our last issue, Jeff answered a question about protecting
cherry trees from birds, squirrels and other would-be fruit
robbers. He suggested a physical barrier such as netting
or spun-row covers. One of our readers offered another solution:
Thanks for all the good advice that keeps coming our way
from your experience. As far as organic protection from pests
for cherries, I know one of my uncles used a sprayed-on kaolin
or clay barrier on fruit trees. Both insects and birds were
discouraged from the fruit, no matter what kind, since their
bright colors were dulled by the clay, and the film on the
fruit deterred them.
Would this be considered an organic solution? Have you heard
of anyone else using this method on cherries? Just a thought.
I’m not a cherry grower and have no experience with
them at all. I would think that the kaolin product would do
just what you suggest. I spoke with several of my colleagues
and no one saw a problem with the practice from a cultural
We use the product on a routine basis on our apple trees
with great success as part of our insect management program.
Our organic certifier has no problem with it and I have not
heard of anyone who has experienced any problems with certification.
If you are currently certified, I suggest you contact your
certifier prior to using any new product and receive a letter
Let me know how it works if you try it.
Have some questions to Ask Jeff? E-mail
him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.