Submitted to: Popular Publication
Publication Type: Popular Publication
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/4/2009
Publication Date: 3/10/2009
Citation: Hilton, R., Knight, A.L. 2009. Battling Wormy apples in the Home Orchard Using a SOFT Approach. Popular Publication, The Applegator, March issue p 7-8, Medford, OR. Interpretive Summary: Codling moth is the key pest of apples and pears and homeowners have a number of fairly ineffective approaches they can use to minimize fruit injury. A management program coined SOFT (Selective Organic Fruit Tree) was developed by ARS researchers at the USDA, ARS, Yakima Agricultural Research Laboratory, Wapato, WA. This program uses a combination of spring or fall sprays of parasitic nematodes for overwintering larvae, summer sprays of granulosis virus for summer larvae, and a trap-lure system to remove female moths before thay can lay eggs. A demonstration project developed with Oregon State University in Medford, Oregon showed that this program could be effective. Success was influenced by the degree of isolation from unmanaged neightbors' trees and tree size and cultivar which effect both spray efficacy and host suitability. Efforts to expand this program in 2009 are underway.
Technical Abstract: A program was developed for use by homeowners to control codling moth in backyard apple and pear trees. Coined SOFT (Selective Organic Fruit Tree), this management program uses a combination of granulosis virus, parasitic nematodes, and a trap and lure for females. This multi-tactic approach reduced levels of injury by 70% and results were dependent on the degree of isolation of the property and tree size and cultivar. Adoption of this program is expected to increase during 2009.