· John Heider's Answer
· Hi Mari-The best time to use dormant sprays is after the leaves have fallen and the fruit is gone. This would be in the winter months. You can also spray in late winter or early spring before the leaves or flower buds appear. You don't want to spray the trees prior to the buds opening. Spraying after the buds have started to open can kill the buds and pollinators such as the bees which can affect the amount of fruit you will get. You can spray again after flowering and the fruit begins to set.
You can spray your fruit trees with neem spray right up until the day of harvest. It is best to spray in the early morning or late afternoon giving time for the spray to dry which will lessen the chance of sun damage to leaves. These are also times when the benificial insects are less active and the spray will have time to dry before they are around. After this only the pests (sucking and chewing insects) and disease affecting the plant will be distroyed. Spraying should also be done on days with no wind, temperature above 40 degrees, and a few days prior to any rain expected as this will wash the spray off and will most likely have to be reapplied more often. You mentioned heavy dew in the mornings on your trees. Neem oil would be best applied when leave are dry as the oils will not mix quickly with the moisture and may not stick to foliage and stems before running off. When spraying neem oil be sure to wet both the top and bottom surfaces of leaves. It is important to follow the instructions on the product carefully.
Neem oil is safe on your pears, other fruits and vegetables. Neem oil is a natural insecticide that disrupts the neurological system of insects, yet is safe for humans. The spray can be used on any type of fruit tree. Below I have noted a few links to articles in Gardenality you may be interested in. These articles cover prevention of insects on fruit trees and other solutions for safe control of fugus/disease on fruit trees. Just click on the links to go directly to the articles.http://www.gardenality.com/Articles/148/Problems-and-Solutions/Insects/Insect-Prevention-On-Fruit-Trees-and-Plants/default.htmlhttp://www.gardenality.com/Articles/75/Problems-and-Solutions/Diseases-and-Fungus/Disease-Control-for-Fruit-Trees/default.html
Hope this helps.