Plum Tree Fruit Spray: When To Spray Plum Trees For Insects

Plum trees, like other fruiting trees, benefit from a regular maintenance program of pruning, fertilizing and preventive spraying to foster the healthiest most bountiful crops. Plum trees are susceptible to several diseases and pests that not only damage the tree and fruit, but act as vectors to disease, so spraying plum trees on a regular schedule is paramount to their health. The big question is, when and what to spray on plum trees. Read on to find out.

When to Spray Plum Trees for Insects

Creating a schedule for when to spray plum trees for insects is helpful if you are as absentminded as I am. You can do this by specific dates or, more importantly, maintain your schedule by the stage of the tree. For instance, is it in a dormant phase, is it actively growing or is it fruiting? Whichever works for you, the important thing is to stick to the annual spray maintenance schedule for when and what to spray on your plum trees.

Giving an exact date or even a gist of one is difficult here since plum trees grow in different climates and microclimates, meaning

that your tree might not need to be sprayed at the same time as my tree.

Also, before you spray for the first time during a growing year, prune out last season’s new growth by 20% when the tree is in its dormant stage, as well as any broken or diseased branches.

What to Spray on My Plum Trees?

What to spray on your plum trees is as important as when to spray. The first application of plum tree fruit spray will be during the dormant period with, you guessed it, dormant oil for trees. This application will prevent aphid and mite egg production, and scale. It is applied BEFORE buds appear. The dormant oil should contain endosufan or malathion.

Keep in mind that dormant oil cannot be applied when a freeze is expected. If the temps dip below freezing, the oil can harm the tree.

The second time you’ll use plum tree fruit sprays is when the tree begins to bud but shows no color in the spring. Spray with a fungicide to prevent things like:

  • Brown rot
  • Plum pockets
  • Leaf curl
  • Scab

This is also a good time to apply Bacillius thuringiensis to the plum tree to keep oriental fruit moth and twig borer at bay.

Once petals have fallen from the plum tree, check for aphids. If you see aphids, spray either with neem oil, zinc sulfate, or add some dishwashing liquid to malathion and spray the tree concentrating on getting any curled leaves. At this time, spray a second time with Bacillius thuringiensis and fungicide.

Once the fruit begins to develop and the husks are pulling back from the fruit, spray plums with spinosad, esfenvalerate or permethrin to control the twig borers. Spray again with a mix of fungicide, malathion and sulfur to control leaf curl, plum pocket, scab and brown rot and aphids. Spray every 10 days during fruit development. STOP spraying a week or so prior to harvesting.

Your local extension office or a good nursery can help you further to create a schedule for spraying plum trees and offer advice on products and/or non-chemical options for controlling disease and pests on your plum tree.

You may have come across small pinkish maggots in a plum before. The maggots are often found near the stone accompanied by tiny parcels of dark coloured material. These are Grapholita funebrana, the Plum Moth and more specifically, the caterpillar (larva) of the Plum Moth. The dark coloured material is their droppings (frass).

Larva of Grapholita funebrana (Plum Moth) observed in early – mid summer

During this post we’ll look at the life cycle of the Plum moth and some ways to prevent them in the biological garden.
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Whilst picking plums in late August from a plum tree in our garden I noticed that the Plum Moth larvae so frequently found in the early ripening fruit from July – early August were absent from the later ripening fruits. I assumed it must have something to do with the organism’s life cycle and so embarked upon a little research to find out more.
G. funebrana (Plum Moth) emerges from a cocoon as an adult moth from late May – mid July. The adult moths mate with each other and the females then proceed to lay their eggs on the small ripening fruits. Caterpillars (larvae) hatch from these eggs, tunnel into the fruits and feed on the “flesh” around the stone until fully fed. At this point the caterpillar (larva) emerges from the fruit and finds a cozy concealed spot either in the tree, on surrounding fallen dead branches or in the soil. Here they spin a silk cocoon (pupa) in which they overwinter, emerging as adults in the spring. If climatic conditions are favourable, some first generation caterpillars may pupate early and emerge as adults later on in the same season, laying their eggs in the ripe fruits. Three generations during spring and summer have been reported in some places.

