Fruit Tree Care on Martha's Vineyard

Bearing Fruit

Since starting Beetlebung Tree Care in 1993, Josh Scott has experienced both the frustrations and the delicious rewards of orchard tending on Martha’s Vineyard, “probably one of the worst places to grow fruit.” His odds have been greatly enhanced by knowledgeable plant selection, pruning, trial and error, and just plain luck. Martha’s Vineyard Magazine spoke extensively to Josh about the challenges and rewards of growing fruit trees on Martha’s Vineyard.

The best way to grow an orchard here is to start with disease-resistant trees, planted in optimal growing conditions.

He concentrates on organic practices whenever possible, using synthetic pesticides only in special situations, such as in the case of older trees vulnerable to structural damage from a fungus attack, or for clients who want to harvest store-quality fruit from their trees. Timing these treatments around bouts of dampness limits their application. “People like to know what we’re spraying on food,” Josh says. Some of the products in his organic arsenal include Bordeaux mixture, a combination of copper sulfate, hydrated lime, and dormant oil used as a fungicidal and insecticidal spray; neem oil, an insecticide/fungicide made from the seeds of the neem tree, Azadirachta indica; and Bt, Bacillus thuringiensis, an insect-killing microbe.

Reed the full article as seen in the MV Magazine, Home & Garden issue, Fall-Winter 2013-2014