Homemade Fruit Tree Spray

ingredients in fruit tree sprayA good natural homemade fruit tree spray is an excellent spray alternative . . .

. . . that can be used throughout the growing season even if you don’t yet have a problem with insects or fungi.

It’s easier to keep your plants disease-free than to try to cure them once they’re infected, and this is where a homemade fruit tree spray program using natural ingredients found in your cupboard can play a big part in keeping your trees (especially fruit trees) fungi and insect free. As a matter of fact, you might consider having a spraying routine and using natural or homemade fruit tree  spray for your fruit trees  from early spring right on through the summer months.

Please be advised. I am told that the “Homemade Fruit Tree Spray” as outlined in this article  will spell the eventual death of a peach tree in the Southern States. The molasses and vinegar will encourage bacteria growth and parasitic insects (which Murphy’s Soap will not kill). The genus Coleoptera (beetles) thrive on this spray. Boring beetles eventually will kill the tree. Please those of you living in the hot Southern States, do not to use this spray on peach trees.


The norm is to treat every bearing fruit tree with at least one spraying of a mixture of garden sulfur and horticultural oil early in the spring BEFORE LEAFING OCCURS in order to kill any overwintering cocoons.

However, I have found the natural homemade fruit tree spray outlined below can work just as well. . . even better.  It is safe to use, easy to make, and does not have the possibility of burning the trunk of the tree by mixing incorrectly as might be done with sulfur and oil mixture.  (Unfortunately I have done so a few times when I first started to spray my fruit trees)

Whether you use the sulfur/oil mixture or this mixture for your spring spraying of fruit trees, throughout the summer you might want to continue using the  natural homemade fruit tree spray recipe on a regular basis in order to keep insects and fungi away from your fruit trees. (The idea is to subtly change the smell and feel of the tree and fruit so that the insects do not recognize it and at the same time feed your tree.)

My favorite natural homemade fruit tree spray is the one suggested by horticulturist and organic gardener Howard Garrett. He says his Wash-Away-Fungi spray packs a punch because it contains four fungus-fighting ingredients, and he is right.

I added the pure vegetable oil soapMurphy Soap because it helps the
homemade fruit tree spray
stick to the leaves
and this soap is pure vegetable oil soap (no synthetics).
(Click on the picture to see the label better)
Here in Ontario, it can be bought at Canadian Tire or Home Hardware.

Homemade Fruit Tree Spray: The Wash-Away-Fungi Recipe

In order to create this “Wash-Away-Fungi” recipe, you will need the following:

1-2 cups of compost tea

(Optional if you don’t have any compost which is completely finished)

(If you are spraying edible plants or fruit, do not use tea made from manure compost)

1 tablespoon liquid seaweed (found in plant nurseries)

 molasses1 tablespoon “fancy” molasses or
blackstrap molasses (the kind you
use for cooking or eating sold in grocery stores)

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

Murphy soap

1 tablespoon of Murphy soap

1 gallon water

Backpack or pump sprayer

Special Explanations About The Ingredients:

The compost tea, the seaweed, and the molasses not only fight fungal disease in the garden, but all three feed the plant through the leaves (called foliar feeding) especially if you are spraying really early in the morning when the leaf pores are still open.

You needn’t worry about the molasses attracting bugs. I was until I saw how the plants absorb the molasses instantly. Boom it’s gone! The fruit trees just love it!

molasses nutritional value
Click on the image
for a listing of the
molasses’s nutritional value:
calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus

The acidity of the vinegar helps kill black spot on roses, powdery mildew, brown patch, and other nasty fungi.

Mixing The Ingredients:

It’s easy to do. Just measure and pour the ingredients in the sprayer and mix well.

Hint: I found that if I premix the tablespoon of molasses in a 1/2 cup of very hot water and then pour the whole thing into the sprayer, the molasses mixes better with the rest of the ingredients. I found out the hard way that cold water and molasses don’t mix so well!

If you want your spray to have even more “umph”, add 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons of baking soda/ potassium bicarbonate or 1/4 cup garlic tea.

To make garlic tea, liquefy 3 bulbs of garlic in a blender and strain out the solids. Pour the garlic juice into a 1-gallon container and fill with water. Shake the garlic juice well before using.

When And How To Do Your Spraying:

1. When spraying this homemade fruit tree spray, do not blast away or you will damage the leaves. Rather, lightly mist the top and the underside of all the leaves and be sure not to drip vinegar on the soil or grass if that’s where you are putting your mixture together.

Vinegar is very acidic, so when putting your mixture together, find a spot  where if you spill anything it won’t matter or it can be easily cleaned up.   If you’re not steady when you measure your right amount of vinegar for the mixture, the vinegar can kill the grass it falls on or hurt any roots just under the top layer of soil.  So be careful.  (We used to kill dandelions by spraying pure vinegar on them in the middle of the day when the sun was very hot.  The grass around the dandelions would sort of get scorched even though we tried to avoid spraying the grass — a task not easy to do.)

2. Do your spraying VERY EARLY IN THE MORNING for two reasons:

a) If you spray when there’s little or no wind, you avoid back spraying yourself or spraying your neighbor’s plants. Yes, you must get up early in the morning to get your spraying done before the wind starts blowing.

(Certain people may argue that usually the wind dies down after 6 pm; however, your trees have just been through a hot day so need time to recuperate. Also the spray must dry before nightfall, and many times at night the humidity is high.)

b) By spraying early in the morning, you avoid damaging the leaves because you are allowing time for the spray to dry before the sun gets hot.

Once you have finished your spraying, CLEAN YOUR SPRAYER THOROUGHLY with hot water and soap.

If you have some kind of a spraying program using natural sprays such as this homemade fruit tree spray that both feed and protect your fruit trees, you should have a lot better luck at keeping your trees healthy and fungus free.

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52 Responses to “Homemade Fruit Tree Spray

  • 1
    May 2nd, 2010 16:29

    I’m going to try this recipe on my peach, apricot & avocado trees.

  • 2
    May 5th, 2010 17:39

    Sounds great to me. I love easy to make organic, healthy treatments for plants and people. I aim to try this one. I would like to know how much baking soda or potassium of soda to add to make the spray with “umph”. Please reply. What does the cider vinegar do to the earth? You say don’t let it touch the ground. Thanks.

    Hi Marta
    You could use 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons of soda or soda bicarbonate. When I would make this mixture, I would add just one somewhat heaping tablespoon of the soda. The other ingredients in this recipe help feed the tree and fight the insects. Soda specifically helps fight fungal diseases.

    Why prevent vinegar from dripping on the soil? Vinegar can be strong and may cause root damage if too much lands on the soil below the tree. In some cases, some roots don’t have that much soil covering them. So just be careful.


  • 3
    May 10th, 2010 18:10

    Ditto the last comment. I’m looking to use something natural on our Cherry and Apple trees. The premixed stuff recommended by local stores last year was less than effective. I’m new to this. What is and how do you get “compost tea”? I also would like to know how much baking soda should be added to add more “umph” to the spray. Any idea on a ball park figure as to how much of the mixture would be needed to treat two large Cherry trees (15 ft.) and two medium (10 ft.) Apple trees? Thanks! God bless.
    Hi Victor

    Compost tea is made by soaking “mature” compost in water for a few days. In other words, you take compost that has been in the making for at least a year, or that is thoroughly composted, put some in a piece of cloth that has been tied or a small bag made of material, and left in a container of water for a few days or until the water turns brown like weak tea. Then this coloured water is used to feed plants. The trick is that you must make sure your compost has gone through all cycles of composting so that it does not carry over any more fungi or disease remnants and transfer that to the water and then to your plants. I personally have not “made” compost tea because I simply used the compost directly in the ground.

    You could use 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons of soda or soda bicarbonate to create the “umph” to the spray. When I would make this mixture, I would add just one somewhat heaping tablespoon of the soda.

    As for how much of the spray you would need, I can only go by my experience. I used a 1 1/2 gallon pump sprayer and one of those would do about two trees about 10 feet tall. It really depends on how much you spray each tree.


  • 4
    May 13th, 2010 09:12

    Another question – You mention “(Optional if you don’t have any compost which is completely finished)”. What is optional? The liquid seaweed? Thanks again. God bless.

    Hi Victor,
    In this case, “optional” means you don’t really need the compost tea because liquid seaweed is part of this recipe, and liquid seaweed provides excellent nourishment for plants.

    I have used liquid seaweed especially when a plant was doing poorly, and it seemed to work miracles.
    That’s why giving a plant double the nourishment with compost tea may be an option for some who have the aged compost but not absolutely necessary if you use liquid seaweed.


  • 5
    May 18th, 2010 16:00

    I’m all for natural. We just planted 13 fruit trees and I will try your natural spray.

