jellyman_gw

Bagging Fruit

jellyman
May 27, 2005

1. For many years, Japanese apple growers have used expensive double-layer rice paper bags to protect their fruit, and produce premium apples that command extraordinary prices in that country. Japanese people recognize and insist on superb quality, and are willing to pay for it. So you can buy a $5 Fuji apple to accompany your $50 Kobe steak. These bags can be found in the U.S., and I have tried them, but they are difficult to install, very expensive, and require removal in stages as the fruit matures.

2. Over the past year or so, I have noticed posts by a number of people on the NAFEX message board who have instead used common plastic sandwich bags and achieved very good results. The NAFEX crew is not just any ordinary group of yeahoos, but a very special group of yeahoos, many of whom have long experience in fruit growing. When you hear of results like this from people who really know what they are doing, you start to pay attention. This spring, I have bagged over 400 apples, and have at least that many to go. It always seemed to me that practically sealing a developing apple in plastic was a recipe for rot and disaster, but that is apparently not the way it works out. The plastic actually protects against rots and fungus as well as insects, and some reports indicate larger fruit at the end of the season as well. It seems best to remove the bags about two weeks before harvest to allow full color to develop, but the transparent plastic permits quite a bit of coloring even if you don't.

3. When to start:

Begin bagging about a week or so after thinning, during which you should have reduced the apples to the one best fruitlet per cluster. The fruit can be anywhere from nickel to quarter size to install a bag, but if you have strong insect pressures, the sooner you start the better.

4. What to use:

You can use either ziplok sandwich bags, or the cheaper type that has a tucking pouch on one side. With ziplok bags, you should cut off the plastic above the actual ziplock with a sharp kitchen shears to allow easier installation around a small, developing apple. But open the ziplock a little before doing this, or you will lose the ability to open it easily. Make a couple of small cuts at the lower corners of the bag to allow any moisture to escape. You can then install these ziplock bags without the use of any type of ties or staples. For the lightweight side pouch type bags, tear the pouch edges to produce a bag that is symmetrical on both sides, hook it over the apple, then fold and roll it up until it is fairly snug. Staple the rolled up/folded portion with a small mini-stapler. A regular office stapler is a bit klutzy to use for this application. Bags should be prepared for installation prior to going out in the orchard and getting up on the ladder. It can be done the night before at the kitchen table, or on the couch while watching American Idol.

5. After you have these bags installed, you can forget about spraying with chemicals, surround, or anything else unless you have something like an aphid infestation on the leaves of the tree. The fruit will be protected right up to maturity. So, while preparing and installing the bags can be called tedious and labor intensive, which it is, the real advantage is that it only has to be done once. On the other hand, spraying, whether with chemicals or something like Surround, will have you out there lugging the sprayer around over and over again, right up to harvest. Insects will not enter the bag even if there is a small space around the stem, since they like to fly right in and light on the apple, and are not smart enough to look for a little entryway. On apples, this takes care of plum curculio, codling moth, and apple maggot fly if you get there in time and get the apples in bags while they are still small and undamaged.

6. In addition to bagging most of my apples this year, I am undertaking an experimental program with nectarines, and considering bagging the peaches as well. For the nectarines, I have purchased a smaller type of ziplock called a "snack food bag", which I cut in half with a strong scissors (you have to cut right through the ziplock portion), then staple both the unsealed ziplock end as well as the open side. I am making two little 3" X 3" minibags from each snack food bag, which I figure will be about the right size for the nectarines. There is nothing to lose, because in all the years I have had nectarine trees around, I have never been able to produce a ripe nectarine due to constant attacks from the oriental fruit moth, even when I spray the trees every 3-5 days. I thin the nectarines, and the OFM gradually picks them off one by one until there are none left. Leaving an OFM damaged nectarine on the tree results only in a pectin-dripping, sticky little mess that stops growing soon after the OFM visit. It is possible that you could find ready-made ziplock bags of the appropriate size at a craft store or such, and you wouldn't have to do the cutting in half, but I bought mine at Safeway which was most convenient for me.

7. With diligent spraying, I have been able to produce some very nice peaches, but I see great advantages to bagging them too, unless it results in mildew or some similar problem. For the peaches, I will use the full-size ziplock sandwich bags, prepared the same way as the apple bags, with the plastic above the ziplock strip cut away to allow easy installation. This bagging business is taking me some time to do, but if it permits me to leave the sprayer in the greenhouse, it will all be worth it.

