Defend the plum tree from parasites

Defend the plum tree from parasites


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Plums and plums are usually quite rustic and productive plants, but like other stone fruit (peach, apricot, almond and cherry), these species can also be affected by harmful diseases and insects. Some adversities are common to stone fruit, while others are more specific, but the forms of prevention are similar and the treatments can always be administered with the various ecological products now available and tested to be effective.

Let's see now in particular what are the harmful insects that can attack the plum tree (Sino-Japanese plum tree) and the plum (European plum tree) and how to defend the plants organically, while best preserving the balance of the agroecosystem and avoiding pollution, while legitimately focusing on good, abundant and quality production.

It is not true that the two objectives exclude each other, indeed, they can be together, only that their joint achievement requires much more attention and timeliness compared to conventional management, in which products with a strong killing power are used whenever the need is seen. Too bad that these products often kill even beneficial or harmless insects, and this is not positive and in the long run not even convenient.

Cydia of the plum tree

There Cydia funebrana, or cydia of the plum tree, is a small butterfly similar in appearance to the harassing Cydia, with gray-brown front wings and whitish streaks, and capable of making 2-3 generations per year. The damage that this insect causes occurs at the stage of larva, which overwinters in cocoons sheltered among the barks. In spring, the adults flutter, mate and they lay their eggs on the fruit in formation. From the eggs the larvae are born that begin to live at the expense of the fruits, eating the pulp, and the consequence is that many fruits fall and are lost.

Against this parasite i Preventive remedies are the placement of food traps, such as those of type Tap Trap, which include a yellow cap-hook, which attracts for the color, screwed on a bottle filled with a good bait for catches. At the end of the summer it is also useful wrap the logs with corrugated cardboard, in whose grooves the insects will tend to make the cocoon for the winter. With this trick you can catch many of them.

If organic farming is extensive, i.e. at least 1 ha, it also makes sense to set up a defense by means of pheromone traps for sexual confusion. Finally, the most recommended product to perform treatments is Bacillus thuringiensis kurstaki, particularly specific against this and other lepidoptera and harmless to other insects such as bees and bumblebees.

Tentredini

Even the larvae of this insect, whitish or yellow, feed on the fruits of the plum tree. The black sawfly adults overwinter in the soil to reappear during flowering and lay their eggs right at the base of the floral sepals. Also in this case then the larvae cause the affected fruit to fall to the ground with loss of production.

In the presence of a few plants we can try to contain the parasite by means of white chromotropic traps, which we can also use for the solo monitoring, in order to decide whether to do a treatment or not. The rule is to deal when a trap captures at least 15-20 adults, but if we are unable to recognize them compared to other accidentally caught insects, we can alternatively count the affected flower buds, finding tunnels or not. It makes sense to establish how damage threshold 10% of affected flowers on the total, and make a treatment, for example with the natural pyrethrum, from this percentage up, repeating the operation later, if the presence of the insect returns to those values.

Aphids

We couldn't miss the aphids, as always, given that they are parasites of which there are many species capable of attacking various garden plants, fruit and ornamental species.

Fortunately, in an environment managed organically the natural predators of these insects are abundant, and therefore it is not difficult to see ladybugs on the same plants where colonies of aphids are present.

However, we can easily drive away the aphids with extracts of nettle, garlic or chilli sprayed on plants. However, if the damage of the aphids begins to get serious, in terms of shrinking of the shoots and leaves and the presence honeydew sticky, it's worth it intervene by spraying diluted Marseille soap or neem oil.

Asian bedbug

In recent years it has entered our circles with a certain arrogance the Asian bedbug (Halyomorpha halys), and caused serious damage to the affected crops, also because it is a very polyphagous species. Insect nets, also used to contain damage from hail and set up after fruit setting, together with frequent treatments based on natural pyrethrum or azadirachtin, can limit the damage.

Drosophila suzukii

Another polyphagous insect is the Drosophila suzukii, also called small fruit fly, which also affects the plum tree. Against this insect the type food traps are useful Red Tap Trap.


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