A nursery foreman once remarked to me, in a plaintive and piteous way, that there appeared to be a special provision of Nature for fruit trees to be harassed and attacked at all stages of their annual round. There was, he pointed out, a foliage foe at hand directly the first tinge of green showed itself; there was a blossom enemy armed for action as soon as the trusses unfolded; and there was a fruit antagonist eager for mischief as soon as the fruit had set.
Alas, it is too true that cultivated fruits are beset with assailants. Whatever kind we grow there is something provided for attacking it; and be the circumstances what they may, there is no such thing as complete immunity. Some enemies attack all sorts of fruit trees indiscriminately, and as a rule their efforts are supplemented by those of other pests peculiar to each class of tree. Harassed growers are sometimes inclined to rail at perverse Nature, but in the long run it will pay to exhibit disapproval in a more tangible form, i.e. with washes, insecticides, and sprayers.
The best cultivated tree is generally the least affected, and it may be taken as an axiom that high culture is a direct means of keeping insects and fungi in check; but it is vain to hope that everything can be accomplished with spade, manure, and pruning tool. There will have to be a certain amount of special effort, and the wise grower will always have an item on the debit side for insecticides.
I propose to make a few remarks on the principal fruit enemies under two heads: (1) general enemies, which usually attack more than one kind of fruit; (2) pests that, as a rule, are peculiar to one sort.