Agriculture is a key part of the Rogue Valley’s economic base and an essential ingredient of our local quality of life. The thousands of acres of orchards provide green space and produce high value commodities that are sold around the world. However, areas in close proximity to agriculture are becoming more urbanized. One of our goals at the Southern Oregon Research & Extension Center is to develop integrated pest management programs which utilize alternatives to conventional pesticide applications. The use of mating disruption with sex pheromones for controlling codling moth in pears and apples and Oriental fruit moth in peaches is an example of a behavioral control method which has been adopted by a majority of local orchardists resulting in significant reductions in the amount of insecticides being applied. However, these alternative control methods can be undermined by the presence of pest and disease sources close to an orchard.

The Unmanaged Apple and Pear Tree Outreach Program (UAPTOP) was conceived to provide information, education, and incentives for people living near commercial orchards to either manage or remove their apple and pear trees which can serve as sources of pest and disease. UAPTOP is a joint endeavor involving both the Oregon State University Extension and the University of California Cooperative Extension in Lake County CA. Jackson County does have a Pest Control Ordinance which mandates that sources of pests be controlled when they pose a threat to nearby orchards. UAPTOP currently focuses on (but is not limited to) codling moth, a major pest of apples and pears. The codling moth, whose larvae bore into the fruit, is the proverbial worm in the apple and an unmanaged apple or pear tree can produce very high numbers of codling moth. In our local pear orchards, codling moth is the number one insect pest. Simply put, no one likes to find a worm in their fruit!

As mentioned above, local orchards are employing alternatives to standard pesticides but a source of codling moth near an orchard can create the need for application of insecticides that would not have otherwise been needed. In order to avoid this economic cost and environmental burden, it is important that landowners become aware of the need to control pests in their backyard. To determine how close a property is located to a commercial orchard and assess the risk posed by any unmanaged apple or pear trees on that property a tree risk assessment tool is currently available that will provide that information. If a source of codling moth is 100 yards or less from a commercial orchard it is very probable that the source will impact that orchard; if the source is within a quarter mile (440 yards) it is still possible that the source could impact the orchard. In those cases, it is recommended that a landowner take action to reduce the threat posed by the pest source either by adequately managing the pest problem or by removing the source entirely. If the apple and pear trees are needed for shade or aesthetics, here is a link to a list of fast growing shade trees which could serve as replacements.

Resources are listed below (including those linked above) that will provide further information:

List of fast growing shade trees