In a previous post, I mentioned the technique of putting “footies” (nylon half-sock hosiery thingies) on apples as they are forming on the trees, to protect them from pests like the apple maggot fly and coddling moths which can ravage the fruit. At the Seattle Tilth Harvest Fair yesterday (big post on that coming soon), I saw that they had used this method in their demonstration garden.
It’s pretty labor intensive, but if you only have a few dwarf trees (or a lot of time or many helpful garden elves), it’s doable. You just have to make sure to do it at the right time, before the pests emerge from dormancy in the spring and start doing their evil (but natural) business. Check with your local fruit tree growers’ society for more information, or click here for the Home Orchard Society’s how to’s and purchasing info.