My pipfruit are in full blos­som, which means I need to arm up against the codling moth. I am pretty re­laxed in my or­chard, with a ‘live and let live’ at­ti­tude to most and al­low­ing na­ture to bal­ance it­self out, but codling is the ex­cep­tion. Though we have re­leased sev­eral preda­tors in New Zealand, none are pro­lific enough (yet) in my area to con­trol it, and the codling mul­ti­plied and mul­ti­plied un­til there was barely a sin­gle ap­ple with­out the tell­tale brown hole and rot­ten core. It was then I de­clared war.

I tried ev­ery folk tale and rem­edy short of chem­i­cals, and now count the dam­age in one bucket. My suc­cess­ful strat­egy? I spray with a bi­o­log­i­cal in­sec­ti­cide at 80% of petal fall. I use one called Madex 3 which con­tains a nat­u­ral pathogen of the codling moth. Less spe­cific but more eco­nom­i­cal for a tree or two, is a cater­pil­lar bio­con­trol from Ki­wicare con­tain­ing Bacil­lus thuringien­sis, a soil-dwelling bac­te­ria that kills a range of cater­pil­lars, in­clud­ing (al­though it is not listed on the packet) the codling moth. dose of com­post given to each tree. I note what needs prun­ing, but I won’t prune yet as I don’t want to open any wood up un­til af­ter the lemon tree borer moth stops fly­ing in late sum­mer. This col­umn is adapted from the weekly e-zine, get grow­ing, from New Zealand Gar­dener mag­a­zine. For gar­den­ing ad­vice de­liv­ered to your in­box ev­ery Fri­day, sign up for Get Grow­ing at: get­grow­

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