Columbia Gorge Fruit Growers

apples

apple treeThe local fruit industry faces serious threats from fruiting trees in backyards or on other properties. Unless properly cared for, such trees may serve as hosts for pests which can spread to and damage commercial crops.

Hood River County's Amended Ordinance #263 requires that fruit tree diseases and pests be controlled on host plants. If they are not, the County may require destruction of the crop or trees at the owner's expense.

Preserving a Way of Life
Orchards in the Hood River Valley have a long history. The first fruit trees were planted in 1854; the first commercial orchard in 1876. The valley’s rich volcanic soil and favorable climate have made it one of the world’s finest fruit-growing districts. The fruit industry is our area’s most important economic factor—supporting families, communities and businesses. Trends toward reducing the use of pesticides in agriculture have led growers to introduce non-chemical approaches, such as mating disruption, for the control of codling moth, a damaging pest in pears and apples. In addition to codling moth, other pests which may spread from neglected trees to commercial orchards include apple maggot, cherry fruit fly, fire blight, and pear and apple scab. But the new “soft” pest management programs open commercial orchards to potential attack from pests multiplying on nearby unsprayed trees. Growers must produce “clean” fruit in order to compete in national and international markets. Pests may make fruit unmarketable, causing immediate economic loss.

We can all work together to assure that local fruit continues to be of high quality. A healthy fruit industry will help preserve the economy and keep the Hood River Valley the beautiful and special place that it is.

What Can I Do?
Property owners with fruit trees can take one of the following steps to eliminate pests:

  • Remove pear, apple, cherry, or related fruiting, ornamental species, such as crabapple or hawthorn trees.
  • Remove all fruit on these host trees as soon as it forms.
  • Spray trees with pesticides
codling moth
codling moth2

Codling moth is a pest which can be found in both apples and pears. Although it is important to control all fruit pests and diseases, we are concentrating our Backyard Tree removal program on apple, pear, and crabapple trees because codling moth is a growing problem in Hood River County. In order to control codling moth, and prevent both immediate economic loss and long term threat to the local fruit industry, 6-8 Codling moth infected pearapplications of pesticides are required during each growing season. Applications are time sensitive, and must match the emerging stages of the moth, making control difficult.

How Do I Go About Removing My Trees?
If you are willing to remove your pear, apple or crabapple trees, call the Columbia Gorge Fruit Growers at 541-387-4769, and register for our Backyard Tree Program.

The response from the community has been very positive, whether people have agreed to remove their trees, or to spray them to keep them pest-free. To date, 41 percent of property owners have decided to remove their trees. Others have requested information about effective methods of pest control.

How Do I Find Out More Information About Pesticide Spraying?
Call the Columbia Gorge Fruit Growers office at 541-387-4769 and we will send you an informational brochure.

What If I Want to Cultivate Fruit Trees Organically?
You are required by law to register with the Hood River County Weed and Pest Division at the Hood River Department of Public Works. Call 541-387-6889 for more information and requirements.

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