    Thanks for your recipe. Will the spray help with mites and insect free?
    Yes, the spray will help with getting rid of any insects.

  • 6
    May 20th, 2010 10:52

    So excited to try this! I live in Eastern Pennsylvania, and love my apple, peach, plum, cherry, and pear trees. However, I have no idea what it is exactly that ruins my fruit. We could salvage some of everything except the plums- they were ruined the moment they were ripe.
    My question is this: could I also use this spray on my organic herb and vegetable gardens? Again, not sure what it is that gets to them, but many of the leaves, fruit, and vegetables often appear to have been munched on already.
    Thanks for all your valuable information! Love your mother! :-)

    Hi Lorelei

    This natural fruit tree spray will definitely help your fruit trees. This spray will get rid of any insects or their “babies” which can be in the form of very small worms.

    As for your organic herb and gardening problem, it sounds to me like you are having problems with slugs or snails. If so, have a look at my post (17 Non Toxic Ways To Control Slugs) which explains how you can get rid of slugs/snails. There’s even a picture to show you what snails look like. They work after dark, so you will never see them in the daytime unless you get a lot of rain weather. The sooner you do get rid of these (if that is the problem) the better for your garden.

    I don’t think it would be wild rabbits because they eat everything and leave nothing but the stem.

    As for your question, I never did try this spray on my organic herbs and vegetable gardens. I don’t think it would hurt, but if you try it, do first on a small patch out of sight

    By the way if you have slugs, I am not sure the fruit tree spray would deter them. They will probably love it and come back for more. However, one never knows. I have not used this spray on herbs and vegetables, so I don’t know what would happen.

    If you get this answer on time, please let me know if you have solved the problem and what you found was eating your leaves.

    Good luck.

  • 7
    Peter & Helga Suhnhold
    October 25th, 2010 18:03

    Greetings from down under , we have tried the concoction on our fruit trees and also on the ornamentals with fantastic results . We have never had so much fruit on the trees and the roses and other plants just seem to love this mixture , it keeps the bugs away , helps against fungus and is environmentally sound . Thank you so much for this great advice !
    Peter & Helga

    Hi Peter & Helga
    I’m so glad you like this homemade fruit tree spray concoction. My trees just loved it too. Thank you for giving me some feedback.


  • 8
    February 9th, 2011 11:36

    Last year for the first time I had black spots on my asian pears. I have never needed to spray them in the past so I did not know what it was or what to do. I allowed it to runs it’s course and the black spots eventually enveloped the whole pear. What is it and will your spray help this?
    Thank you for your help.

    Hi Jamie
    I think you have bitter rot pear fungus. And yes it can be remedied, but there are a few steps to be taken before you even spray. It is important to begin treating your tree as early as possible. If you live in an area with harsh cold winters, you will need to wait for the weather to warm up before you can spray. However, as soon as possible, begin cleaning up the area around your tree and dispose in the garbage..NOT in your compost pile.

    You must 1. Clean the area 2. Add compost or some form of organic material to the soil around the tree to give your tree a chance to fight off disease. Like us, trees must deal with toxic air and water, so need help to fight off the toxins. 3. Spray the tree with horticultural oil early in the spring before it opens into leaf 4. Every two weeks until fall, feed/spray it with my Homemade Fruit Tree Spray. There’s a comment somewhere on this blog where a lady from Australia used this spray all summer last summer and had wonderful results with her fruit.

    If you look at the different heading on the side bar, you will see the title Dealing With Bitter Rot Pear Disease. Another lady had that problem, and I have written what I would do step by step if I had that problem.

    I would appreciate it if you would let me know how you made out with your pears.


  • 9
    March 22nd, 2011 10:02


    I just came in from looking at my apple trees. The one has lilttle black worms on them. They are very tiny. What can I use now to get rid of them.
    Thanks for your help.
    Did you spray at all in the early spring? I’m guessing you did not. Since you have very tiny apples, any strong spray will ruin them.
    Personally I would try the homemade fruit tree spray and treat the trees every week until the worms are nowhere to be found. Then I would spray every two weeks, and then maybe once a month until your apples have been picked. The ingredients in this spray are all natural cooking ingredients which are eco-safe and friendly for people and surroundings.

    This homemade spray should not cause any damage. I used it on cherry trees that had cherries on it, and I could almost see the tree straightening up with glee. OK, I’m exaggerating a bit, but I was amazed. I thought the molasses would make the fruit and tree sticky, but it didn’t. Molasses and garlic is a natural fungicide and, as I was told, if you change the smell of the tree a bit, the usual predatory flies who like the trees and lay their eggs on the fruit will fly on by for they will not be attracted by the “normal” smell.
    Anyway, good luck. And if you use the homemade spray, would you mind coming back and telling us your results please?

    If the worms are inside the apple, I’m not sure you will get rid of them. If they are outside the apple, the should disappear.

  • 10
    Shawn in PA
    April 14th, 2011 12:07

    Hi Marcie,
    Thanks for a great recipe – we just planted fruit trees and wanted to go organic in caring for them. I am wondering if this recipe would also work well on grape vines. I just put two vines in and am hoping they will do well , but in our area for some reason there is a fungus that most people have trouble with on their grapes. I’m hoping if I start with the spray before there is a problem we may just get a decent crop in a few years. Also, you mention “garlic tea” and I was wondering do you add that to the homemade fruit tree spray or use it as a separate spray. If you add it to your spray what quantities do you use.


    Hi Shawn

    Garlic tea is particularly good to fight fungus.
    You add 1/4 cup garlic tea to your spray.

    To make garlic tea, liquefy 3 bulbs of garlic in a blender and strain out the solids. Pour the garlic juice into a 1-gallon container and fill with water and let it stand for at least a few hours before using. I would always put my garlic liquid in the fridge to stand as I did not want it to go bad.

    Shake the garlic juice well before using. When pouring out the 1/4 cup for your spray, be sure you strain with a cheese cloth so that you do not clog your sprayer.
    Keep the unused portion in a fridge for it will get bad and be unusable in about 3 to 4 days in the heat.

    Here’s another point to consider. Many times people plant fruit trees or plants and forget that plants, like humans, need to be fed. That is, the soil in which the plant is growing must be kept alive by adding compost or manure. Just adding commercial fertilizers will not work for more than a few years. Why?
    Only good compost or natural materials contain all the microbes and macrobes and all the elements so needed for a plant to flourish.

    Just like the body of a human being who eats mostly processed food will break down and be attacked by “dis-ease” much more quickly than that of a person who eats a lot of raw fruits and vegetables which are still “live”, plants which are in soil which is not regenerated or does not have the correct pH will succumb to disease or insect attacks very quickly.

    So remember to supplement your soil ever year with compost or manure, forget synthetic fertilizers, and be sure to check the soil’s pH so that the plant is in soil they like so can absorb the nourishment needed to grow and flourish.

    Shawn, I’ve used this recipe on cherries but not on grapes. Would you mind letting us know at the end of the summer how you fared out with your grapes? I would appreciate it if you did.

    Happy gardening!

  • 11
    April 18th, 2011 14:52

    How often should I apply the fruit tree spray to my apple trees? Starting before the green bud stage.

    Whenever the temperature remains above zero at night and there are no heavy frosts, you can spray your trees before the leaves open. You can then spray once a month or every two weeks. This spray not only protects your trees against fungus and insects it also feeds the tree via the leaves (foliar feeding), so how often you spray will depend on you. I sprayed my trees every two weeks.

    Please NOte: If the soil in which your tree is planted is not being nourished every spring with natural material (compost or composted manure), the nutrients in the soil will gradually get used up and the tree without good soil will not stay healthy. When that happens, fungus and insects hone in on the tree. So it’s important to keep the soil replenished (healthy) if you want delicious and good apples. Spraying can only help so much.

  • 12
    April 26th, 2011 18:24

    Hi! Great info! I am new to fruit trees (have a large apple, 2 medium peach, and 1 pear tree) and the idea of spraying with chemicals was just daunting to me. Love the homemade organic spray.

    We missed the early spring bud spraying. The trees are now nearly in full bloom. When do I start the every 1-2 week spraying?

    Thanks so much!!!

    Hi Anne
    According to my gardening books, professional growers spray their trees every stage: dormant, green tip, 1/2 inch green, pink blooms beginning, full bloom, after the petals fall, and every 10 days thereafter until the harvest.

    This homemade spray is certainly not as harmful as that captan or zineb or malathion or methoxychlor used by commercial growers. So I would say you can spray whenever you want, and since you’ve missed the prebud spray, the sooner you spray the better for your trees. In addition to protecting them from insects and fungus, it might even give the tree a boost in nutrition through foliar feeding. Try to use a soft spray so as not to disturb the blooming.

