Lime Sulphur and Dormant Oil

I just learned about this spray but was warned that it may not be permitted in my municipality. Do you know if it is allowed in Northern Virginia and, if so, where could I buy some asap as the window to apply it is rapidly closing (it's going to be very warm this week)? If it is not able to be used, what are my best options to spray offensively at this time?


  • Camille, can you remind me which trees you have now that are from Merrifield again and which ones were through the mail order? I think one of the mail order never budded right?

    Sorry to hear about the infections caused by the deer guards. I personally feel that in addition to the refund on the trees, they should refund on the deer guards, since they appear to be the vector for all of these infections. I don't have any personal experience with trunk infections (crown gall, anthracnose and gumosis) because most of the trees I've dealt with never got any wounds on their trunks, or if they did they heal quickly (in healthy trees, they heal within a few months).

    Can you post a photo of the cankers, because it sounds like it's more common to have bacterial canker on stone fruit than anthracnose, which seems to target apples more frequently? Bacterial canker would be easier to deal with if you'd like to still try to contain and deal with the infected trees.

    I did look up the gall, because that sounds the most severe in terms of their recommendation about avoiding the area for planting again. I did find a blurb that said that you can innoculate trees before they get infected with a strain that protects them from the bad strain (basically like a vaccine for a tree). The strain is called "Agrobacterium radiobacter strain 84" and you basically dip the new tree in a bath of it before planting in that area. So if it is a crown gall (you can post a photo for me to check out as well) you might be able to still keep your planting arrangement of having the 2 x 4 fruit tree grid.

    You also mentioned something on Saturday about a problem with the blueberries. What was the issue again? I'm getting some blueberries in in a few weeks (including some Chandlers) so you might be interested in those if you had to return the ones you got.


  • When we removed the deer guards to spray dormant oil, I discovered various abnormalities on the trunks. I have identified them as Gumosis very bad on one, the beginning of a crown gall or black knot on another, and many spots of anthrancuose canker on the rest. These were all purchased from and planted by Merrifield nursery. At this point they will refund 50%, but I feel like it's not coincidence that all of the issues are on the trunk where the guards were (which I also purchased from them) so I feel like they should refund 100 percent. My biggest concern is that they are no longer dormant, so whatever trees they are replaced with won't be pruned at the proper time and could go into shock or have really weak immune systems. I'm also worried about the soil of these trees. The one with the suspected gall, I heard it's not recommended to plant there again. Not going well. Any thoughts?

  • Hi Camille,

    This is a follow-up on the fruit tree spraying and dealing with plum cucurlio (which can affect all stone fruit and sometimes apple trees). In terms of nutrition, you can do a foliar feed when the petals form, and again when the fruit start forming. I've seen multiple formulas, but a good base is to include seaweed powder or fish meal, usually just a few tablespoons per gallon of water. Other additions include neem oil at a low concentration and an effective microorganisms or compost tea addition. The idea is that foliar sprays at that key point in the season are absorbed at a much higher rate than root absorption. It's also useful because you can use the same spray (at a bit lower rate for the neem concentration) for your berry bushes (blueberries, raspberries) and heavy feeder vegetables (tomatoes, squash, peppers, brassicas).

    As far as cucurlio goes, I've seen three different ways to deal with them. Heavy applications of kaolin clay with a soap emulsifier every week before and after fruit formation. Putting a tarp down underneath the tree and shaking them off in the morning (once a morning for 2 weeks around fruit formation). You can also use a tree trap (,fruit%20and%20then%20lay%20eggs.) as a lure to catch the mommas when they emerge from the ground in the spring. It's stressed that it's important to remove dropped fruit since each one contains a PC larvae for subsequent years (something I didn't do last year but I will keep an eye on from now on).

    If things get bad, there are some organic sprays but they tend to be expensive and broad spectrum (might kill bees as well). These include PyGanic ( and Entrust (which apparently you need to mix with kaolin so it sticks to the leaves).

    I have a berry installment for the Backyard Orchard masterclass from my presentation to Rooting DC, so I'll post that as a first installment next week followed by a module on maintenance and pest/fungus control which will go into a bit more detail the following week.

    If you have any immediate questions, please let me know.



  • Hi Camille,

    If you are using that for fungicide control, I suggest you look at Michael David Phillips fruit tree maintenance schedule. Usually the time to start protecting your trees are mostly at bud break and flower/fruit formation.

    I'd recommend a general foliar spray with seaweed/neem/fish kelp once leaves start forming here in a few weeks. I'll follow up with exact measurements.

    Also, from personal experience, I recommend an early application of kaolin clay for fruit protection. I sprayed too late last year and got issues with plum cucurlio, so I'm going to try something extra early this year and I'll give you some info when I have my spray together.

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