Adult Grapholita funebrana 4 -7.5 mm long

We always have a long warm summer here and two generations are likely. It seems the bulk of our plums ripen before the second generation can begin to do damage. The early plums that are infected make good fruit for drying. We cut the fruit in two, collect the larva for the chickens, scrap off the tiny amount of frass and leave to dry on a tray in the car with the windows slightly cracked. They are delicious 🙂

In our gardens the plum moth does not really bother us, however when growing fruit on a larger scale this organism can cause significant loss to a harvest. This specie and other members of the genus Grapholita are commonly associated with many plants in the Prunus Genus, and Grapholita funebrana is one of the most important lepidopteran pests of fruit in Europe. Larvae can cause significant damage to apricot, cherry, peach, plum, and other Prunus species. The following are signs of infestation:

  • Presence of eggs on fruit and fruit stalks.
  • Entry holes on fruit surface.
  • Dissecting a suspicious fruit may reveal larvae or frass in flesh near the seed.
  • An infested fruit may show symptoms such as discoloration, gummy droplets oozing out of the caterpillar’s entry hole, premature ripening and fruit drop.


Having a good understanding of the “problem organism” is crucial to providing solutions and can help us in a number of ways

  • We may be able to prevent the organism becoming a problem altogether by putting in place effective control measures that break the pest’s life cycle before it becomes a nuisance.
  • We will know at what stage an organism is going to inflict damage on a crop.
  • We will know when the organism is most vulnerable to means of control.
  • We will know what we are looking for and will be able to identify a problem early on.

To recap on the Plum Moth life cycle we have the following stages: Adult – Eggs – Larva (caterpillar)- Pupa (cocoon). At each stage it may be possible to reduce the population numbers.
The adults are most active between 18 and 22°C. The moths rest on the tree leaves during the day, becoming more active after sunset. The adult moths are generally sexually active before sunrise and lay most of their eggs in the evening. A healthy diverse garden/farm ecosystem will naturally support many bird and bat species who feed on the adults moths and larval stages. We can focus these allies by placing bird feeders in fruit trees particularly when the the temperatures rise above 18C. Commonly used commercially is the Phereomone trap. This trap gives off the pheromone (the secreted or excreted chemical factor) of the female moths, thereby attracting male moths and trapping them thus preventing mating. It’s costly and time consuming and is not100% effective.
The Eggs are deposited by adults around sundown at temperatures around 25°C. The females deposit 3 to
5 eggs per fruit. Eggs hatch in about 1 to 2 weeks. It’s not at all practical to intercept at this stage.
The Larva is the stage of the life cycle that one is most likely to come across and can easily be removed with the infected fruit and destroyed, thereby preventing future generations. The fact we feed the larvaa to the chickens when preparing the early fruit for drying prevents further propagation and is why it’s important not to let fallen fruit accumulate under a tree.
Pupa:The larvae pupate in bark crevices or protected areas in the soil. Poultry are expert foragers for small parcels of nutrients such as a pupa. By arranging a coop around the base of your fruit trees during late May to mid July the poultry will scratch relentlessly for foods such as the Pupae and deliver some welcome nutritional excrement whilst at it. Blue and Great Tits feed on the pupa and can be attracted to the trees with balls of fat and seeds. French research has found that an adult tit can consume 12000-18000 of hibernating moth caterpillars per year. Hanging feeders in trees during the winter is also of benefit.

Relentlessly at work in the compost pile.

We can also mitigate the damage done by these organisms by considering the host plant. We may be able to establish good control of the specie on our site, but if there are plums trees in neighbouring gardens or wild plums in the windbreaks or hedgerows and the fruit is unpicked, local populations may grow rapidly and soon be looking for new breeding/feeding grounds.
When considering growing plums, it’s well worth observing local plum trees and other host species for signs of the Plum Moth. By studying the fruit of local wild plums or organically grown plums along with average temperatures records, you may be able to work out at what point the fruit ceases to be infected and choose a variety that ripens during the time period between generations. You may also observe that the wild fruits are not that troubled by these pests at all . It appears to me that many of the local wild plums Prunus cerasifera and Prunus insititia in the relatively undisturbed (wild) areas around us are largely unaffected by the Plum Moth but that the isolated trees in fields, garden trees and trees in poor locations (i.e compacted soils) tend to be targets. Perhaps trees in healthy communities can repel the moths in some way?