    Every 10 days to 2 weeks should be often enough. You would spray every week if you had to deal with an infestation of insects or fungus.

    As mentioned in one of the previous comments, well nourished soil is just as important as preventative spraying. Be sure you add good compost or even old/composted manure to your soil especially along the water drip area.

    I would love to get your comments at the end of the growing season to let us know how well the spray worked.
    The more people use this type of spray the better our food and environment will be; so the more success stories they read about the more likely they will use the spray.
    Thank you

    2011/04/29 at 1:29 am

    Thanks for the quick response and I will definitely let you know how it turns out!

  • 13
    April 26th, 2011 20:29

    how long can you keep the spray mixture in the bottle before you have to throw it away?

    Believe me you will know when the spray mixture is no good.
    It gets that fermented smell which you will spot right away I am sure.

    The first time I made this concoction, I made too much and had some left over.
    In about 3-4 days, it started smelling bad. That’s when I vowed that from that moment onward I would mix just enough for what I needed, and if I had any left over, I would have so little I could just refrigerate it for a few days or get rid of it somewhere. I had a big yard with many plants and a garden, so getting rid of it was no problem.


  • 14
    May 16th, 2011 20:00

    What type/Brand of sprayer do you use. I have been using one of those long distance water jet type sprayers with a store bought pesticide to no avail. I can’t picture anything else being able to reach to the top of the tree, or don’t I need to?

    Hi Brooks
    I would use a back sprayer, one which can be carried on your back or held with one hand and you spray with the other. I would buy my sprayer at Canadian Tire or hardware store.

    To get my spraying done, I would use a sturdy 7-ft step ladder.
    I would first spray the underleafs by standing under the branches and pointing the nozzle of my sprayer upward to spray under the leaves.

    Then I would position my step ladder in different spots around the tree and spray from above the tree. Now my trees were either dwarf trees or I had cut down the tree to a manageable height. I have not used the jet type sprayers because I wanted a gentle spray which would not damage my tree leaves.

    This sprayer might hold up to 10 litres of liquid. It was a rather smaller one because I had to go up the step ladder with it, so I did not want something that was too heavy for me to handle.
    I could usually spray at least one whole tree with one filling of the sprayer…sometimes two trees depending on how tall they were.

    To answer the very last question…yes you need to spray every part of the tree, top and bottom of the leaves and even the trunk where larvae might be lurking.

    Hope this helps.

  • 15
    May 17th, 2011 14:58

    My one apple tree is over 30 years old and surrounded to the trunk with lawn. I get worms in the apples and want to control those. Are they coddling moths or what? Will this fruit tree spray control those?
    Also, will the vinegar in the mixture damage the lawn beneath the tree?
    How do I fertilized the tree naturally. Would turkey manure sprinkled into the lawn work well?
    Does the garlic cause an odor in the area of the tree. It is right off our patio.
    Thanks for your help.
    Hi Becky
    I’ve answered each question separately to make it easier to follow.
    My one apple tree is over 30 years old and surrounded to the trunk with lawn. I get worms in the apples and want to control those. Are they coddling moths or what?

    It’s either codling moth (if the worm feeds on the heart of the apple or around it) or it may be apple maggot (Tunneling throughout the apple is obvious). Please see the new post explaining the codling moth and another explaining the apple maggot found under the headings “Insect Control”.

    Will this fruit tree spray control those?

    It would if you followed the spraying program explained in the post Homemade Fruit Tree Spray. If already infected, I don’t think the spray will save currently infected apples, but a spray program every two weeks or so would keep other fruit from being infected.

    Also, will the vinegar in the mixture damage the lawn beneath the tree?

    If you were the mixing of the ingredients on your lawn and you accidentally spilled vinegar on your lawn as you were doing your mixing, then any grass touched by the vinegar would be affected.
    I don’t think the vinegar in the spray mixture would hurt as there is not very much in the spray. However, always take precautions and test a patch of grass which is out of sight.

    How do I fertilized the tree naturally. Would turkey manure sprinkled into the lawn work well?

    You should always use composted manure, be it turkey manure or other type of manure. So as long as the manure is well composted and not fresh, COMPOSTED turkey manure should work.

    Does the garlic cause an odor in the area of the tree. It is right off our patio.

    I could/did not detect any garlic odor after I sprayed, and I had five fruit trees which I would spray all on the same morning.

    Thanks for your help.
    You’re welcome.

  • 16
    May 22nd, 2011 07:51

    I look forward to trying your recipe.

    My peach trees suffer from leaf curl and it appears to get worse every year. Does this recipe help leaf curl and are there specific times of the year that I should spray my trees in order to prevent the onset of leaf curl.

    Thanks in advance for your help.
    Hi Ivan
    Your questions have been answered in the post called “Peach Leaf Curl” on this blog. Look under the heading “Fungal Diseases”
    or click http://pestcontroloptions.com/.....-leaf-curl

  • 17
    June 10th, 2011 21:56

    Hi Marcie. Greetings from Down Under!

    I’ve been waiting for ages for my madarine tree to bear fruit but now that it has, they’re inedible. They look perfectly fine, but are very difficult to peel, are very dry and taste horrible. Not at all what I was expecting. I’m guessing it’s too late to do anything about this crop, but what can I do tö improve the chances of yummy fruit for next time?
    Hi Sandra
    I have never worked with a mandarin tree; however, the following usually applies to any growing plant – tree or otherwise.

    1. Check the pH of your soil. Testing your soil can be done by buying a pH kit or you can get it done. Get more information on
    testing your soil at http://plantsandgardeningtips.com under the section “All About Soil”.

    2. Mandarin trees prefer soil with a pH between 6.0 and 8.0. A good range is around 7. If the pH is too high or too low, the roots of your mandarin cannot absorb all the nutrients needed to make good fruit.

    3. If you must amend the pH of your soil, purchase the required soil amendments. The pH should between 6 and 8. If the pH of your soil is below 6, then you will need to add agriculture lime. If the pH is above 8, you can add sulfur or peat moss.
    (Important: Follow directions carefully. Too much lime or sulfur is no better than not enough. Add a little at a time, mix well, leave for a day and check your pH. If you need to add more, do so but carefully. When I first started gardening, I added too much lime, and my vegetables grew very poorly until the pH became more neutral.) All information about testing and soil problem solutions can be found at plantsandgardeningtips.com.

    4. If your pH is OK, then you need to add compost or other natural nutrient such as manure to your soil and mix well. (Avoid fresh manure) Apparently adding mulch is not a good idea because it can cause root rot.

    Now many people add synthetic fertilizer. I’m not in favor of these because only natural nutrients such as composted manure or true compost can add all the nutrients a tree or plant needs to produce good fruit.

    5. If you add manure, use your pH probe to check the pH of the manure in the bag. Then you will know whether you’re making your soil more acidic or alkaline — if at all. Most times bagged manure is around 7 or a bit lower.

    6. Finally, be sure your plant is getting plenty of watering and use my tree spray which not only protects from bugs and fungi but also feeds your tree through the leaves. The trees love it.

    Good luck for next year.

  • 18
    Be Pest Free
    June 15th, 2011 15:43

    In answers to comments you say the mixture is no good and stinks in about 3 days. I have many friends and neighbors with apple trees and plum trees, and making this stuff sounds like a lot of work if you have to make a fresh batch every week. If there were a few things you could leave out and still have a great weekly spray, (so that I could develop a route in the area and sell this mixture), Would I be losing much in effectiveness if I left out the compost tea, for example? Fungus is the primary concern on the apple trees anyway, and the molasses feed might make the fruit much better in addition to fighting fungus. I can experiment some but if you had to guess, which ingredients are giving this such a short “shelf-life”, and how critical are those ingredients? (Also if a gallon were refrigerated do you have an estimated shelf-life for that? Could it be frozen without ruining it?)
    …and making this stuff sounds like a lot of work if you have to make a fresh batch every week.
    Yes, I agree with you that making this stuff every week is work. That is why I made sure I did use it in early spring, and after the flowering season and only every two weeks or even less if I had no problems. Of course that would mean monitoring the trees.

    Would I be losing much in effectiveness if I left out the compost tea, for example?
    I never used compost tea because the compost pile must really be well composted in order to make tea from it. Since this spray was going onto the fruit and I was going to eat that fruit, I did not want it contaminated by anything that might still be lingering in the compost and transferred to the fruit via the tea. Contrary to the rest of the ingredients which are safe, if you’re using the compost tea, be sure the compost is totally finished.

