I’m really curious about the cross dressing apples as well. I must’ve missed the post that explained it. Why the sexy legwear? And how big were they when you first dressed them? I imagine they needed to be pollinated and grow a little first.
That description – cross dressing apple – made me laugh because, well, it’s hilarious. But also I think I’d assign a female gender to all fruit by default. Apples are a giant ovary, after all. (Botanists, you may now quibble over how much of an apple is technically an ovary – I think I’ve made my point.) Since panty hose are traditionally worn by the ovary-bearing gender, I think apples have all the right in the world to wear them. And even without tradition – hey, I’m from Seattle – we’re pretty casual about pantyhose and gender roles around here.
Anyway, there is a very good reason my apples are wearing pantyhose. The footies, applied when the apples are small and ready to be thinned – about the size of a dime – keep apple maggots and coddling moth larva out of the apples. The footies work just like any physical barrier method – the apple maggot fly and coddling moth aren’t able to lay their eggs on the apple when it’s covered in pantyhose. No egg = no pest damage. No pests = really nice apples.
This is the first year I’ve tried this method of pest control and it works. We didn’t spray our apples at all or do anything beyond the the pantyhose – no sticky traps, no pheromone disruption, nothing – and most of our apples were perfect.
The downside is it took just shy of forever to apply the footies to all the apples on the topmost branches of my espalier. I think I did about half the central branches and just gave up on the lowermost branches. It may have gone faster if I had done it without a baby on my back, but I kinda doubt it – it’s just a super tedious process.
|Apples and Asian Pears|
If you have small trees or espaliers, and have a kinda laid-back, zen approach to time spent in the garden, the footies are a fantastic way to organically prevent pests from destroying your apple crop. If you managed a larger orchard, there is no way you could time-effectively use footies for pest control.
More info on using pantyhose footies for maggot and coddling moth control, including detailed instructions on when and how to apply the footies, is found at the Seattle Tree Fruit Society’s excellent website.
Is this a technique you have used? Would you try it?12