Winter spray

radsnell

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What's your preference for a winter dormancy spray for insects/fungus? Seen many articles for diluted lime sulfur. I've never used it for insects, only deadwood. My typical prophylactic spray would be either acephate (Orthene) recommended by Brussel's, malathion, or the 3 in 1 that you can get from Lowe's. I figure that if I keep changing the spray, there won't be any resistance. Same as my antibiotic theory. If you use lime sulfur, is there anything that you would not spray with it? I try not to use much of anything on my fukien teas and Brazilian Raintree. Seems to affect them the harshest. What dilution?

Thanks,
Boyd
 

jk_lewis

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NONE. Despite bonsai folklore to the contrary, if there are no critters present, there is no point in spraying. Modern pesticides (that the unwashed public can get their hands on) have little or no residual effect.

I fully expect howls of dismay, but . . .
 

Bill S

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Dorment sprays from my perspective are more for fungal issues than insects, trouble is once the fungals issues are apparent, you wish you had taken the effort to spray. They do help with overwintering eggs though. Maybe no big deal for younger trees in developement, but do you want to take chances with your mature trees?
 

Brian Van Fleet

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NONE. Despite bonsai folklore to the contrary, if there are no critters present, there is no point in spraying. Modern pesticides (that the unwashed public can get their hands on) have little or no residual effect.

I fully expect howls of dismay, but . . .
I agree with this approach...I normally don't do preventative sprays either. But (Howl:D), before I put my trees away (mulched outside under benches), I do spray them with lime-sulfur, at a rate of 1 oz to 1 gallon. Modern pesticides/fungicides are supposedly better, but this has worked well for me.

The idea here is to at least smother anything that is already on the tree, not to protect the trees from anything that may develop over the course of winter.
 

mcpesq817

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Does a diluted lime sulfur spray serve as an insecticide and fungicide? I have never sprayed my trees before for either issues, as I've never really had a problem with either.
 

Brian Van Fleet

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Does a diluted lime sulfur spray serve as an insecticide and fungicide? I have never sprayed my trees before for either issues, as I've never really had a problem with either.
It is both...but as noted, better-working (and smelling) options are probably available.
 

garywood

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I've been involved with plants and trees over 45 years and through these years, I've had the whole prophylactic discussion "argument" evolve. Bonsai is a unique niche in the "Ag" world and really deserves a little different approach. I generally don't agree with prophylactic spraying but there are times when it makes good sense. If you are in an area where needle cast is prevalent, then your options are prophylactic spraying or infection. It's the same with Phomopsis on junipers or Pseudomonas on J. maples. The problem with this approach is a tolerance build-up in the pathogen. So it is critical to rotate chemicals. This thread is about winterizing but all "spraying" should be taken in it's totality. The first choice should always be chemically benign when possible, soap spray or dormant oil or neem. These rely basically on smothering or desiccating. Lime-Sulphur is also benign and tolerance will not be an issue. We're not dealing with forest trees or landscape plants where a limb or branch dies and is of no consequence. If waiting for an infestation to manifest itself then we have a problem Houston. It all boils down to being aware of the conditions of the trees and their storage environment and what are the potential pathogens in your area. Good ventilation usually takes care of most problems but along with ventilation comes drying potential so the circle goes back around to being aware.
Wood
 

jk_lewis

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Good ventilation usually takes care of most problems but along with ventilation comes drying potential so the circle goes back around to being aware.
I'll second that. In bonsai, cleanliness IS godliness. Give trees good ventilation, keep table free of spilled soil, dead leaves and other detritus, and keep the tables dry as possible, and you will need to spray much less often.

On the lime sulfur as insecticide and fungicide. READ THE LABEL! Dilutions differ.
 

Attila Soos

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My young pines have constant problems with pine bark adelgids (the whithe fluffy stuff at the base of the needles, on new shoots, and sometimes on the bark). It causes a mild damage, but sometimes it kills half of the new shoots, in the summer. I think that the solution to this is to use a dormant oil this winter, so I will do it as a preventive measure the next month or so.
 

october

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This year was the first year I did some preventative spraying right before my trees went into storage. I used the homemade pesticide.. 1 1/2 table spoons of dishwashing liquid, 1 table spoon of vegetable oil mixed with 1 gallon of water. Then after the solution is poured into the spray bottle. I add 1 capful of alcohol. This is the same stuff I use when ever I have pests, scale insects actually.