    ...but if you had to guess, which ingredients are giving this such a short “shelf-life”, and how critical are those ingredients?
    It seemed to be the garlic mixture which, if not refrigerated, would turn sour when left in the heat. I would make a large batch of garlic separately and keep it in the fridge. Both it and the apple cider vinegar was refrigerated until used and both are critical components to the mixture.

    Fungus is the primary concern on the apple trees anyway, and the molasses feed might make the fruit much better in addition to fighting fungus.
    Molasses not only fights fungus and keeps the insects away it also feeds the tree via the leaves. Molasses and garlic are the two top ingredients for fighting disease and insects.

    (Also if a gallon were refrigerated do you have an estimated shelf-life for that? Could it be frozen without ruining it?)
    I’ve never experimented with refrigerating the whole mixture or freezing it, so I cannot answer that question.
    However, if I were to create the mixture and then refrigerate it, I don’t know if the molasses would cause problems. Molasses is less porous when cold. You would have to test that.

    I would love to hear what you have come up with regarding commercializing this recipe.

    Would you mind emailing me at marsnyder@gmail.com to let me know what you have decided to do?

    Thank you.


  • 19
    Mike Frank
    July 2nd, 2011 08:31

    I have been trying your recipe for the first time this year, the leaves on my apple trees seem to be growing more than ever, but I am still having trouble with some apple magot , any ideas what I can do for them, I added baking soda for a extra punch but didn’t add any garlic to my spray?

    Mike Frank
    Hi Mike

    I think you should retry the spray with the garlic added to it. Garlic is the most potent ingredient of all and is good for many reasons. Soda helps you get rid of fungi.

    1. There is so little garlic in the spray that YOU will not have any leftover smell of garlic in the air. As you know, flying insects will go to trees which has a certain smell or feel. If the smell or feel is different, the insect will not bother with the fruit. the maggot fly is looking for the “APPLE” smell. The garlic might just help in that area in that it will temporarily change the smell enough for the fly to not want to deal with this “NEW” smell on the apples and just pass on by.

    2. You may want to experiment with using the spray with all given ingredients and spray especially the affected apples. Leave out the compost tea since you are spraying edible fruit. That little bit of garlic will not harm or tarnish the apple; however, there might be enough smell to choke/kill the maggot or make it want to drop out of the apple. Look for that little hole on the skin of the apple made by the maggot fly when it was laying its egg and spray especially that area of the apple.

    I know from experience that insects hate the garlic scent; as a matter of fact, I used to grow garlic among my roses to deter flying insects which might want to use my rose shrubs to lay their eggs. I couldn’t smell the garlic, but they could detect the difference so stayed away from my rose bushes.
    The same goes for any fruit; change the smell by spraying the tree and fruit, and the flying insects bypass the tree.

    Please note: This weekend (July 9-10, 2011), I will create two posts: one post dealing with apple maggot and another one about coddling moth. Just keep checking back at this blog pestcontroloptions.com as I will give you ideas/methods on how your can control and/or stop infestation of codling moth and/or apple maggot. Once a fruit is infected, it is difficult to get rid of the maggot already hiding inside the apple, but you can learn what to do to avoid more infestation.


  • 20
    July 16th, 2011 16:14

    Could you please tell me exactly what sprayer you use. I haven’t had any luck with the smaller ones that fit a hose. My apple tress are pretty big (about 20 feet) so even on a step ladder will need a long spray. Thanks very much for all this useful info…I didn’t manage to get dormant oil on in time and sprayer only sprayed a few feet. Looking forward to trying the natural spray and maybe save a few apples this year and many next. The trees are old and mature fruit usually rots before it falls possibly codling moth or apple maggot.

    Hi Patricia
    Please check my new post Garden Sprayer I Used where I have given you a step-by-step explanation in answer to your questions. I hope you will be able to save some of the fruit.

    By the way, you may also want to check the post Apple Maggot Controlled. You may get an idea as to which insect is affecting your apples.

    Good luck.

  • 21
    Linda Piel
    August 6th, 2011 12:21

    Having the worst time keeping strawberries alive. Got garden soil from Home Depot, put in small plastic kids swim pool (gopher problem), planted the full grown plants and the bugs from the garden soil overwhelmed them. I have one plant left, can I use this spray on it?


    Hi Linda

    I am very surprised that the soil from Home Depot is filled with bugs. Was this soil in a bag or was it loose soil on the ground?

    You’re asking if the fruit tree spray can be used on your plant that is left. I have not used this spray in the garden; however, before using the spray on the whole plant, try using it on a little bit of the plant. I personally think it would be OK to use it. I suppose if you don’t do something, you will not have any plant left. So why not try it.

    Something else which is good for crawling insects is diatomaceous earth which is made from silicon dioxide and some kind of attractant.I have bought it under the name Crawling Insect Killer, a chemical free powder. This amorphous earth is an odorless and non-staining powder which can be used without fear of damage to pets, fish, birds, or wildlife. Unless it is inhaled, it is harmless to humans and pets while to soft-bodied insects it is razor sharp and tears their exterior casing. I’ve used this product in my cupboards with great success.(When one lives in an apartment building, one can inherit unwanted critters carried in by other tenants)

    There are two drawbacks to using this powder:

    1. If it rains, the powder gets washed away, so you must add more to your soil (However, if the insect population diminishes, you can probably dispense with using it after a while).

    2. It also kills the good bugs along with the bad ones.

    By the way, do you have toads in your garden? Toads eat many of those crawling insects. I always found them most helpful in a garden.

    If all your plants are gone but you would like to replant, I would suggest using diatomaceous earth on the soil a few days or even a week before planting anything else.

    Please let me know what method you have decided to use and your success with the product.


  • 22
    August 15th, 2011 23:59

    very intrigued by the idea. I now have 3 apple trees and would love to have some fruit. Would I apply the spray up until I pick the apples? or stop long before? Thanks,

    Hi Paul

    The most important time to spray is early spring before the leaves come out.
    You want to kill any overwintering egg, larvae, bug that might still be somewhere in the bark of the trunk or branches.

    Then keep spraying at intervals: more often if you have a problem with either insect or fungus. Then as time goes on, you can stretch the in-between time to three weeks or even a month. Growers spray every ten days or so.

    This spray will do both: feed your plant through the leaves, and safe guard your apples against insects and/or fungus. So spraying won’t hurt and you can spray till you pick your apples. I would probably do my last spraying at least one week before harvesting; however,
    the spray is made with natural ingredients so cannot hurt humans.

    In one of the comments, one lady said she had used the recipe from the beginning to the end of the harvest, and she got the nicest, biggest, best crop ever. So if it worked for her, it will also work for you if you’re willing to do the work.

    I would love your feedback.


  • 23
    October 12th, 2011 10:26

    Thanks for your informative site.
    Do you have a Spray schedule?
    We have baby trees- planted in the spring- we never sprayed them all summer long- oh my!
    It is now October 12th. Is it too late to spray before “winter” comes? (Iowa).

    Do you have any articles on composting? We are urban but have chickens and tons of their waste! Not sure what to do with it all. If we could learn how to compost, I would assume this would be good for the trees and etc.
    Thanks so much for your time and great info-
    From a newbie to all of this! Jane

    Hi Jane

    Question: Is it too late to spray before “winter” comes?

    If you have had problems with insects, then you should probably spray them — but not with anything harsh.
    The best spray at this point would be the homemade fruit tree spray found on this blog under the heading Insects.

    If you have had no problems with insects, don’t bother spraying.
    The time to begin worrying about spraying is when the trees produce fruit. At that time you need to follow some type of schedule beginning early in the spring.

    I have just put up a posting on this blog under “Insects” called When to Spray Fruit Trees. I hope this article answers your spraying questions.

    If you go to SuperCompostingTips.com, you will see all kinds of information on how to compost. In addition, if you wish to download the “How To Compost In Your Backyard”, an ebook which covers 4 methods of composting, it’s available on each blog in the right hand column.

    Yes your chicken waste would make great composting. You can add it to the compost bin with the rest of the ingredients and allow it to change into compost.

    Chicken manure can also make good manure on its own. However, it must be composted (aged) for at least one year. For example, this summer’s manure would be left somewhere in a pile to age and be used in the soil next year.

    If you want to add fresh chicken manure at the beginning of the growing season, it must be added to your soil at least two to three months before you plant so that it can decompose and be usable.

    Again, fresh manure is a great innoculant to put in your compost bin to make it heat up and make compost faster. Check the articles dealing with hot composting which can be found on the http://supercompostingtips.com blog.

    Good luck.

  • 24
    peter turner
    November 21st, 2011 16:30

    I just came upon your site and find it very interesting. I am wondering if I can spray my apple trees in December to rid my trees of overwintering bugs. Thanks Peter
    Hi Peter
    You do not mention where you live. However, if you live in areas such as in Canada where we are now transitioning into harsh winter weather, no it is too late to spray your trees. The bugs cannot hurt the trees in subzero weather as they too are frozen.

