Organic Pest Control for Fruit Trees

Overview

Organic food is defined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as food that has "been produced and handled without the use of synthetic chemicals, except as otherwise provided...." Growing organic fruit requires a little creativity and some discipline in treating the trees with the right solutions at the right times.

History

The organic farming movement began with Sir Albert Howard in 1931. After moving to India and serving with their agricultural department, he returned to England and published many books on organic farming practices including theories of composting, soil fertility and plant disease and health. His most famous publication is "An Agricultural Testament."

Significance

Organic farming offers growers a means of producing fruit that is more ecologically sustainable. According to the Environmental Working Group, many chemical pesticides pose serious health concerns to consumers, such as cancer and neurotoxicity.

Considerations

Organic produce is grown using natural methods of pest control. While the various means are effective at eliminating most pests, certain insects will still exist. That being the case, some organic fruit that is grown may not look as perfect as its non-organic counterparts. For example, organically grown apples might have some scars on their skin from where a caterpillar or another pest attempted to take a bite.

Benefits

Organic pest control methods are more simplistic than chemical methods. Furthermore, many organic pest control methods, such as essential oil sprays and complementary farming, involve ingredients you can find in the kitchen, which means a much smaller operating cost.

Time Frame

Organic pest control must be applied at a much more regular interval than its chemical counterpart. Some methods, such as using petroleum jelly to attract white flies, will require weekly maintenance, while other methods such as farming basil to keep grasshoppers away requires additional watering and care.

Application of Organic Pest Control

Organic pest control uses customized natural techniques to treat specific pests as they emerge. For example, spray plant blossoms that aphids are attacking with a combination of powdered milk and water to create a sticky paste that will eliminate the aphids. This method should not harm the tree or its fruit. Other methods may include planting complementary crops to lure away pests that might want to eat the fruit. The pests eat the complimentary crop until they are full and move on.

Keywords: natural pest control, organic insecticides, organic produce

About this Author

Steven White is a privately contracted software engineer, web developer, and tech support representative. He has 3 years of experience providing technical support for AT&T broadband customers. He is currently a Master's of Software Engineering student and enjoys sharing his knowledge and expertise with others.