University of Maryland Extension

When to Spray Fruit Trees

Back to Tree Fruit Problems

Domesticated fruit trees are prone to many diseases and pests that require close management. Controls include cultural methods, such as removing diseased fruit, as well as organic and non-organic sprays. 

Early spray applications are timed to control serious diseases and insect pests and coincide with stages of fruit bud development. Important stages include:

  • Dormant—just before bud swell in spring.
  • Silver - buds slightly open but not showing any green tissue.
  • Green tip—buds are open at tips exposing green tissue.
  • Half-inch green—one-half inch of green tissue is projecting from bud.
  • Tight cluster—blossom buds are exposed but tightly pressed; stems are short.
  • Pink—blossom buds are pink or white with fully extended stems.
  • Blossom—from bloom opening through petal-fall. Do not use any insecticides during the bloom period.
  • Petal-fall—petals have fallen.
  • Fruit formation.

Apple silver tip bud development pink apple buds opening
Apple silver tips stage (left), Apple pink stage (right)

Fruit bud development in fruit trees

diagram of fruit bud development

General Disease and Insect Pest Control Recommendations
Home Fruit Preventative Spray Schedule

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