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An Organic Apple Production System for New York 2001

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Project Leader(s): Terence Robinson, Dept. of Hort. Sci., NYSAES, Cornell University, Geneva, NY 14456

Art Agnello, Dept. of Entomology, NYSAES, Cornell University, Geneva, NY 14456

Ian Merwin, Dept. of Horticulture, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14850

Harvey Reissig, Dept. of Entomology, NYSAES, Cornell University, Geneva, NY 14456

David Rosenberger, Dept. of Plant Path., NYSAES, Cornell University, Highland, NY 12528

Jim Schupp, Dept. of Hort. Sci., NYSAES, Cornell University, Highland, NY 14456

Richard Straub, Dept. of Entomology, NYSAES, Cornell University, Highland, NY 12528

Cooperator(s): Deborah I. Breth, Cornell Coop. Ext.-Lake Ontario Fruit Team, Albion, NY 14411

Mike Fargione, Ulster County Coop. Extension, Highland, NY 12528

Stephen A. Hoying, Cornell Coop. Ext.-Lake Ontario Fruit Team, Newark, NY 14568

Kevin Iungerman, Cornell Coop. Ext.-Northern NY Fruit Program, Balston Spa, NY 12020

Kevin Bittner, Dept. of Horticulture, Ithaca, NY 14850 (Undergraduate Student Assistant)

James Bittner, Fruit Grower, Singer Farms Olcott, NY (Grower Cooperators)

Steve Clark, Fruit Grower, Milton, NY (Grower Cooperators)

Type of grant: Pheremones, biorationals; microbials; organic pesticides

Project location(s): Throughout the Northeast

Abstract: Several NY apple growers have indicated they see a marketing opportunity for NY grown organic apples (both fresh and processed products) and have requested a Cornell University led effort to develop a system of organic apple production for NY. In 2001 we studied insect pest management, fruit thinning, and weed control tactics that are organically approved. We have evaluated two organic approved insecticides (Surround and Aza-Direct) in season long programs. They both provided some pest control but less than half of the fruit was free from insect damage. Handgun treatments were better than airblast treatments. Both of the products showed some promise but organic growers will still have to accept considerably more insect damage than with conventional pest management products.

With organic approved thinning agents we had excellent success. The Fish oil/lime sulfur combination gave excellent thinning efficacy and a wide window of application (full bloom to post petal fall). NC-99 also gave significant thinning but was only tested at full bloom. Both products also resulted in improved fruit size. There was some phytotoxic effects of both products and a small amount of fruit russetting from multiple applications of fish oil/lime sulfur. We must still evaluate the effect of the thinning agents on return bloom in the spring of 2002..

We successfully modified and improved a weed flaming unit that gave promising results in 2001 for cost effective weed control in organic apple orchards. The use of a shroud allowed faster travel times and more effective weed suppression. This method should allow organic apple growers to limit weed competition and improve tree growth, yield and fruit size.