RDOS reminds residents to look after backyard fruit trees to be good neighbours to orchards

Is your fruit tree pest-free?

Farmers and orchardists can face a tough growing year against weather and environmental challenges, but the looming threat of pests can also impact their crops.

The Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen has its annual reminder for residential tree fruit growers to properly care for their shrubbery against insect pests, to help protect their agricultural neighbours.

With an abundance of farmers in the region combined with the backyard trees, crops can easily be affected by neighbouring properties if individuals don’t look after their plants.

A video series posted to the RDOS’ YouTube page runs through the different fruit trees and tips on noxious pest avoidance.

“Noxious pests are insects or related pests that are capable of devastating fruit bearing trees and shrubs in both residential and commercial plantings. Noxious Pests often lack natural enemies and can quickly take over plantings from a single fruit tree in a backyard to an entire commercial orchard. Once established in a residential planting, it can easily jump to a commercial orchard, devastating the crop and the livelihood of the growers,” the RDOS website reads.

The Noxious Pest Program aims to educate individuals that are considering planting a fruit bearing tree or shrub, or have a pre-existing planting, about their responsibility to care for and manage pests.

Those who do not take proper care of their plants can be reported for negligence and will be required to rectify the issues in accordance to the bylaw.

“If the owner chooses to neglect this responsibility and a pest problem causes significant damage to the trees, plants, or associated crops, an inspector appointed by the Regional Board may enforce and carry out the provisions of the bylaw."

The bylaw was established in 2001 in order to "regulate the prevention, removal and ongoing control of infestations by noxious and destructive insects, or related pests."

The RDOS also provides property owners and residents a tool kit, with best care and maintenance guides for fruit bearing plants.

The tips for maintaining a healthy fruit tree or berry bush have several different components, including planting in proper location and soil for plant of choice, watering an appropriate amount, fertilizing, correctly pruned & thinning and routinely checking for pests and disease on tree and fruit.

For more information on the RDOS Noxious Pest Program, visit their website here.

Contributed RDOS

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