Determining the Potential for Organic Material Use in Northeast Commercial Pear Production

Project Overview

Project Type: Partnership
Funds awarded in 2010: $11,895.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2010
Region: Northeast
State: New York
Project Leader:
Peter Jentsch
Poma Tech Inc.

Annual Reports


  • Fruits: pears, general tree fruits


  • Education and Training: extension, on-farm/ranch research
  • Pest Management: biorational pesticides, botanical pesticides
  • Production Systems: transitioning to organic
  • Sustainable Communities: sustainability measures

    Proposal abstract:

    The principle pests of pear production in the Northeastern US are pear psylla, Cacopsylla pyricola (Foerster), and Fabraea leaf spot, Fabraea maculata. These two pests cause premature defoliation, reduced fruit size, reduced quality and yield, premature decline and death of the tree. Insecticide resistance results in lower levels of efficacy, is reducing the effectiveness of currently used synthetic insecticides. Recent studies conducted at Cornell University’s Hudson Valley Laboratory have demonstrated excellent control of the pear psylla using newly developed OMRI products. These products, a kaolin clay based product called Surround WP and a highly refined horticultural oil (HRO) made by Petro Canada, PureSpray Green, were used successfully in pre-bloom and season long programs. We observed applications of HRO’s supress Fabraea leaf spotting, resulting in reduced defoliation. Seasonal use of HRO’s in the Northeast for pear management beyond the delayed dormant stage of pear tree phenology has yet to be adopted in commercial orchards.

    In this study, Hudson Valley pear growers will augment commercial pest management tools with OMRI products. Growers will use cultural techniques of sucker removal to reduce the need for mid-season applications aimed at managing pear psylla that will provide open canopy for greater material coverage. Air induction nozzles will be compared to hollow disk nozzles to study the effects of off target drift. And to optimize material effectiveness we propose to evaluate sprayer calibration.

    Extension outreach to Northeast pear producers will include on-demand web based video vingettes of recommendations and text protocols for OMRI production methods, while oral presentations to the NYS pome fruit producer audience will be made at field meetings and winter fruit schools.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    1. Producers will use commercial application equipment with air induction nozzles to reduce off-target drift and increase deposition. Improving calibration to increase volume output, decrease speed and pump pressure, will improve material deposition resulting in superior efficacy.

    2. Producers and researchers will determine the timing windows of OMRI materials using IPM scouting observations, weather forecasting and efficacious timings of prior studies. The successful results of this study will assist us in determining the number of applications, optimum timing and environmental conditions best suited to conventional and transitional organic pest management programs using OMRI materials.

    3. Producers and researchers will consider costs, yield and quality to determine the economic factors of profitability using OMRI materials.

    4. With the assistance of HVL research technical staff, producers will conduct shoot removal to reduce 2nd generation of pear psylla eggs and nymphs. This cultural practice, applied at the proper timing, will reduce damage to foliage and fruit during this ‘honeydew’ production period. Shoot removal will open the tree canopy for air and material movement during spray applications for greater material deposition.

    5. Producers will become more familiar with CCE based computer information technology by viewing web-based extension publications and video throughout the season. These materials will be produced and made available to producers so as to obtain time sensitive information related to OMRI pear production methods.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.