Type your question here!

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Fruit Tree Leaves Okay on the Ground, Fruit Not

Q. We have fruit trees planted in an area we have covered with wood mulch. We always clean up the fallen fruit. Can we leave the fallen leaves on the ground or do they need to be cleaned up?

Western Box Elder bug ready to feed on dried apple still hanging on the tree, pecked by a bird. This insect feeds on decaying plant material but if it can get inside an old fruit through a bird peck, it will.
A. It is always a good idea to clean up fallen fruit because of pest problems. It is also very important to remove dead fruit from trees after harvesting.    
            I like to see fruit picked up from the orchard floor at least weekly. If you don't, it can lead to numerous insect and vertebrate pest problems. If you are composting this fruit, either bury it in the compost pile or put it in a sealed containers where pests can’t get to them.
This is a picture of the confused sap beetle on the University of California IPM website. Very common pest found in orchards where the old fruit is left on the ground or hanging on the trees. The simple control measure? Pick up fallen fruit from the orchard floor and dispose of it right away. http://ipm.ucanr.edu/PMG/r261300111.html
            One common insect problem with nearly all soft fruit when it’s ripe are fruit beetles. They get into decaying fruit on the orchard floor where their populations multiply rapidly. These beetles then infest soft mature fruit hanging on the tree waiting to become “tree ripened” or disposed fruit laying on top of the compost pile.
Picture of a pest of old fruit left on the ground or not removed from the trees, the dried fruit beetle. How to get them under control? Sanitation. Pick up fallen fruit and remove old fruit from trees. Fig fruit in particular is a big source of this problem. http://ipm.ucanr.edu/PMG/r261300111.html
            If this is a problem with your fruit trees, improve orchard sanitation by picking up fallen fruit and remove old and damaged fruit hanging from the trees.
An entry point for dried fruit beetle inside figs is the "eye" or hole at the bottom. Some figs have closed "eyes" and others are open. These rascals like the open ones so they can climb inside and cause havoc.
            Leaves from most fruit trees are not a problem if left on the ground to decompose. That's not true however in the vegetable garden and possibly other parts of the landscape. Leaves and stems will decompose much faster if they are chopped or shredded first.
            If it were me, I would shred leaves and stems and leave them on the orchard floor to decompose but not the fruit.

No comments:

Post a Comment