For years, apple tree growers have used products containing malathion to eliminate insect problems. Today, malathion is available in many products, including one from Scotts-Miracle Gro called Malathion Plus, which deals with a whole host of insects that plague apple trees. To get the most out of Malathion Plus, mix and apply the product according to the directions listed on the back regarding fruit tree use.
Common Insects that Plague Apple Trees
Insects can wreak havoc on your apple trees. Scale is a small, circular insect that attaches onto the bark or under the leaf. It can appear white or fuzzy, depending on the species. Tent caterpillars also cause problems in apple trees. These caterpillars create substantial webs wherein they can destroy the leaves and fruit of the tree. Other common insects include aphids, certain beetles and mites. Malathion Plus treats all of these pests.
Malathion Plus vs. Other Malathion Products
Malathion is the name of the active chemical included in a variety of malathion products. Malathion Plus is a product specifically developed by the Scotts-Miracle Gro company that includes 50 percent malathion and a wetting agent that gives Malathion Plus more effective coverage.
Malathion Plus is most commonly available in a concentrated form. That means a user will need to mix the product with water and will need a sprayer to apply the mixture. Usually the mixture is 1 tsp. to 6 tsp. per gallon of water. However, Ortho includes direction booklets on the back of the product that help gauge how much product to use for a particular pest.
Application and Timing
Most commonly, Malathion Plus is applied to apple trees during mid- to late summer. One reason that gardener's begin applying the insecticide so late in the season is to prevent or minimize the harm the insecticide does to the bees that are required for pollination. Apple trees require bees to pollinate or else they will not grow fruit. By waiting, the gardener is effectively holding out until the majority of the pollination is complete. Also, Malathion Plus is usually applied on a regular schedule to ensure the best results. It's not uncommon for gardeners to spray their apple trees with Malathion Plus once or even twice a week until a week before they harvest to ensure that their fruit is free of worms.
One of the misconceptions with insecticide use on fruit trees is that it can ruin the fruit or cause it to be poisonous. Malathion Plus is made so that it actually degrades on its own. The company recommends that the gardener wait about a week or so before harvesting any apples on a tree sprayed with Malathion Plus. That week will provide plenty of time for the chemicals to degrade. Washing the apples with water before consuming will also help remove chemical residue that might remain.