Thursday, May 17, 2012

Are Your Fruit Trees Surrounded?

Last spring we planted twenty-something fruit trees from Stark Brothers, and placed the trees up at the front of the property, which was an otherwise useless space.  I admit that I wasn't the best caretaker of said fruit trees last spring and summer, as various bugs took up residence in the leaves.  This spring, however, I have determined to be more preventive, especially because I've heard that our mild winter neglected to kill off many pests, and that we're in for a rather buggy summer.  In other words, we're doomed.  Well, at least our plants are.

Since I'm also determined not to spray chemicals on my trees, this spring I'm trying Surround, an organic, clay-based spray that is supposed to protect the leaves and fruit from many destructive insects.  But it's apparently harmless enough to humans that you can eat it...not that I would.  Anyway, we first heard about Surround from Edible Landscaping, but it looks like it can be ordered from several places online if you do a Google search.

Young pear tree sprayed with Surround.
The first round should be sprayed on the leaves after the flowers fall off in the spring, and then after heavy rains (it takes a pretty heavy rain or two to wash the Surround completely off).  Generally, it needs to be re-applied every 7-14 days early in the season, and every 14 to 21 days later in the season when there's not as much new growth.

A downside of Surround is that, as you can see, it turns your trees white.  Does anyone know of other options if aesthetics are a concern?

Baby pears sprayed with Surround.
I will keep you posted on how well Surround protects our trees, but the only issue I've really had so far is with application.  After ruining four junky spray bottles, I broke down and bought a gallon sprayer from a big box store.  However, I'm not thrilled with it because it was cheap.  I'm also not thrilled with my thrifty self at the moment, because I never seem to learn that you get what you pay for.  I did a quick search on Amazon, and there seem to be some good sprayers out there in the $20-$30 range.  Any recommendations???

Here's some other unrelated, unsolicited advice regarding fruit-bearing trees:

1. Plant them instead of ornamentals.
2. Since they can take several years to bear fruit, the earlier you plant them, the better.  If you move to a new place, plant them before you unpack your toothbrush.  Seriously.
3. The first year, if your trees bear fruit, pluck all but maybe two or three off of each tree.  I know, it's painful.  But the trees need to focus their energies on forming strong roots, and if the fruit is allowed to ripen, much of that energy will be concentrated on the fruit and not the roots.  Strong roots = better fruit in the years to come.

Note: Surround has not, in any way, endorsed or sponsored this post. Its purpose is to educate others about my experiences as well as glean from the experiences of others who may have used this product.

I'm linking up with Rural Thursdays!

Rural Thursday Blog Hop


  1. I'll be interested to know how the Surround product works for the long haul. And also what anyone else recommends.

  2. you've got some great advise to share ~ would love to see you link up to the garden party sometime over here at Fishtail Cottage! xoxo, tracie

  3. Fruit trees are wonderful to have, but a pain to maintain.

    The first year will be the best year -- after that, it's a game to keep the bugs and diseases away. That said, it's worth it. The spring blooms and the fruit are unmatched.

    All I can say is, spray every year, diligently. Great post!

  4. I've never used Surround so I'll be anxious to hear about that but I do have some great sprayers that are about $20.00 and battery powered so no pumping and no constant hand spraying. I have arthritis so I was looking for something easy on my hands and I found it! They also carry other natural garden products "safe for people, plants and pets". I have 3 or 4 of their sprayers and they fit in bigger containers than what they show in their catalog and the batteries last forever. I have multiples so I don't have to switch them out all the time. I have a sprayer for each product I use. You can find them at
    I LOVE the battery powered sprayers as they are fast, efficient and save my hands! Good luck! The one I have is $18 but their bestseller is 1 gallon and $27 Anyway, I think you'll REALLY like them!

    1. Just ordered one! I've had it with my Blue Light Special - thanks so much for the recommendation!

  5. Interesting. We may have to try Surround on our apple trees.

  6. It will be interesting to see if it works for you (especially when you have a previous buggy year to compare to). I agree with planting fruit trees early. I can't wait to mark out our house yard on the new property and work out where the orchard will go, so I can start planting before we build the house!

  7. Good luck with your fruit crop this year!

  8. Your baby pears are looking splendid! I believe you should always plant fruit plants and trees instead of keeping them pot-held. The Earth promotes much better growth, and natural space for roots to deepen. Unlike a crowded pot. God bless, and happy gardening!!

    -Tony Salmeron