I have a few very small apple and fig trees. I planted the apple trees last year and had a huge problem with bug completely defoliating them. I bought some 'Bonide Fruit Tree Spray' and started spraying them with that as soon as I saw leaves start coming out. They did okay at first, but then I started noticing they were being chewed up. Upon closer inspection I noticed several of those little inch worms that hang from the trees.

I'm in SC, so I contacted the local Clemson College Agricultural Extension and asked them about it. He said they were canker worms and that I should use a chemical with 'spinosad' in it. Being very small tree, I can't make a small enough batch of the spray to use up, so I'm just leaving it in my sprayer with the pressure release valve open. If it gunks up the end, I'll just buy a new one. I don't think the spray I have contains spinosad, so I picked up a bottle of concentrate. I asked him if it would be safe to combine them, since I didn't have two tanks. He seemed to think it would be okay. He said to mix it in another container and something about if it wasn't warm, then it was okay to add it in. I don't know if he meant that I should mix the concentrate with some of the poison water I already had to see if it created chemical heat or what.

I want to know if you guys have ever combined sprays like this to ill effect? I can't remember the name of the spinosad concentrate I bought, but it was labeled as affective against canker worms, caterpillars, etc... It only container a very small amount of the spinosad, though. If I do combine them, I think I should probably use the full dose of each to the recommended amount of water.

1 Answer 1


Spinosad is organic, which means its fine for use on edible plants, means you can still eat the apples at the end of it. Having checked the ingredient list for your Bonide Fruit Tree spray, I'm glad I won't be eating your fruit! I'm assuming there must be something in the directions for that one to tell you when to stop using it, because otherwise, its possible your fruits may contain traces of those ingredients.

I wouldn't mix the two without further clarification - its not clear what the advice 'if its not warm' means - could they mean when the air temperature is warm? Or does he mean if the mixture gets hot?

Lastly, a word about pesticide/fungicide treatments. It seems you've chosen your Bonide spray at random, because it seemed to control most pests, and you did not know what had affected your crops. It may well have been the canker worms that affected them, not something else, but its always best to identify what problem your tree/plant is having, then apply the right solution/treatment for that particular pest. It's better for the plant, it's better for the environment, and most of all, its better for anyone who's going to be eating the fruits.

  • I actually don't have any apples to affect. These are mostly trees a relative grafted and gave to me and they're much smaller than you'd normally get an apple tree. They're only about 2.5' tall. This poisoning is mostly a desperate effort to keep the plants alive, because bugs completely defoliated them twice last year. I think that once they get to apple bearing size, there won't be as much need for pesticides, because it won't devastate the tree to loose a few leaves here and there. I did choose the bonide, because it was available and treated a wide range.
    – Dalton
    Apr 24, 2015 at 11:50
  • I couldn't see what bugs were causing the damage last year. I found the canker worms this year, but I don't know if those were the only ones chewing on it and I don't know if they were the ones chewing on it last year. I've been much more vigilant in checking them this spring and I do plan to use the minimum and most specific poison in the future. The man saying I could combine them acted like it would be the warmth of the liquid. I assumed he was concerned about a chemical reaction, like when you mix epoxy and it heats up. - @Bamboo
    – Dalton
    Apr 24, 2015 at 11:53
  • @Dalton - sounds like he doesn't know whether its safe to mix them or not either then!
    – Bamboo
    Apr 24, 2015 at 15:40

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