    Trees are sprayed whenever the temperature is above the freezing point and remains above the freezing point even at night. That’s when the insect community comes to life so must be destroyed.
    Please read the article when to spray fruit trees which you will find under the heading Insect Control.
    The article explains in detail the best time to do your spraying and in it is a link to another article about the different types of natural spray you can use. Of course I’m biased as I prefer the homemade spray detailed in the article “Homemade Fruit Tree Spray”.

    If you are not getting any rough winter as we are having in Canada, and you are having mild weather, you can spray any time – especially if you are using the homemade spray. Read the articles mentioned above for more information.


  • 25
    February 20th, 2012 17:57

    I’m wondering if I can use this spray on strawberried, raspberries,and saskatoons.
    Hi Angela
    I have not tried this spray on strawberries, raspberries and saskatoons,
    but I have used it regularly on pear trees, cherry trees, and peach trees.
    The products used in this spray are all products which are environmentally safe as they are ingredients from your cupboard.

    When I first tried it on my peach tree, it was late summer and the tree had lots of peaches on it. However, the leaves were turning black and falling off the tree. I did not want to use the synthetic, poisonous spray because of the fruit, so I tried this spray as a last resort. Boy, was I in for a major surprise! The tree seemed to love the stuff.
    There was no trace of molasses on the tree, no damage to the fruit, and the tree just seemed to gobble up the stuff. When I saw the result, I sprayed it again about a week later and then about 10 days later. The leaves stopped turning black but rather new leaves grew on the tree.

    Mind you I did check the soil around the base of my fruit tree to see if my pH was the proper pH and I added some compost as it was obvious the tree was not getting all the nourishment it needed, but I never used poisonous spray on my trees again.

    However, when I saw how well the tree was reacting to this spray, I used this spray on all my fruit trees and only that spray to do all my spraying from early spring to fall because it is environmentally friendly, and some of the ingredients fight both fungus and destructive insects without hurting the bees, and some of the ingredients feed the tree through the foliage. It’s a win-win situation

    Poisonous spray is bad for the environment, bad for your health and your family’s health because some of that spray seeps down in the water table through your soil, and much of it stays in the soil and kills the good bacteria and the worms which are needed to keep the soil healthy thus destroying the soil’s nutrients. Not a good setup if you want lush nutrient-filled berries.

    Suggestion: Try using this environmentally friendly spray on a small section of the strawberries, raspberries, and/or saskatoons first. Be sure to spray early in the morning when there is no wind so that the spray goes where you want it to go, and before it gets really hot so that the spray will have time to dry before the heat of the day sets in.
    I’m pretty sure you will be happy with the results!

    I would love to hear more about your results.

  • 26
    carmel callus
    March 22nd, 2012 06:59

    Very interesting, informative website. For the Homemade Fruit Tree Spray, can I use garlic powder instead of fresh garlic? Thanks.

    Hi Carmel
    It makes me happy when someone finds the info provided to be of help to them. Thank you.

    According to the HDRA (the garden organic organization in the United Kingdom), “ordinary garlic has anti-feedant, bacterial, fungicidal, insecticidal, nematicidal and repellent properties and is excellent to create garden sprays.”

    Now according to the cancer institute, http://www.cancer.gov/cancerto.....tion/print, “garlic powder is thought to retain the same ingredients as raw garlic.” If that is the case, then I suppose you could use garlic powder.

    You will need to remember that 1/8 tsp of garlic powder = 1/2 tsp of minced garlic (about 1 clove of garlic). I understand that the smell from a garlic will retain the smell a lot longer than garlic powder. In other words, the smell of a garlic clove will stay on a plant for about 1 month. I cannot vouch for the garlic powder. Since the garlic smell repels insects and that’s what you want … repel insects…you may want to use the garlic clove.

    However, I have not experimented with the garlic powder as I love the smell of garlic. If you do experiment, would you mind telling us how well the spray with garlic powder repels insects. Perhaps others would like to use the garlic powder in lieu of garlic clove.


  • 27
    March 22nd, 2012 15:42

    Hello from Northwest PA.

    Do you have any advise on how to use your homemade spray in a dial up dispenser that will be connected to the garden hose. I’t so nice to have constant pressure and unlimited spray when doing an orchard. I assume it can be done. would you have any input as far as the measurements and strength. the dormant oil spray is about 5%. I’m so pleased that there are people out there that care about organics and have the ability to learn from each other. Thank You. DFT
    Hi Deborah
    I agree with you that it is nice to have an even, constant, unlimited spray when doing an orchard; however, this being a homemade spray and never put together for commercial selling, those using it have not identified a ratio for using with a hose. You would have to experiment somewhat.

    I myself have never used the garden hose to spray; therefore, I’m sorry I cannot answer your question. To me using the garden hose would add extra water to the recipe thereby diluting it. That I did not want to do. Besides, I had only 5 or 6 fruit trees and a lovely 7-foot step ladder, so I used the hand held spray pump and made sure the spray landed where it was supposed to land.

    By the way, if you use the spray as suggested, you will end up with beautiful fruit since the spray gets rid of insects and/or fungi AND at the same time certain ingredients in it feed the tree through its leaves; it smells a lot better than the dormant oil spray, and it can be used all summer long because it is eco-friendly. Please let us know if you find a way to use a garden hose without diluting the formula too much. Thank you for asking.

  • 28
    March 30th, 2012 13:26

    Question:I have chickens and let them graze where they like including around my trees. Is it safe for the chickens to be around the trees after I have used your fruit tree spray mixture?
    Whenever the spray has dried up and nothing can drip on the chickens, it is perfectly safe for chickens or children to be around the trees after spraying with the fruit tree spray mixture.

    Question: Also, we have tried planting cherry trees here in Montana and we always seem to get bacterial canker on them we always sprayed the dormant oil,copper and whatever else we could find and it still died. We haven’t planted one since. Would your tree spray helped that?This is before we had chickens so I didn’t worry so much about what I used. Also, we had an apple tree come down with fire blight and we tried everything to save it,sprays,cutting each area with bleach on the pruning shears,still it came down with it even when we cut it to the ground it started coming back up and still had it. Would your spray helped that as well?

    Usually the problem is with the soil. 1. It could be incorrect pH, (either too acidic or alkaline). When that happens, the roots cannot absorb the necessary nutrients to feed the tree. 2. The soil might be deficient in other minerals or micronutrients. The only way to find if something is missing in your soil is to get a sample of your soil tested by your local government agricultural office. 3. The soil might be in need of having 4 to 5 inches good compost mixed with the soil to help it fight the disease.

    The homemade fruit tree spray has many ingredients which fight fungus. Even without the compost tea you can really pack a punch by adding garlic and/or baking soda to the mix. (See the recipe) You would have to try the spray to see if it will help you fight the blight and/or the canker, but you would have to have a in place a spraying program where you would spray every 10 -14 days from spring to fall. However, if your soil is deficient in nutrients, the tree spray might help some, but the good it will do will not last. Think of your body. If it does not have all the nourishment it needs to stay healthy, it will become “dis-eased”.

    If you go to the website http://plantsandgardeningtips.com and check the articles under “All About Soil” you will find all the information needed to check your pH, get your samples tested etc.

    Question: Would steer manure in bags from a nursery be ok for compost tea? We can get a bag of manure from lowes home improvement for only $.98 cents. If not will the liquid seaweed be good enough? Thanks So Much!!!

    Answer: Liquid seaweed is excellent. I have used it many times, even just liquid seaweed by itself, with very good success.

    I am not familiar with the manure Lowes sells. I do know that one time I bought some cheap manure, and it was not worth much. I’m used to manure that brings results, and this cheap manure did absolutely nothing for my plants. So read the label; see what is in the bag.

    I trust the stuff sold by Canadian Tire or Home Hardware or Home Depot. These three stores usually carry organically based compost and purer manure hopefully from cattle or sheep which has been fed with organically grown food as opposed to chemically fed food. It is getting more and more difficult to find “pure” organic material, so you may have to do a lot of looking around and pay a little more for your manure.

    Bad manure is just as disastrous for your soil as chemical nutrients or water based nutrient … both of which do not give the soil everything it needs. Never use any manure unless it is well aged. As for the steer manure, I have not used it. If the steer have been fed with organically grown grass/hay/ whatever they eat and the manure is aged manure, then it should be fine manure for mixing with your soil.

    I firmly believe that lots of good manure and good compost mixed with your soil will solve a lot of problems. Again, if the soil is not filled with proper nutrients, if your soil is not sustainable, the plants cannot be filled with the nutrition needed to make them healthy, so you will have all kinds of fungi and/or insect infestation problems.

