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—Lancaster Farming, Saturday, July 17,1971
Penn State research has
shown that mature apple trees
can be sprayed from the middle
of alternate rows and still
achieve 90 per cent coverage of
the entire tree.
The finding was made by Dr.
Fred H. Lewis, scientist-in
charge of the Fruit Research
Laboratory of Penn State Uni
versity in Adams County.
Withiirthe past 20 years, sci
entists at' the laboratory have
steadily improved methods of
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spraying to control pests with
out undue damage to the en
From the grower’s stand
point, such experiments have
achieved significant reductdoins
in spraying costs, in labor, and
the amount of pesticides used.
From the consumer’s stand
point, the studies are decreas
ing residues on fruits and are
reducing environmental pollu
tion from pesticides.
In the alternate spraying
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technique, the spraying is done
down the middle of alternate
rows, 1,3, 5, etc., one week,
spraying to left and right.
Seven days later, the sprayers
move down the middle of the
other alternate rows 2,4, 6, etc.,
again spraying left and right „
In this technique, apple
trees are pruned to a height of
18 or 19 feet and thinned in a
normal manner. Airblast spray
ers are used with a pump pres
sure of at least 180 to 200
pounds per square inch. Air
volume and velocity must be
sufficient to drive the spray in
to and well above the trees.
Speed of the sprayer is held to
two miles per hour.
Concentrate sprays are used,
mixed at four times the stand
ard dilute rate. This spraying
reduces the amount of pesticide
by about 18 per cent by eli
minating run-off from the
trees, Dr. Lewis reports. Con
centrate sprays also require
less labor. Timing of the sprays
can be improved since less time
is required to apply each spray.
And the total cost of the whole
pest control program is de
“Our experience in large
scale trials has been that the
chemicals for alternate row
spraying might cost about 35
per cent less than the chemi
cals for a standard dilute spray
program used at 400 gallons
per acre,” Dr. Lewis states.
In reducing possible pollu
tion of the environment, Dr.
Lewis works with Professor
Dean Asquith on a program of
integrated control of mites by
using natural predators in as
sociation with small amounts of
Under the integrated control
technique, spray programs are
designed so that the ladybird
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beetle, Stethorus punctum, sur
vives. These beetles multiply on
apple trees over three genera
tions and eat millions of harm
“We do not know of any ap
ple grower in Pennsylvania who
has failed to obtain good pest
control with either concentrate
sprays or a combination of con
centrate sprays and the inte
grated mite control program —-
provided he had suitable equip
ment and followed the rules of
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the game,” Dr. Lewis affirms.
More and more fruit grow
ers, he says, are employing
technical advisors to direct the
pest control programs. This is
due, in part, to the increasing
need for closer control of pesti
cide application methods and
the choice of pesticides. In
some cases these advisors repre
sent a farm service organiza
tion where purchase of pesti
cides pays for the technical ad