How do I manage scale insects on my peaches and plums? San Jose scale and white peach scale are major annual pests that can weaken and even destroy stone fruits if not handled regularly. Scale are sap-feeding insects that pierce stems and fruit using syringe-like mouthparts. After the scales have dispersed during their initial nymphal or crawler stage, only the adult males move around. Scale crawlers settle down a few days after hatching and mature by inserting their mouthparts into a stem or fruit. The scale will developa protective cover, which protects them in a turtle shell-like fashion. Scale species can be hard to detect.
Peaches, plums, and nectarines should be treated twice during the dormant season (from leaf drop to first swollen fruit buds) every year with horticultural oil. Oil concentrations of 1-3% are recommended. Reduce the rate of oil to 1% rate just before bloom. Do not apply oil when temperatures are expected to be higher than 70°F or lower than 25°F within 24 hours. Do not use horticultural oils within 14 days of applying sulfur or sulfur-containing fungicides such as captan.
A great resource for home orchard management is called the HOME ORCHARD DISEASE AND PEST MANAGEMENT GUIDE It has great information on IPM for the home orchard. If you would like more information on the San Jose scale please read the publication San Jose Scale, A Pernicious and Persistent Pest of Peaches
What do I need to do in the garden in January? There are numerous things to do in January. A few chores are listed below.
- Make a garden plan. Plan the garden to include various vitamin groups.
- Consider planting a few new varieties along with the old favorites.
- Plant the amount of each vegetable to be planted, including enough to can and freeze. Allow about 1/10 acre of garden space for each member of the family. (Ask your county Extension agent about So Easy to Preserve.)
- Buy enough quality seed for two or three plantings to lengthen the season of production.
- Take soil samples if you have not already done so, and take them to your county Extension office for analysis.
- Apply manure or compost and plow it under if you did not do so in the fall.
- Apply lime, sulfur, and fertilizer according to the soil-test results and vegetable requirements. Buy 100 pounds of fertilizer for each 1/10 acre to be planted (if manure is not available, buy at least half again more). Use 5-10-10 or 6-12-12 analysis, depending on soil test and vegetable requirements.
- Get plant beds or seedboxes ready for growing plants such as tomato, pepper, and eggplant. Have beds ready for planting in early February.
- Check on your compost pile and make sure it is ready for use in the spring.
- Go by your county Extension office and get copies of Georgia Extension gardening publications.
If you have any questions about peaches or gardening please contact your local county Extension agent.