This past Sunday, we were fortunate to attend a workshop put on by Operation Fruit Rescue Edmonton (OFRE) on controlling apple maggot.
Apple maggot has become a bigger problem in Edmonton in the last few years. Sara, the resident apple maggot expert, said that people have even started cutting down apple trees in desperation and because of a lack of information.
We have been very lucky to not come across any apple maggot yet. Last fall, we heard horror stories from people who spent hours picking a tree only to realize the apples were basically empty on the inside because the apple maggot was so bad. Our strategy became to start by cutting open a few apples before picking to make sure we wouldn’t suffer the same fate while foraging.
How to Control Apple Maggot in Edmonton
Sara explained the life cycle of an apple maggot so we would understand the theory behind methods of control and the optimum opportunities to intervene.
We also talked among the attendees about methods that people had tried, most of which were unsuccessful. We had learned from Thean Pheh at his session about Growing Hardy Fruit for Alberta about how he individually bags each apple. Sara recommended use a fine mesh sleeve to cover the branches.
Sara purchased the fine mesh and then used a glue gun to make the sleeves. It was a pretty efficient way to cover a whole branch at once. This works really well for smaller trees (which all of ours in our urban orchard are).
Sara also mentioned that apple maggot tends to affect early ripening varieties worse. All of the trees in our urban orchard are later ripening so hopefully we will not experience this. She also said that crabapple trees seem to be much less affected. Because we live in a mature neighbourhood, almost all the old lots have an apple tree or two so it could spread very quickly through our area. But we hope through good practices and preventative measures we can keep it out of our orchard. Sara also encouraged us to talk to neighbours because many people just don’t understand what is happening or know what to do.
For more specific details on apple maggot you can visit the OFRE website.