    Now for the compost tea. Personally I have rarely used it because compost tea should be produced under certain conditions only:
    1. Compost tea made from manure should not be used on edible plants. Animal manure may contain E. coli bacteria which could be transferred to your fruits, vegetables and herbs if you spray them with the tea.
    2. The compost made from vegetable matter used in the compost tea must have cooked and be finished compost.

    So I prefer to play it safe and just stick to the other fungi fighting ingredients such as liquid seaweed, molasses, cider vinegar , baking soda, or garlic. Since you can use all of these in the homemade fruit tree spray, you can get a spray that can fight fungus and bacteria, and at the same time feed your tree through the leaves.

    Good luck with your trees,

  • 29
    April 19th, 2012 07:56

    Thanks for the helpful suggestions on keeping my fruit trees sprayed, larger and healthier fruit and how to keep the ground full of nutrients. I will be trying your fruit tree natural spray and already the bugs are eating holes in the fruit. It’s early in the am so now I will get to work, and may God Bless You for sharing your knowledge and work ethic with us. CHA

    Thank you for getting back to me and letting me know you got the information. I wish you success with the spray and your fruit…and please keep me informed. God bless your crop and your family.

  • 30
    April 27th, 2012 00:56

    Will this work on Citrus trees?
    Hi Robert
    I think the citrus trees would have no problem handling this spray providing you spray early in the morning when there is no wind and the spray on the tree has time to dry or become absorbed by the leaves before the heat of the day.

    The goal of the spray is to change the smell so that insects get repelled by the garlic smell and are not tempted to lay their eggs on the fruit. At the same time certain ingredients will help fight fungi, and this spray does feed the tree through the leaves.

    However, just to be on the safe side (since I have not had citrus trees to try it on),
    I would begin by spraying only one of the the trees or a small area of one tree early in the morning to see how the tree will react. If your trees react like my apple, pear, and plum trees, the spray will become absorbed very quickly and it almost seems like the leaves perk up; the leaves love the molasses in the spray.

    Would you mind letting me know your results so that I can pass it on to other customers please.
    Thank you

  • 31
    May 21st, 2012 09:45

    hi, Could you please suggest an alternative to Murphy soap since its not available in the UK . thanks.
    Hi Wendy,

    Sometimes the spray does not stick on the leaves or bark long enough for it to do what it is supposed to do; therefore, an ingredient such as the Murphy soap is used for this purpose of helping the spray stick to the tree part.

    In this case, Murphy soap was chosen because it does no damage to the bark or leaves of the tree since it contains no phosphates and is a gentle.

    In the past people did use the common dish soap for this purpose; however, today’s
    dish soap is harsh and cannot be trusted to be entirely safe especially since antibacterial agents have been added. So I do not use dish soap.

    Here are your options:
    1. You can try leaving this ingredient out and see how well the spray adheres to the leaves and trunk

    2. You can try VIRGIN Olive Oil. This oil is used in salads so is safe for humans. I understand that it can be used on one’s face and arms to rejuvenate the skin. It is gentle and is well known as a super food. So a tablespoon of this VIRGIN Olive Oil in one gallon of water is safe for plants and should do the job of helping the spray adhere to the leaves and trunk. As a matter of fact it might even be a boost to the tree. So try that.

    3. A third option is to use horticulture oil as a last resort.

    Wendy, I and the other readers would appreciate it if you would let me know which oil you have used and how this worked out for you.

    Just send your comment to marcie@pestcontroloptions.com or use the comment section and I will transfer your answer under this one, OK?



    2012/05/25 at 9:39 am

    Hi, Thanks for your answer .

    I will try the olive oil option. I will let you know how it goes.


  • 32
    June 3rd, 2012 20:53

    Hi thanks for this informative website.
    I have one plum/prune tree and one cherry tree. Last year all prunes fell to the ground prematurely so did my neighbour’s.

    This year I sprayed dormant oil in early spring and the trees got very beautiful flowers and then LOTS of fruits.

    But now prunes are falling again, if I peel one open I can see little worms inside. I googled and I think it is plum curculio.

    I called some local garden center and there is no clear recommendation since most pesticides are banned in Ontario.

    I have some questions on the recipe:
    - for liquid seaweed, can I use “Gaspesian Liquid Seaweed Extract” from Rona? (http://ronaeco.ca/en/rona-eco/8/32/2009781/)
    - for blackstrap molasses, not sure what it is but I checked and people said it is available in grocery stores like loblaws
    - for Murphy Soap, can I use this one from Canadian Tier “Murphy Oil Original Furniture Soap” (http://www.canadiantire.ca/AST.....?locale=en)

    Thanks again and I hope I can save some of my prune this year. I picked up 3 buckets already (dropped to ground) so that is more than 300 I guess. I still have a lot but they keep dropping every day now.

    Hi Hunter
    I have added pictures and extra information to my article which will answer your question re molasses and Murphy Soap.
    As for the “Gaspesian Liquid Seaweed Extract” it should be fine. However, I cannot really say use it or don’t use it because I have never used it.
    I guess you will have to reread the ingredients found in the product and make sure there are no synthetic additions and take it from there.

    You might want to read the post “When To Spray Fruit Trees” which is found on the same blog so that you can have a better idea what spraying schedule fruit growers go by. You may be too late for this year to save your fruit; however, spraying now would help minimize insects to a certain degree and give you a better chance at being successful next year when you begin your spraying schedule early in the spring.


  • 33
    June 13th, 2012 10:14

    I found this website and am getting ready to use the fruit tree spray for the first time.
    Do you know if this is safe for bees?….and could a person use it as a general spray around the yard for feeding of plants?
    Hi Thelma
    I have not had any problems with bees which come around only when the flower of the tree is open. I simply sprayed before and after the flowers had bloomed.
    You see, the spraying should begin early in the spring and then every 14 days or so, less often is you have no bug or fungi problem. By starting early in the spring you can work your way around spraying the bloom.

    Spraying everything with this spray can be tricky. I would not spray everything around for feeding of plants because not all plants have the same makeup and some plants may not respond positively to some of the ingredients in this spray which was put together for fruit trees whose leaves are different from ground plants.

    So to answer your question — if you do try it on other types of plants around the yard, be careful and FIRST do a trial spraying on only a small out-of-sight part of the plant so you can see the results. Only then will you know if it is OK to spray the given plant(s).

  • 34
    June 29th, 2012 07:50

    Hi I am from the Uk London
    I am new to green finger world, I planted 4 fruit orchards Trees (Apples, Victoria Plums, Pears and cherry) two years ago and they haven’t given me any fruits yet and I was kind of hopeful your spray mixture will help.

    Trying to get the stuff for the mixture, I was wondering if you have alternative for Blackstrap Molasses. As I can’t find this in my local supermarkets? So I had to order via eBay for £5.00 (meridian organic blackstrap Molasses 350g) is that the right one?

    Also the soap just to confirm I know you gave an alternative but the full name of the soap is Murphy Oil soap? Which can be used on wood furniture, flooring etc.? As I found something similar on Amazon called “151 oil soap, floors, furniture, wood, hard surfaces” for £3.50. I just hope it is the one. Other wish I will try olive oil as suggested to Wendy

    Many Thanks in advance

    Hi Sucha
    I have added some pictures to the article “Homemade Fruit Tree Spray.” If you click on these pictures to enlarge them, you will have a better idea what Murphy soap looks like. I like Murphy soap because it is pure vegetable oil soap so I know it won’t hurt the plants. Is the soap found on Amazon also made with vegetable oil or something natural?

    It’s hard to believe that there is no molasses sold in the UK. The blackstrap version is the raw version, but one can use the more refined version which is usually found in the grocery stores and used for either cooking or using it on a slice of bread. Hope you find it.

    As for your trees, it usually takes at least two years ( sometimes up to five years) before you get any crops from fruit trees. This year may be your first year for fruit.
    Be sure you’ve planted the trees in good organic soil, the more compost in your soil the better for your trees. Like any other plant, in addition to water and sun, fruit trees need soil which is filled with nutrients in order to produce.

    You may want to check the different articles on soil found at http://plantsandgardeningtips.com. Also you may find the post “When To Spray Fruit Trees” most helpful as it outlines when fruit trees should be sprayed.

    Hopefully this information is helpful and that you find everything you need.
    Happy gardening!

  • 35
    July 2nd, 2012 22:05

    We planted our first orchard last fall, including a cherry tree. I’ve been told, even by organic master gardeners, that around here, you either use pesticides or have worms in your cherries. Will this prevent the worms in the cherries? Thanks so much! I’m excited to try it!

