Gardening Help FAQs

Here are answers to some of the most common questions we receive about garden plants. You will find concise information on general gardening techniques as well as plant selection and care. For detailed information on specific plant pests and problems refer to our Common Garden Pests and Problems page.

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Horticulture Questions and Answers

How do I control the pest on my apple tree?

To grow perfect blemish free apples requires numerous sprays for insects and disease pests. Most home gardeners, however, can get by with far fewer sprays and still obtain a good crop, albeit with a few blemishes.

Common insects of apples include aphids, mites, scale, apple maggots and codling moths. Monitor pest populations and spray when needed. Keep in mind that some insecticides are toxic to honey bees & should not be applied to trees in bloom. For current spray recommendations consult University Extension Guide #G6010, "Home Fruit Spray Schedule."

The three most common diseases that affect apples are powdery mildew, apple scab and fireblight. Powdery mildew causes leaves to develop a white powdery appearance but will not usually seriously damage a tree. Its severity will vary from year to year depending upon weather conditions. Apple scab and fireblight are more serious diseases. Fireblight can kill trees of susceptible varieties and apple scab, over time, can weaken trees. The severity of apple scab will also vary from year to year depending upon weather conditions and the susceptibility of the variety. For more information on apple scab and fireblight listen to message "Problems of Flowering Crabapples".

If the level of pest damage to your apples is higher than acceptable you should consider a rigorous spray schedule that can include six or more sprayings a year. For detailed information on this schedule obtain a copy of The University Extension Guide number G6010 "Home Fruit Spray Schedule". It is available for purchase at the Garden's Kemper Center for Home Gardening. When using any pesticide be sure and read the complete label and follow the directions.