Organic pest and disease know-how

Lots of people worry when they see a bug on their fruit tree, but often they're being helpful, not harmful! How do they help?  Predator insects will help you keep the pests under control (as long as you don't kill them with harmful chemicals). Here's a couple of blog posts on the topic:

You might notice particular insects, and worry about whether they're doing damage, or acting as predators. Just to confuse you even further, sometimes they're doing both! 

Sometimes you might be right to worry about them, because insects like carpophilus beetles and earwigs can spread diseases like brown rot in your stone fruit. If you'd like to know what it looks like and how to prevent it, check out the following blog.

And here's another one that can occasionally become a big nuisance:

There's also other simple things you can do to help control disease under your fruit trees, without chemicals. 

One of the biggest pests most fruit growers have to cope with are birds - read how we manage them.

After reading a few of our blogs on the topic, you're probably getting the idea that we're big fans of netting fruit trees? Yep, we are.

Another serious pest is Queensland Fruit Fly, and we all need to work together to fight this one!

Healthy trees are much less likely to be attacked by pests and diseases, just like healthy people are less likely to get every cough and cold that's going around, so it's important to keep your trees as healthy as possible. Spring is a key time to pay attention to your fruit trees - here's how we manage it:

Here's some simple ways to protect your fruit trees from pests and diseases:

  • Pick up fruit from the ground;
  • Help light and air circulate around your fruit trees with pruning and weed control;
  • Understand how to prevent fruit tree diseases;
  • Monitor your tree for pests and treat them before they cause damage.

Sometimes, despite your best efforts things may still go wrong, but if you've got a good system in place you'll always have some fruit to eat (even if it's not exactly what you wanted). Here's a blog post about when that happened to us. 

Above all else, DON'T PANIC! Just seeing an insect on your fruit tree is no cause for alarm—many insects may in fact be "good guys", ie predator insects that are doing you a favour by eating the pests that damage your fruit. If you’re sure that your tree is being damaged by a pest or disease, try to identify what it is, as this makes working out the appropriate treatment much easier.

Marks on fruit can cause similar concerns, but a little understanding can go a long way towards preventing the problem.

A word of warning—many of the chemicals available at garden shops that are used against pests and diseases can do more harm than good. Even products like pyrethrum (a natural insecticide made from daisies) can be harmful to beneficial insects in your garden if not used the right way.

Want to learn more?

Learning modules (coming soon):

  • Keeping your trees healthy
  • Managing codling moth
  • Bacterial diseases of fruit trees
  • Understanding the life cycle of pests and diseases
  • Safe and effective organic spraying
  • Choosing the right spray equipment
  • Pests that damage fruit trees
  • Pests that damage fruit
  • Diseases that damage fruit trees
  • Diseases that damage fruit
  • Protecting your precious fruit from birds and other flying pests

We are currently updating the website to make it more user-friendly. Please bear with us and excuse the mess as we get it better organised!

About Us

We – Hugh and Katie Finlay – draw on over 15 years' experience as orchardists at our farm, Mt Alexander Fruit Gardens, to bring you the Grow Great Fruit Program, the farm-proven system for home fruit growers.

To read the full story of our farming journey, click here 


Our blog gives a snapshot on various aspects of life on the farm, with regular guest posts by Mel and Sas from the Gung Hoe Growers, and new farmer Ant.

Visit the blog 

Grow Great Fruit Program

We grow organically, and teach organic growing principles and methods. We’re aware of the changing climate, so the farming methods we use help to create solutions, not add to the problem. We've poured years of experience into our farm-tested Grow Great Fruit program after talking to hundreds of home growers, and figuring out what you need most...information, security, and someone you can trust to help you solve your problems.


Carr's Organic Fruit Tree Nursery © 2019