Sometimes, when some of my trees come out of winter storage and there are some scale on them. This year, I thought I would do the spray to prevent that from happening. Either way, even if scale does come back, 1-2 sprays with this homemade stuff always takes care of it.

Finding out this recipe from, I believe, Carl Rosner, was one of the best things to happen for the health of my trees. It is non toxic, you can spray indoors or out and there is no need to isolate a sprayed tree from people and pets.
 

Attila Soos

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This year was the first year I did some preventative spraying right before my trees went into storage. I used the homemade pesticide.. 1 1/2 table spoons of dishwashing liquid, 1 table spoon of vegetable oil mixed with 1 gallon of water. Then after the solution is poured into the spray bottle. I add 1 capful of alcohol. This is the same stuff I use when ever I have pests, scale insects actually.

Sometimes, when some of my trees come out of winter storage and there are some scale on them. This year, I thought I would do the spray to prevent that from happening. Either way, even if scale does come back, 1-2 sprays with this homemade stuff always takes care of it.

Finding out this recipe from, I believe, Carl Rosner, was one of the best things to happen for the health of my trees. It is non toxic, you can spray indoors or out and there is no need to isolate a sprayed tree from people and pets.
So, the dishwasher liquid kills the fungi (ati-bacterial property), the vegetable oil smothers the bugs and eggs (it deprives them of air), and the alcohol is an emulsifier (for better mixing the oil with water). Not bad.
 

davetree

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As I understand it, the soap is a "spreader", the oil is for smothering eggs, etc., and the alcohol is a dessicant that dries out some small insects. We used this mix commercially on just about everything in the plant business.
 

Attila Soos

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As I understand it, the soap is a "spreader", the oil is for smothering eggs, etc., and the alcohol is a dessicant that dries out some small insects. We used this mix commercially on just about everything in the plant business.
That's right, the soap is the emulsifier (not the alcohol), but the soap is also a bacterium killer (fungus is a bacterium), so it does two functions.
 

october

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I have wondered if this soap solution acts as an antifungal as well. I would imagine it would, but I do not know to what degree.. What I do know is this had made my life easier. I used to use horticultural oil and that worked well on scale. However, you still did not want it around people and PPE was needed.
 

october

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P.s. If anyone is thinking of using it. Make sure the alcohol goes in last after it is in the spray bottle. So you would mix 1 gallon of water with 1-2 tablespoons of dishwashing liquid and 1 tablespoon of cooking oil. Then, shake it up real well in the jug, then pour it in the spray bottle. Then add of cap full (the cap for the alcohol bottle) of alcohol and shake that up and spray.

Another great thing that I have noticed is that there is no damage what so ever to any species I have sprayed it on.
 

jk_lewis

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Maybe not in winter, but NEVER spray soap on trident maples in the growing season! The leaves will wilt almost immediately. Use with caution on other maples.
 

october

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Thanks for the important info jkl... I have used the solution on different conifer and tropical species, but not maples.
 
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P.s. If anyone is thinking of using it. Make sure the alcohol goes in last after it is in the spray bottle. So you would mix 1 gallon of water with 1-2 tablespoons of dishwashing liquid and 1 tablespoon of cooking oil. Then, shake it up real well in the jug, then pour it in the spray bottle. Then add of cap full (the cap for the alcohol bottle) of alcohol and shake that up and spray.

Another great thing that I have noticed is that there is no damage what so ever to any species I have sprayed it on.
Can anyone who has used this spray elaborate just a little. I'm sure it is not critical but I sure would like a little more information:

1. Spray bottle. I have half pint, pint, quart, two quart bottles and a gallon size sprayer. It would be great to know how much mixture is used when you add the alcohol and how much alcohol.

2. What kind of alcohol? I have gallons of alcohol that you use to make shellac and I have rubbing alcohol in the medicine cabinet. The cap on one holds about four times what the cap on the other one does. Rubbing alcohol has additives (mineral oil usually).

3. How much is a cap full? And what size is the spray bottle that is referred to?

4. After you are done spraying can you dump the part with alcohol in it back into your original gallon jug and use it next time? If you can, do you add more alcohol when you put it back in the sprayer? Or do you toss it away.
 

jk_lewis

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Generally a tablespoon of soap per gallon (you can extrapolate down) and perhaps a teaspoon of rubbing alcohol. Frankly, though, I skip the alcohol.
 
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