UAPTOP - Unmanaged Apple and Pear Tree Outreach Program
What defines an “unmanaged“ apple or pear tree?
The following are signs of an unmanaged fruit tree. While this list is by no means inclusive, it does cover some of the more common signs of insects and diseases on neglected trees:
All types of fruit trees require proper maintenance to stay healthy and productive. Pear trees are one of the most high maintenance fruit trees one can grow. University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE) and the local pear industry have worked together over many years to develop an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program that utilizes alternatives to calendar-based pesticide applications. Pest levels are monitored weekly and only controlled when levels reach a research-based threshold. Pheromone mating disruption to control codling moth, the main insect pest of pears, has been adopted by nearly all local orchardists. Growers are also applying new generation insecticides that are much less harmful to humans, natural enemies, and wildlife.
These newer “soft” IPM programs have resulted in significantly less insecticide use, but will only work if not undermined by the presence of external sources of pests. If there are unmanaged apple and pear trees nearby commercial orchards, more frequent applications of harsher insecticides become necessary, creating an economic and environmental burden.
Authors: Gabriele O’Neill, UC UAPTOP Program Representative and Rachel Ekins, UC Pomology Farm Advisor, Lake an Mendocino Counties.
May 17, 2010