said, what we’re
trying to reach are insect eggs. I can give you an example of one
that’s about to pop out here. If you have a crab apple
tree or a wild cherry tree, the eastern tent caterpillar
is about to pop out here. You can cover that egg
mass with a good dormant oil. Then you should interfere
with a number of eastern tent caterpillars
that come out. But aphids.. Aphids overwinter
in the bark of trees. Some of the aphid
eggs will overwinter. A lot of insects’ eggs are laid
under the bark or in the bark. And if they’ve been able
to survive the freezing temperatures and
the ice and snow, maybe the dormant oil
will take them out. Which leads me
to this question. So, we’ve had a
winter, a real winter. Will that have any effect on any
of the insect pests you think? Because I’ve gotten that
question a time or two. You know, I’ve never seen
it have much of an effect. And if you don’t believe
me, go to Canada or Alaska in the
summertime. Insects are all over
the place up there. The mosquitos are huge. So, I doubt
very seriously. Sure, it’s going to kill some. But insects are pretty adaptable
and they have the ability to survive even under bad,
cold winter conditions. So, probably
not that much. I wouldn’t
count on it. Don’t count on it. What about on
your fire ants? Fire ants? This year we may actually
have pushed the line back. We got single digits up
in my neck of the woods in Lauderdale County. You may actually have passed —
pushed that line of fire ants back to the
south a little bit. They’ll come back. They’ll move
back north. But these hybrid
fire ants that we have, they’re a cross between the red
fire ant and the black fire ant, Solenopsis invicta
and Solenopsis richteri. It’s a cross
between those two. And they are actually more cold
hearty than either the black or the red. They have
that hybrid vigor. And it makes them a little
more able to withstand cold temperatures. But when the ground freezes, if
it’ll freeze down to 12 inches, it’s going to take that
mound out, you know. And I don’t know how deep
the ground froze this year. Probably didn’t
freeze to 12 inches. Probably didn’t
stay cold long enough. But it might help
us with fire ants. So, back to
the dormant oil. So, I guess we just
mix that, of course, according
to the label. Mix it with
water I guess. You have to agitate
it a little bit I’m sure. Shake it up
and agitate. Make sure you
get good coverage. And it’s one of the insecticides
that you won’t actually see. I mean, as far as
with your eyes. But you put
it out there. And it’s doing, you know, it’s
doing some damage to the insects that you
don’t really see. If you see
scale insects.. Now if you see white peach scale
or some of the scale insects that show up,
you can actually see, you know,
with your eyes. You can see the damage
that oil does to the insects. And soon, very soon, I mean,
we’re going to start to see aphids and things are going to
start hatching out very quickly. Yeah, you’re right. Just like we’re sitting
around waiting on spring, so are they. (Mike)
That’s right. So, they’re going to be
right behind in numbers for the most part. (Mike)
Exactly right. Wow. Yeah, the insect world is.. I’m always curious
about, you know, when they come out or when
to multiply and all that kind of good stuff. Pretty tough critters. Pretty tough. I know the scales. And you know about the
Crepe Myrtle bark scale. I wonder if the winter
had any effect on them. I wouldn’t
count on it. I really wouldn’t. I mean, we’ve had a
tough winter this year. But like I said, in my career, I
can’t think of an insect that’s really been hurt really bad
by cold winter temperatures. Now you’ll see years that
some insects will be more of a problem than
they’ve normally been. I can think of two or three
insects that had explosions. And I’ve only seen that insect
like once in my lifetime at real high numbers. A cigar case bearer
down in Graham Bay, Alabama one year completely
covered all of the pecan trees that weren’t in a
managed orchard. Then I saw
Oak Lecanium scale. Just unbelievable numbers. One year when I
lived down in Mobile. And I don’t know
what triggered that. I don’t think a cold winter
had anything to do with that down there. I have not seen
anything like that. I haven’t seen a phenomena
like that since I’ve been here in Tennessee. But I did see.. You know, some years the Oak
Lecanium in the early spring is a lot worse
than other years. (Chris)
It sure is. And I don’t know whether that
correlates to how severe the winter was or not. I doubt it. Okay. How about this? How do you
pick a dormant oil? You know there’s a bunch of
dormant oil sprays there at these garden
centers and nurseries. Just look at the, you
know, a dormant oil. Probably they’re all
pretty much the same. (Chris)
I would think so. They probably have pretty
much the same concentration. I would just, you
know, make sure.. The most important thing is to
make sure you use dormant oils during the winter time when
the trees or plants are dormant. And then use the summer
oils or the superior oils in the
summertime. You can get away with using
the summer oil or superior oil in the
wintertime. But you can’t get away
with using dormant oil in the
summertime. Use oil in the summertime,
you’re going to do some damage to the plants
you put it on. Alright. Thanks, Mister D. We appreciate
that information.