Prunus cerasifera – Myrobalan Plum / Cherry Plum

Susceptible Cultivars

Some Plum cultivars are noted for being more susceptible to damage from the Plum Moth such as Czar and Victoria as well as Amers, Anna Spath, Buhlertal Prune, Emma Leppermann, Italian Prune, Lowan, Stanley, Valjevka, Valor and Wangenheim Prune. (Agroforestry Research Trust Volume 9 No.1 pg3).
If you would like to learn more about Grapholita funebrana – Plum Moth , it is worth noting that it is often referred to as Cydia funebrana in older literature.

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Fruit moths – getting rid of them the green way!

If you have apple, plum, gage or damson trees this is the time of year to be thinking about putting measures in place to avoid moth larvae from damaging your fruit later in the year. Luckily the solution is easy and very environmentally friendly! You simply need to buy a Codling Moth trap (apples) or Plum Moth trap (plums, damsons, gages) and put it into the tree when it is flowering. If you already have a trap we also sell the refills.

Codling Moths

Codling moths lay their eggs on the fruitlets of apple trees. They also occasionally affect pear, quince and peach trees. The larvae appear in the summer and start to eat their way through the fruit, usually from the “eye” (opposite end to the stalk) into the core. The larvae can have a devastating effect on a crop of apples, leaving the fruit full of tunnels where they have burrowed through and peppered with their excrement pellets.

Plum Moths

These can affect plums, damsons and gages. Infestation and lifecycle is similar to that of the codling moth. Fruits affected often appear to be misshapen and may ripen early. The caterpillars are pale pink with brown heads. In warm summers, some caterpillars may pupate early and produce a second generation in late summer.

Alternative solutions

There are a number of ways to eradicate the moths organically:Use codling or plum moth traps – these are impregnated with pheromones which attract the males into the trap and thereby reduce the number available to mate with females. These should be used from mid-May. The traps are chemical-free and will not affect beneficial insects

  • Attract insect-eating birds to the area using nest boxes and feeders – these will need to be replenished regularly
  • Introduce natural pest control, such as Steinernema carpocapsae. These are microscopic worms that are sprayed directly onto the pest and will feed and multiply within them
  • Hang pieces of cardboard in the trees for larvae to over-winter in – then make sure these are removed and destroyed before the spring
  • Remove all dead bark and debris from the base of the fruit trees to reduce the number of places for the larvae to pupate over the winter

Plum app review

Finder rating ★★★★★

Customer service
Range of features 4/5

In a nutshell

  • Great for “set and forget” saving – it’s easy and automatic
  • It’s free
  • Access to money isn’t instantaneous, it can take 24 hours

Save more with Plum

  • Free registration and use
  • Spending and saving analysis
  • Average savings of £175 per customer
  • FCA registered

Plum is a chatbot that uses smart technology to help you save money. Its unique in that its not really an app, but a Facebook messenger chatbot. In many ways its like having your own personal finance assistant – only its a robot you talk to on your phone or laptop.

Read on to find out all you need to know about the app that could change the way you save.

What is Plum?

Plum is a smart savings software designed to automatically save you money in the easiest possible way. It was founded in 2016 with the idea of making saving easy and stress-free, but also effective for those of us who struggle to put that bit extra aside.

Rather than a separate account that requires a lengthy set-up, Plum utilises many partners (such as Amazon servers, the Facebook Messenger app and others) to make its savings scheme secure, accessible and user friendly.

How does Plum work?

  • Bank account access: Plum users give it access to their bank accounts in a read-only view.
  • Spending and saving analysis: This allows Plum’s smart software to understand patterns in the users income and spending habits and to recognise the most effective way for savings to be made.
  • Automatic saving: Once Plum calculates a suitable amount to be saved each week, this amount is automatically transferred through direct debit into your Plum account to be held until you withdraw it.
  • Messenger: Plum communicates with you through Facebook messenger. It’ll tell you how much you’ve saved each week, for instance. You can send commands to Plum too. If you want to take £10 out, simply message Plum ‘withdraw 10’. If you want to save more next week just write ‘save more’.
  • Flexibility and accessibility: You can withdraw, deposit more savings, keep a record of your saved amount and even invest your savings directly through messenger.