    Also, one suggestion, if you add an image to each post, people who want to save this reference can use that image to pin it to pinterest. There it can spread like wildfire. I keep info like this on pinterest so I can find it when I need it.

    Hi April
    Fruit growers are successful if they begin their spraying schedule as soon as they can in the spring and follow through with a spraying schedule. You can get more information re proper spraying schedule by reading the post “When To Spray Fruit Trees” found in the listing on your right.

    The trick is to stop the flies from laying their eggs on the fruit by either killing the insect or having a spray which somewhat changes the smell of the fruit tree and/or kills the insect.

    I know from experience that with the proper spraying schedule you can save your cherries with this homemade fruit tree spray. I used nothing but this spray during the last 5 years I had my home, and I was successful in saving my pears, peaches, and cherries. Of course I probably have different weather conditions here in southern Ontario than you do, and that might also play a role in saving your crop. However, no harm in trying.

    By the way, April, I appreciate your suggestion re putting in pictures for Pinterest. I will definitely keep that suggestion in mind and begin adding at least one picture at the beginning of my articles. I know my gardening, but I have a lot to learn when it comes to technology and using the social sites, so I appreciate any suggestion anyone can give me. Thank you for the “heads up” re Pinterest.

    Will you let me know how this spray worked out for you?


  • 36
    July 3rd, 2012 12:46

    Hi There,

    Thank you so much for sharing this recipe. I have an apple and plum tree which I’ve been experiencing pest problems with this year and I’m hoping your concoction will work. I did have one question, do you think the Murphy soap could be replaced with Castille soap?

    Hi Valerie
    I am not familiar with castille soap. You must be sure that whatever you are using is gentle for plants. That is why one cannot use dish soap (especially those with antibacterial ingredients) because it is harsh on plants.

    You can eliminate the soap, or you might try olive oil which is used for cooking. I myself have not used the olive oil because I believe in the Murphy soap which is a pure vegetable oil soap and it is readily available here in Ontario.

    Hope this helps.

  • 37
    July 4th, 2012 10:08

    My question is , Is the recipe for 1 gallon of spray ?

    Thanks Kerry

    Yes, Kerry.

    You will need one gallon of water and by the time you’ve added the other material you will have a bit more than 1 gallon of spray.

    Hope you give us some feedback re your experience.

  • 38
    July 27th, 2012 10:02


    Just to let you know that the olive oil suggestion works fine w/o Murphys or other soap.

    I suspect that any pure vegetable oil will do the trick.

    I have tried without olive oil plus 1tblsp of original fairy washing up liquid (dishes) / gallon and there is no apparent (visible) harm / damage , BUT in the main I’m not adding the fairy soap but using olive oil.

    To Sucha .. I just used the dark molasses /syrup found in any supermarket. I also added the garlic tea and bicarb plus olive oil, cider vinegar. Not found a source for seaweed this year so thinking of using “Phostrogen 40 Can” or “Miracle-Gro All Purpose Soluble Plant Food” as an additional supplement next year.

    Ive used the garlic tea on its own as a deterrent to slugs and snails on cabbage/broccoli etc. It appears to give some protection.

    Alternative recipe for garlic is 1 bulb simmered in 1 litre of water for 5 minutes, strained and then 1 tblsp of the garlic liquid per 1 litre water in a spray . The undiluted Garlic liquid can be kept in the fridge.


    Hi Wendy
    You have certainly done a lot of experimenting. So nice to get your feedback! I’m sure the readers will love to read about your results.
    Just one “heads up”. Soluble plant food is synthetic food, has only a limited amount of micronutrients/macronutrients which are extremely important to produce nutrient-filled fruit. In addition, some of these synthetic liquids are too salty for the worms in your soil under the trees. As a result, you may not have as many (or even no ) worms in your soil so you would be losing out on the value of the vermicompost which is excellent for soil sustainability.

    In addition, if this is done year after year and you neglect your soil, your food will gradually lose its juiciness and delicious taste and will not be as nutrient filled. If the soil becomes too deficient in nutrition, your crop will not be as healthy and will thus attract bugs and disease.

    If you cannot find liquid seaweed, I would suggest that you not worry about it. Even without the seafood liquid, the other ingredients will do the job of protecting and will provide some nourishment through the leaves. Focus instead on your soil.

    Instead of the Miracle Gro, use compost or bagged manure (or both) in your soil and your soil will be good year after year. (Be sure to read the labels on the compost bag before you buy because some companies are adding a somewhat carcinogenic ingredient to the compost and saying that this ingredient will help retain moisture. If you see a name which is new to you, do a search on Google and read up on it before you buy.)

    Again, thank you for your feedback. Good luck with your crops.


  • 39
    March 3rd, 2013 23:27

    It looks like you added a few images to your post, but they are so small that I still can’t pin them. They need to be higher resolution.

    I used the spray last summer 3 or 4 times. My trees are still young and not producing, so I can’t say what the results were, but I intend to start at the very beginning of the season this year (I didn’t find your recipe until July last year). My baby is due at the end of May, so I’ll get some spraying in before that. Certainly during the most important times. We’ll see if I can convince my husband to do some spraying for me for the next few months after that. I love that I don’t have to worry about being around this, especially when pregnant. And since my trees are all small (they’ve been in the ground 18 months), no ladders needed. I am in zone 6b, an arid high elevation climate (about 4500 ft). My trees are getting their first pruning this month too, so that will certainly help in the health department. So I don’t really have anything to report other than this year I will get at it from the very beginning of the season. It will take a few years to find out if it really does solve the worms in the cherries problem that everyone around here has. All my fingers and toes are crossed!

    Have you seen the documentary Back to Eden? You can watch it for free online at their website. Anyway, I followed his advice and heavily mulched my orchard (and gardens) with woodchips. I’d guess it’s 8-12 inches deep in the orchard. I also put down newspaper under the woodchips to smother the weeds. This insulates the soil and helps it retain moisture as well as creating a constant decomposition of wood chips/creating new compost. In a couple of years I’ll have to put on more wood chips. That intial work was so hard, but worth it. I shoveled many many cubic yards of woodchips. I think we got about 50 cy total. Took all summer. My yard was farm land just 4 years ago, and the soil is very good. Much of what is in the surrounding areas is clay or very rocky, but ours is dark, healthy and easy to dig. Until 18 months ago when we moved in and started landscaping, it was still growing wild whatever they farmed here before, so it was protected from the elements. I’m trying to keep it that way. So hopefully we are creating an environment that will continue to renew itself.

    Hi April
    That advice re using woodchips for mulching is great advice. The chips and the newspaper attract worms which in turn provide vermi-compost. Rather than dig up the soil, you simply cover it with layers of mulching or other compostable material. Other names for this type of soil preparation might be sheet composting, lasagna composting, or sheet mulching, a method of composting I explain in detail at my SuperCompostingtips.com website. If interested, you can find the details under the heading “sheet composting” at the bottom of the list at the supercompostingtips website.

    I hope everything went well with the baby. Is it a boy or a girl?

    April, thank you for the update. I hope you will let me know whether spraying your cherry trees solved your “worm” problem.

    Happy gardening

  • 40
    Chris Neher
    April 16th, 2013 02:31

    Thanks for all the great info. Sprayed this morning and contrary to weather report it rained this afternoon. How soon can I spray agaon without doing damage?
    Hi Chris
    Perhaps the spray had time to do its job before it rained.
    However, the homemade fruit tree spray can be used weekly, so you could probably spray again in a week.
    When I had a lot of bug problems, I did a weekly spraying for about 4 weeks then eased off into every second week.
    The trees loved it.
    Thanks for trying out the spray and helping to keep the environment healthy.


  • 41
    April 17th, 2013 11:45

    I wanted to follow this recipe exactly as is, but the store that carries the liquid seaweed has only a jug of Liquid fish and seaweed…..is this ok to use? Also, does the forecast have to be 100% precipitation free for a certain number of days prior to spraying? I am very excited to try this on my fruit trees! Thanks!
    Hi Janice
    First of all rain or no rain before the spraying is irrelevant. What’s important is that you must be careful that no rain falls on the tree AFTER it has been sprayed because if it rains before the tree absorbs the spray, everything will be washed off the tree, and your spraying efforts will be wasted.

    As far as the liquid fish and seaweed is concerned, I think it would be OK to used it since the recipe does not call for much of the seaweed. Just don’t put more in the recipe that what the recipe calls for in case the liquid fish and seaweed is concentrated.

    Good luck with your spraying.

  • 42
    May 5th, 2013 20:21

    I tried your homemade spray on my plum and cherry trees without garlic tea and it seems the next day there were holes in the leaves. Looks like something is eating away at the leaves. Next time I will include the garlic tea. Should I spray every week to get rid of these insects?

