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Sun Block Fruit Coating Also Fights Bugs
Fruit growers have a sticky new ally in their battle with bugs. It's a thin new clay coating called "Surround" that was developed by the U.S.D.A. Ag Research Service and the Engelhard Corporation.
Apple growers report unblemished fruit crops thanks to the fine clay particles which are applied in a spray solution. Once in place, Surround creates an alkaline barrier to fungal spores and inhibits other pests. When insects and mites touch the powder, it sticks to them and causes irritation. Flying insects leave before eating or laying eggs, while non-flyers become disoriented and neither eat nor lay eggs. At the same time, the porous particles do allow natural respiration and exchange of gasses.
Surround controls plum curculio, Japanese beetles, leafhoppers, thrips and other insects. It has also been shown to be effective against cucumber beetles, according to the company.
The crop protectant also reduces sunburn and blocks infrared light. This keeps the plant cooler and can enhance fruit color. Independent apple orchard studies have shown sunburn damage was reduced by around 50 percent.
Surround is applied as a water-based slurry at a rate of 50 lbs./acre in commercial orchards. Home fruit growers with a few trees can buy the product in smaller amounts. A 25 lb. bag should be sufficient to treat 10 trees over an entire season, according to a spokesperson at Fedco, an organic growers supply cooperative that carries the product. Initial applications should be made two to three times the first week and every ten to fourteen days throughout the season, more frequently during rainy weather. Rates can vary, but 1/2 lb. per gallon is recommended for hand and backpack sprayers.
Literature on the product can be requested directly from Englehard through their website at www.englehard.com.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Fedco, (ph 207 873-7333; Website: www.fedcoseeds.com); or Peaceful Valley Farm Supply, Inc. (ph 888 784-1722; Website: www.groworganic.com); or Garden's Alive (ph 812 537-8650; Website: www.gardensalive.com).

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2002 - Volume #26, Issue #4