Investing with Plum

Plum also gives its users the option to invest some, or all, of their savings. You can choose between a range of investment solutions, including ISAs, funds and shares. You should consider carefully which of these options is best for you, depending on your expertise and risk appetite.

Again, through the use of the Messenger app, users can tell Plum the amount they would like to invest. When users want to withdraw their investments, they also communicate this to Plum through messenger. Plum will acknowledge a request to withdraw, although it can take up to 5 days for the money to return to a Plum account.

Plum does not offer any standard savings accounts. If you do decide to invest, keep in mind that your capital is at risk and that you could get back less than you invested.

Plum fees and limits

Plum’s basic features are free to use. This includes free registration, unlimited deposits and withdrawals and the automatic saving feature.

Investing your savings with Plum comes for a fee instead:

  • Plum Plus fee. This is £1 a month. For now Plum Plus only includes the investment feature, but Plum says that more is coming, including a service that tracks your bills and alterts you if it finds a better deal.
  • Fund management and provider fee. Between 0.23% and 1.05% a year, depending on which fund you choose.

Is Plum safe?

Plum considers its users safety and security at the top of its priorities. Here are just some of the ways Plum works to keep you safe:

  • Plum never store, or access, your bank login details.
  • Plum receive read-only access to your transaction data, so have very limited information.
  • Plum only receives money through a direct debit that you set up and your bank agrees to.
  • Plum use symmetric cryptography (AES) to store any sensitive data.
  • Plum use state-of-the-art password algorithms.
  • Plum use 256-bit TLS encryption to communicate between the browser and their servers.
  • Plum are a registered data controller and always act in compliance with the Data Protection Act.
  • Plum run their servers on Amazon’s cloud, which is trusted by some of the biggest financial institutions in the world.

How does the app look?

Helps you save

Lets you know how much it takes from your account each week.

Control your money better

If you want to withdraw money or get it to take more out for saving, tell the chatbot.

Get spending insights

Get budget updates and see how you’re spending your money.

Helps cut your bills

The chatbot can help reduce your bills, setting you up with cheaper providers.

‹ ›

Pros and cons of Plum


  • Save money easily and automatically.
  • Free to register and use.
  • Contact Plum easily through Facebook messenger app.
  • Withdraw money any time and receive it within 24 hours.
  • Personalised savings rate just for you
  • Your money is held by MangoPay, an EU-licensed financial institution.
  • Plum’s savings algorithm prevents savings taking you into your overdraft.
  • Registration takes minutes.
  • Opportunity to earn through Plum’s RateSetter investment deal.


  • If you choose the invest option, your capital is at risk.
  • Access to money isn’t instantaneous, it can take 24 hours.
  • Plum team only contactable during office hours (9:30am-6pm Mon-Fri).
  • As Plum doesn’t use its own app, it relies heavily on the usability and security of others.

The verdict

Saving is not especially fun a task, and while we all want to be doing it, doing the actual math and remembering to transfer the money every week or every month requires a lot of commitment. So, why not having it done automatically by Plum?

It’s a very smart concept, although there are a few drawbacks to consider. The main one is that Plum’s account does not pay any interest, so your savings won’t be growing unless you decide to invest them, which of course entails a whole different set of risks and issues. Also, you need to be a fan of the Facebook Messenger app, because Plum doesn’t have its own.

Overall, Plum can be a smart and fun way to save more money without doing much budgeting or even opening up your banking app, and offers a good range of investing options, some of which are also suitable for beginners.

Compare Plum against its competitors

Updated February 1st, 2020


  • How does Plum make money?

    Plum was heavily funded through its startup phase by crowdfunding campaigns. However, now it is established it looks to create its own revenue through two main revenue streams:

    • Once Plum begin offer people a better way to manage and earn a return on their money they will charge a management fee for enabling that.
    • As Plum begin to analyse consumer spending on bills they will find their customers better deals and will get an introductory fee when facilitating these changes.
  • Where are my Plum savings held?

    Plum savings are held in accounts by Plum’s partner MangoPay, an EU-licensed financial institution who holds money at Barclaycard. Your Plum account is virtual and has no account number or sort code, the only way to access it is through Plum.

