Home Fruit Production

Program Contact: Master Gardener Office | 5600 W Canal Dr, Suite E, Kennewick
(509) 735-3551 • wsuextension@co.benton.wa.us

The Columbia Basin which includes Benton and Franklin counties is a major commercial fruit growing region. Gardeners in the region are able to grow a variety of tree fruit, small fruit, and other types of fruits and nuts. Below are fact sheets prepared specifically for Mid-Columbia gardeners growing fruit crops in their yards and gardens.

Alternatives to Pesticides for Managing Fruit Pests

An increasing number of Washington residents are growing fruit on their own backyard trees. Backyard gardeners need to know how to manage of insect pests, specifically codling moth and cherry fruit fly that infest fruit and make it inedible. Traditionally, management has been regular applications of conventional pesticides. However, low-risk (environmental) pesticide alternatives are available for controlling these pests. One viable alternative for control of codling moth in backyard trees is the bagging of individual apples to exclude the codling moth. A viable alternative for control of cherry fruit fly in backyard trees is the application of bait containing spinosad, a biological pesticide that kills the cherry fruit fly before they lay their eggs. If gardeners adopt and properly utilize these environmentally sound practices, they can get  worm-free fruit.

Laws Requiring Homeowners to Control Pests

County laws in Benton, Franklin, Yakima, and Walla Walla counties require that backyard tree fruit growers control these pests because they are a potential source of infestation for any nearby commercial orchard. This has a negative impact on the orchardist’s ability to grow pest-free fruit economically. When nearby fruit trees are infested with cherry fruit fly or codling mothe, commercial orchardists must apply more pesticides to their trees or risk having their fruit being rejected at harvest time by packing houses and exporters.

WSDA Specialty Crop Logo

Washington State University Extension of Benton, Franklin and Yakima Counties in cooperation with local County Horticultural Pest & Disease Boards (Yakima County & Benton/Franklin Counties) initiated  the project “Homeowner Outreach and Education” in October 2009. The project is funded with a Specialty Crops grant from the Washington State Department of Agriculture. Outputs of this project seek to educate of backyard gardeners to properly manage codling moth and cherry fruit fly in backyard fruit trees. Efforts will not only raise gardener awareness of the problem they create for adjacent commercial enterprises, but decrease the impact of codling moth and cherry fruit fly in backyard trees to nearby commercial orchards.