During spray season, should we stay or should we go?

A:

Spring is a busy time in the orchard as the growers need to apply materials to combat Eastern Filbert Blight (EFB), a fungus that infects and can kill the trees. Soon this will finish, usually there are 4 spring applications (if these are large, older trees). The growers are trying to protect the young green tissue with fungicides. There may also be foliar nutrient sprays going on, and these would have very low risk for human health. Protective clothing and equipment for the handler and those working in the orchard can vary depending on the compound, as does the interval after an application that the orchard can be entered.

The spray applicator is licensed and educated in the safe use of pesticides and will make all provisions to avoid spray going off-target. So, being outside in your yard while a spray is being applied in an adjacent orchard is not necessarily dangerous, provided the spray itself is not going off-target and drifting on to you or your yard.

I would urge you to work with the grower to try to resolve any potential conflicts or address concerns, most likely they will accommodate a request for notification or may be able to address other concerns. Meeting with the applicator can help maintain a good relationship and avert future problems.

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