  • Can I use Plum to save if I am in my overdraft?

    Yes! You will need to arrange this by talking to one of Plum’s team rather than automatically but it can be done.

  • How do I sign up?

    You can sign up for a Plum account either directly through Messenger or at Plum’s website.

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Banking app ratings

★★★★★ — Excellent

★★★★★ — Good

★★★★★ — Average

★★★★★ — Subpar

★★★★★ — Poor

Our team evaluates banking apps to determine their value against similar products on the market.

Learn the details of our methodology and scoring.

Starling Bank

What is it?

Everything you get from a current account, but with new features for mobile living. (E.g. Goals for saving, spending catgorisation, interest on your balances)


What is it?

App-based bank account that can be used on the go in any EU country. All about the ease of sending and saving money.

Revolut (Standard)

What is it?

App-based current account with loads of extra features. (e.g. Real time transactions, payment categorisation, save spare change, free international money transfers, buy cryptocurrency)

Monese (Starter)

What is it?

A multi-currency mobile banking app that aims to be ‘built around you’. Use it to open a fully functional current account instantly, straight from your phone, all supported by a feature-rich mobile app

Plum is one of a number of fintech startups reimagining how we manage our finances online, in the form of an AI-driven or ‘smart’ chatbot. However, unlike competitors that exist primarily as standalone apps, the London startup (for now, at least) has decided to bet big on Facebook Messenger.

The thinking, explains co-founder Victor Trokoudes, who was previously an early employee at international money transfer company TransferWise, is that Facebook Messenger is already one of the places that Plum’s millennial target users reside. With the social network expected to launch friend-to-friend payments in Europe soon, he thinks it will increasingly become somewhere they’ll interact with their money too.

“With Facebook introducing payments into Messenger next year, Messenger is set to create a platform to further disrupt banks,” says Trokoudes. “Why use your banking app when you can pay your friends via the app and also add a service like Plum which allows you to take control of all aspects of your financial life?”.

At launch, Plum billed itself as the first Facebook Messenger chatbot that enables you to start saving small amounts of money effortlessly. The chatbot connects to your bank account and Plum’s AI learns your spending habits, allowing it to automatically deposit small amounts of money into your Plum savings account every few days.

It has since partnered with Ratesetter to enable your Plum ‘micro’ savings to actually earn a decent 3% interest rate via the option to invest all or some of it into the peer-to-peer lending platform. A typical bank’s current account usually earns no interest at all. The Ratesetter integration is an attempt to rectify this, and potentially turns the banking model on its head: instead of a bank lending out your deposits and keeping most or all of the return, you can do the same.

However, savings and investments is only two pillars of Plum’s proposition. Trokoudes says the next area the chatbot will tackle is ensuring that you “don’t get ripped off on financial products,” such as loans, overdraft, utilities, and insurance. This will see it launch a ‘switching’ service as early as next month to make it painless to switch to a cheaper and greener energy provider.

“We are going to make you aware if you are being ripped off by your utility provider, your bank overdraft or overpaying on a loan and then Plum will ask you if you would like to switch. All you will have to do is reply ‘Yes’,” says the Plum founder.

I also understand the startup is pairing up with Habito to help users find a better deal on their current or future mortgage.

It’s all part of what Trokoudes and others in fintech describe as the re-bundling of financial services, but in a way that puts the user in control. Direct competitors include other chatbot personal finance managers (PFMs), such as Cleo, Chip and Ernest.

But it’s really a space being attacked on multiple fronts, from the incumbent banks themselves to challenger and so-called neo banks, and something like Curve’s all-your-cards-in-one approach. Upcoming legislation in the form of the EU’s PSD2 and the U.K.’s Open Banking, which forces the banks to open up their data to new entrants, is only going to expedite this re-bundling gold rush even further.

“When I left TransferWise in 2016 I felt all fintech verticals were disrupted and felt that the natural next real fintech innovation was to unify these disruptions into one complete offering,” adds Trokoudes. “Two major developments over the next few months are set to make this possible. Firstly, the opening up of consumers transactional data through PSD2 and secondly, maybe less obvious, the fact that Facebook Messenger will emerge as a platform for P2P payments”.

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