The University Outreach and Engagement blog features stories about the vast variety of ways OSU and OSU Extension Service offer meaningful outreach and engagement to support healthy communities, healthy planet and a healthy economy.
Written by Amy Jo Detweiler, associate professor, Horticulture Faculty for Central Oregon
Edible landscaping and backyard food production continues to gain popularity with gardeners. With this trend, there has been an increasing number of people inquiring about control of their “wormy apples” (a.k.a. codling moth) in Central Oregon.
Codling moth is not only a pest of apple and pear trees in Central Oregon, it is a serious pest on both a statewide and national level for backyard and commercial fruit tree growers.
One of the most critical components for effectively managing this pest is timing . . . and the use of integrated pest management strategies (IPM).
In an effort to help clients with management decisions, Project Happy Apples was initiated in 2015 (a soft launch) and officially launched in 2016. A Project Happy Apples website was setup, which includes a place for clients to opt-in to receive timely emails for codling moth management specific to Central Oregon.
Project Happy Apples emails include timely photos and suggestions for various kinds of research-based management. Emails also contain simple instructions on exactly when to do what, a supplies list, associated costs, and where to buy supplies locally, or online. Suggested management strategies include both organic and more traditional types of management so that clients can make informed decisions. All of the email notes are available with additional pest information on the Project Happy Apples website.
Currently, three hundred gardeners receive the emails. A survey was sent to clients in December to assess the value of the project and measure impact. Ideally clients will make informed decisions that will allow them to be more effective in controlling the pest, reduce or eliminate pesticide use, and produce edible apples and pears. They will also be taking an active role in suppressing the pest population statewide in an effort to protect the commercial tree fruit industry in Oregon.