Can Holistic Sprays for Fruit Trees Help You Prevent Fruit Tree Pests and Diseases?


Three Perfect Pears - Perhaps grown with the assistance of holistic sprays for fruit trees? (photo credit: Shumilov Ludmila)

Three Perfect Pears – Perhaps grown with the assistance of holistic sprays for fruit trees? (photo credit: Shumilov Ludmila)

What Are Holistic Sprays for Fruit Trees? 

If you’re growing fruit trees organically, and you want to prevent fruit tree pests and diseases, you may consider using holistic sprays for fruit trees.

We explored the topic in a recent webinar interview with orchardist and author Michael Phillips, author of The Holistic Orchard and The Apple Grower. When it comes to holistic sprays for fruit trees, he has developed a unique approach.

Phillips grows organic fruit at his Lost Nation farm in New Hampshire. He avoids toxic conventional sprays that treat the symptoms of pests and disease problems. Instead his approach is to use holistic sprays that support your fruit trees nutritionally and biologically.

Michael Phillips, award-winning author and organic orchardist.

Michael Phillips, award-winning author and organic orchardist.

What Do Holistic Sprays For Fruit Trees Do? 

For trees to be healthy and able to fight off the scourges of pests and diseases, they need access to key nutrients like trace minerals and nitrogen. His goal is also to support the microbial populations on the plant surface.

So Phillips has devised a foliar spray, which he calls his “Core Holistic Recipe”, that when applied to your tree’s leaves and branches will help boost tree health and its ability to fight off pest and disease problems.

This mix includes:

  • Liquid fish, a fertilizer which is packed with nutrients
  • Neem oil which is said to be a pest repellent but is also high in nutrients
  • Blackstrap molasses which helps activate beneficial microorganisms on the leaf surface.
  • Mother culture of effective microbes, a liquid bacterial product that contains microbes that will enhance plant health

When to Apply Holistic Sprays for Fruit Trees?

Phillips uses this spray liberally in the spring, but for him, timing is key.

First application – Early green growth: Spray the trunk and branches of the tree on a warm day in early spring when the buds have “popped” and green tissue starts to show.

Second application – Just before blossoms are revealed: At this point, pink blossom buds are revealed just prior to the blossoms actually opening.

Third application – After petal fall: Drench your tree, it’s leaves and baby fruitlets with the spray just after petal fall until the point of runoff.

Fourth Application – 7 to 10 days after petal fall. Again drench your tree, its leaves and baby fruitlets with this solution.

Holistic Sprays For Fruit Trees: Michael Phillips Core Holistic Spray Recipe

(Creates enough to spray a backyard orchard)


A chart from Michael Phillip's new book.

A chart from Michael Phillips’ new book.

In a 4-gallon sprayer mix:

  • 1 teaspoon of soap emulsifier (dishwashing liquid like “Seventh Generation” or “Ecover” or “Dr Bronners”
  •  With just under 4 gallons of water (leaving room for the additional ingredients below)

Then add..

Shake your sprayer to mix this up and use the spray on your trees until it is used up. When you reapply, you’ll need to mix another batch.

Learn About Holistic Sprays From Michael Phillips By Watching the Webinar

Susan Poizner

Susan Poizner

Director, Fruit Tree Care Education Online

Susan Poizner is the author of the award-winning fruit tree care book Growing Urban Orchards and the creator of the award-winning online fruit tree care training portal at She is an urban orchardist, journalist and film maker living in Toronto, Canada.