    Hi Charles
    Why would there be holes in the leaves after you sprayed? Did you spray in the early morning before the
    heat of the day? You can use this spray weekly if you wish as long as you do not spray when the weather is hot and humid or live in the Southern States. (I’ve explained why those living in the Southern States must not use this homemade spray in my original homemade tree spray article.) However, I would try to find out what is making the holes in the leaves.

    Your ending up with “holes in the leaves after you sprayed” is most intriguing, and I would be interested in finding out whether you solved your problem, so would you mind giving me an update, please?


  • 43
    May 17th, 2013 18:48

    I’ve used this recipe twice now and so far I’m seeing good results. I did cut my apple and pear trees way back in the spring and we had a a very late freeze so my fruit is minimal; peaches doing the best. Something in the mix is curdling and leaving very small white pieces. The pieces seem to go through my sprayer ok but occasionally clog up the small filter screen. Is anyone else seeing the same thing?

    Hi Ernie
    Are you using up all the spray each time you make a batch or are you storing leftover spray for the next time?
    If you are storing leftover spray for a week before you use it again, probably some of the ingredients are fermenting. This spray must be used up immediately after it has been put together.

    I personally never had that problem because I never stored the prepared spray. The only ingredient I ever stored was the cutup garlic in the bottle of water, and I kept that bottle of water in the fridge.

    Perhaps someone else has seen the same thing as you and may want to comment.

  • 44
    May 26th, 2013 11:33

    I have sprayed my peach tree four times since late March with this spray and just noticed a huge scale population on my tree. I have been wiping them off with gloves but will need to spray the leafy parts where the young peaches are. What should I spray them with?
    Hi Bruce

    I am surprised that you are having a huge scale population. Since I don’t know what ingredients were used when you made your spray, I am wondering if you added those which are antifungal. Also you do not mention where you live, so if you live in the Southern States, you will have noticed my warning in the article explaining how to make this homeamade fruit tree spray — that the molasses and the vinegar will encourage fungus growth. Why? I have to presume that there is a lot of humidity and high heat which helps promote this growth. In addition there is a beetle in the Southern States which thrives on this fungus thus eventually killing the peach trees.

    So if you live in the southern states, you would need to use an alternate natural spray such as the dormant spray or horticultural oil as explained in the article “Fruit Tree spray: Natural or organic or Homemade ” found at http://organicvegetablegardeningguide.com/blog/. Just look for the name “Natural or Organic Fruit tree spray”
    under the heading “Fruit Trees”

    I would appreciate an update telling us whether you have solved your problem.

    Good luck!

  • 45
    November 21st, 2015 12:03

    Hi Marcie, I live in Colorado. I have a cherry tree which gets one white worm in each cherry. Can I use this recipe and start spraying NOW in November til June? If so, how often? We get many clear 40-50 degree days here in winter. Thank you.

    Hi Rohini

    I suggest you begin spraying only when the weather stays above the freezing point.
    If your weather never drops below the freezing point, you could probably spray any time.
    The problem with freezing temperatures is that the spray may not dry very well and cause
    the bark of the tree to split open which in turn would cause the tree to probably get weak and die.

    The secret is to smother the insects hibernating either in the crevices of the trunk or branches and kill the eggs before they hatch.


  • 46
    April 5th, 2016 08:15

    Blessings! We live in Georgia and are trying this spray this morning on our Plum and Apple trees. Is there a problem with this spray in the south with fruit trees other than peach trees? Thank you for all the helpful information! Mary.

    Hi Mary

    I have not received any information about any problem with any tree but the peach trees.


  • 47
    June 6th, 2016 16:26

    Hi, I found liquid fish and seaweed fertilizer at my local nursery. Is this the same or compatible to just seaweed for this recipe? Thanks for your time!

    Hi Craig

    Not quite! Seaweed, especially in liquid form, is much more nourishing than liquid fish. I would stay away from the fish as all fish are not necessarily healthy fish.

    Seaweed fertilizer sounds like a good alternative; however, read the list of ingredients to make sure no chemical has been added to the mixture.

  • 48
    Ann L.
    June 17th, 2016 11:23

    Should I use boiling water on the ingredients to make a “tea”?
    Thank you.

    Hi Ann

    No boiling water is required. When you wish to add the molasses, it’s best to go with water which is a little hotter than lukewarm because molasses is so thick and does not dissolve easily in cold water. In other words, use a separate small container such as a measuring cup, add the tepid water, (enough to easily dissolve your molasses), add your molasses and mix well. Then add this mixture to the main mixture.

    You can add lukewarm water instead of really cold water to fill the container after all ingredients have been added. Plants somehow seem to respond better to lukewarm water than to cold tap water.

    Would love to hear about your results.

    Happy gardening

  • 49
    April 23rd, 2017 16:52

    Hi there, I have a cherry tree that is hurting with what I believe to be fungus. The cherries get brown and rot on the tree. Can you please advise if I am right or it may be something else? I am planning on using this homemade formula, will it work? Also, I have dogs that run around the back yard. Will this formula harm them if I inadvertently spray some mist onto their living space? Unfortunately the cheery tree is right beside their living space…Once I got the dogs I stopped using any hardware store mixers since they were too toxic.

    Kind Regards
    Tom (Canada)

    Hi Tom
    Maybe you are dealing with fungus; however, you might be dealing with poor soil, i.e your soil may be lacking nutrients. As you know, no matter what one is growing, the soil must be replenished with compost or manure at least once a year. What are you using to replenish your soil? If you are using soil bought at the store, you must read the ingredients mixed in with the soil. If you see big words, I would strongly suggest you look it up on the computer because sometimes the retailer mixes in ingredients which are fillers and will eventually harm your plant.

    If you do want to fertilize, composted cow, sheep, and hen manure with nothing mixed in should help with replenishing the nutrients in your soil. and maybe solve your problem. The ingredients such as molasses in the spray might help for a while, but if your soil is deficient, the problem will crop back. I personally like to add composted material to my soil because it has a broader range of nutrients. Again, if you buy it at a store, read the label carefully., If you have nurseries that sell compost or three-in-one soil which you must bag yourself, that is the best because you can see and feel the soil and judge it yourself.

    You may also be dealing with a pH problem. You can get more information on different soil problems and solution, especially on how to recognize good soil at plantsandgardeningtips.com. No amount of spraying will help if your soil needs replenishing.
    If that was my tree, I would do both: mix in compost or manure and spray it with the home-made spray starting in the early spring even before the tree flowers.

    As far as the dogs go, is it possible to move the dogs out of the way while you are doing the spraying?
    My only concern is if the spray lands on them, it might make them itchy. Since the home-made spray is made with stuff one can eat, it is not toxic, therefore once the spray has dried, the dogs should be fine.

    Good luck with your tree!


  • 50
    April 30th, 2017 16:39

    Hello Marcie,
    I planted one plum tree and one peach tree last year and I see flowers on them this year. I sprayed the mixture last year on them and it seems to have worked well as I see lot of flowers for a tree planted last year.

    Though I noticed my blackstrap molasses expired. Can I still use them to make the spray?
    Also the cap on Murphy soap bottle was broken so now it is sort of very thick liquid, is it ok to use it?

    PS: I have used only 3 ingredients last year: blackstrap molasses, Murphy soap, and apple cider vinegar.

    I am thinking about buying some seaweed liquid from Rona: this one for vegetables and hurbs (https://www.rona.ca/en/seaweed-fertilizer-68905001–1), not this one for flowers(https://www.rona.ca/en/seaweed-fertilizer), it should work?

    Thank you!

    Molasses should be OK even if outdated. I’ve kept molasses in my cupboards for years, and as long as it is kept in a dry spot it should be fine.

    I personally would not use the Murphy soap especially if it has becomea very thick liquid as I don’t think it would mix very well.
    The vegetable and herb seaweed fertilizer should be fine.

    Glad to see that you are using eco-friendly non-toxic spray to do your spraying.


  • 51
    May 4th, 2017 14:20

    Would this spray be rocommended for, and / or beneficial to, fig trees? Thanks

    Hi Craig

    I don’t know what the results would be as we do not grow fig trees here in Canada.
    All I can suggest is try spraying just a branch or two at the back of the tree in
    in an out of sight area just in case the spray doesn’t work. Wait 3 or 4 days to see
    what happens. Then take it from there.


  • 52
    Teresa Moilanen
    May 30th, 2017 23:39

    This is my first year to use your spray. I have yet to evaluate the result.

    Hi Teresa
    Will you let us know how your experimenting works out? If you do, it
    would help the reader to know how many times you sprayed the tree
    during the summer, what type of tree you sprayed, and how it helped
    the tree/fruit.

    Thank you

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