BILOWZ ASSOCIATES INC. is an award winning landscape architectural design firm with a proven philosophy: "Creating Design with Harmony & Balance."
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Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Before Bud Breaks
In this transitional season of spring, you must seize all opportunities when these rare and few moments are upon you. So don’t doddle with certain tasks in your garden. If you have fruit trees or ornamentals (from apricots to lilacs) this is the time to apply dormant oils (also known as horticultural oils). The tricky part is that applications must be done when temperatures stay above freezing for 24 hours and before bud break. With fruit trees, you must be vigilant. Look for the first signs of swelling buds as your indicator that it’s time to move. With ornamentals, it’s a bit more broad-brushed and flexible but you still must always apply with caution and the utmost attention to directions. The mantra with any product applied to your living plant materials is READ THE LABELS. Good quality horticultural oils can be used after bud break but check application rates carefully. You can cause leaf and tissue damage if applied incorrectly or at the wrong rates and times.
Why spray dormant oils? These oils are meant to control nasty insects that have overwintered and can cause damage to the plant’s overall health. Multiple applications of dormant oils are the most helpful. From the first sign of bud break until early leaf flush, spraying dormant oils stops insect eggs from hatching. It nips the insect cycle in the bud before these critters literally take out your buds. If done correctly, dormant oil application(s) drastically reduce the rate and frequency of insecticidal applications throughout the growing season.
So nip the nasty bugs in the bud before things start to sprout. It’s like breakfast in the morning. Start your plants off on the right foot. Rhoda Morgenstern gives us one reason why we should at least take good care of those fruit trees. "The first thing I remember liking that liked me back was food." Happy gardening! Annie
Image of an apricot bud from the internet
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