Can I use mating disruption in my home orchard?
Maybe. Mating disruption works well on a large scale. The goal is to have the insect's scent (pheromone) in abundance so that they cannot locate each other to mate and reproduce. If you have a small orchard you may only succeed in attracting more insects to your small plot.
Read more about mating disruption here.
Are you certified organic?
No, however we use many of the same growing practices as organic growers. IPM allows the use of pesticides, fertilizers and other materials made from synthetic materials when necessary. Organic certification programs largely restrict allowable pesticides to those made from natural materials. Pesticides used in organic programs can also have harmful effects on humans, animals and the environment, and must be used carefully and only when needed. In our orchard we focus on creating an environment that encourages the growth and development of biological controls that naturally help us control pests.
Do you spray?
According to the IPM protocol, spraying is used as a last resort when other methods of pest control fail. We use bug trapping and try to create an environment in which the beneficial insects (lady beetles, spiders, lacewings, predatory wasps, ect.) can thrive and help us control the destructive pests. If we do spray, all of the pesticides that we use fall in a reduced risk category which means they have a low impact on human health, lower toxicity to nontarget organisms (e.g., birds, fish, plants), low potential for groundwater contamination, low use rates, and low pest resistance potential.
The orchard is looked at and treated as an ecosystem as opposed to the “one size fits all” method of controlling pest and diseases in conventional growing, usually by spraying. IPM takes into account the geography, climate, pests, and diseases that our farm specifically has to deal with and then looks at any available biological controls (beneficial insects), soil health, and nutritional support for our trees, enabling us to deal with pests and diseases in a way that is safe for everyone and everything in the orchard.
Not only are chemicals expensive to apply and purchase, we work in the orchard and we do not want expose ourselves to harmful pesticides. Therefore, we try to be as dilligant as possible in trying to prevent pests from reaching a point at which we need to spray.