8. It is possible that, as the fruit achieves final maturity, it will be too large for the bags and burst right through. If that happens, I think it will be just great. By that time, the insect threat will be over.

Don Yellman, Great Falls, VA

Comments (57)

  • jellyman

    Posey:

    I am still bagging, and as of today have installed more than 800, on apples, necs, and now peaches. I don't see that I have much choice this year. Insect pressures from plum curculio have been extraordinarly high, and I don't even want to think about the coming codling moth and apple maggot fly. I just can't spray enough to keep all these critters off the fruit, even if I go out there every three days, much less at the recommended 10-14 day interval. I am getting a little better at the bagging, although it is work, and a bit tedious. Have decided the most practical bag to use is the ziplock sandwich with the top trimmed off, and a cut in each corner. It is easier to install, requiring no staples or ties, although it is a challenge to install on short-stemmed fruits like small peaches.

    If these Univ. of Minnesota researchers have found baggies effective against apple maggot, with no detrimental effects on the apples, you have got to ask: Why wouldn't they be equally effective against codling moth and plum curculio? And why not just leave them on all summer long, and get protection against everything? I will also be curious to see if the bags prevent surface fungal infections on the apples like sooty blotch and flyspeck, which are present on many of my apple skins at the end of the season. I have a strong feeling that if the apples survive the bags at all, these surface blemishes will also disappear.

    Some of my fruit has now been in bags for about 10 days, through several rainshowers, and looks fine so far. In fact, and this may be wishful thinking, the bagged fruit seems to be growing a little faster than the control group.

    Don Yellman, Great Falls, VA

  • kurtg

    The plastic bags worked well for me last year (we are in MD, directly adjacent to the USDA research center) for a few months (insects and other issues), until the tree rats found them (prior to harvest), but they had some huge, perfect apples and pears to enjoy, lol. I stappled them together and put a small hole in the corner.

    This year the Plum Curculio has taken out almost everything even though I tried to spray (when weather permitted).

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  • bvbrown_gw

    Scientific supply companies (like Fisher or VWR) sell plastic bags of various sizes called "Whirlpacs". They are used for keeping biological samples (we use them for insect trap samples), but they might be great for you because they have a thin wire tab on each side of the opening that would allow you to seal them around a stem. Get the right size and you wouldn't have to mess around with stapling bags, etc., and they would hold onto the tree more securely. I think they cost about 10 cents a bag.

    Brian

  • ksrogers

    Haven't done it yet, but I do believe that if I buy a roll of that white plastic non woven fabric cloth and cut it into rectangles that are heat sealed on two sides it should offer the best protection. The fabric is soft, flexable and allows light, air, and water through. They don't break down. Maybe even make a huge long bag to cover a whole limb of apples. Anyone have a Food Saver, and can get some of that light weight plastic fabric should have no problems making bags of any size. Wonder if this idea isn't already out there someplace. Rice paper, I would expect, would quickly dissolve.

  • jellyman

    KSRogers:

    Why would you want to take a product that works and is cheap (Safeway ziplock sandwich bags @ $2.49/100) and try to improve on it with variations that require more time and expense?

    Sure, you could cover a whole limb with a sleeve of non-woven fabric, but why would you want to when all you have to do is bag the apples with baggies?

    The ziplocks go on very easily on apples -- I am up to about 2 per minute, not counting time to move the ladder -- and so far look as if they are going to do the job. Maybe produce the best apples I have ever had.

    The jury is still out on peaches and nectarines, but if that works I will never be without bags again.

    Don Yellman, Great Falls, VA

  • bonnan_bui

    I did some test bagging today per Don's original post. The zip-loc was the easiest to catch to for reasons Don gave in his follow-up post. My Goldrush was very short stems so I quickly gave up on the tie-baggies. The Libertys have longer stems so I did both for trial. My original intention for bagging was to reduce sooty blotch: read that somewhere last year. I plan to do more (~100) this weekend.
    Jim

  • ksrogers

    Put your fruits in those plastic bags, and you have cooked fruits don't you?? No Safeway here.. Any clear plastic sealed or totally covering those fruits will make the bag act as steamer, unless you punch a few small holes for water and ventilation, but that defeats the purpose. Paper bags will break down in a few days/weeks. If a limb has 5 apples, and gets a single sleeve, it will keep bugs off a branch, for not only all the fruits on that branch but also foliage protection. I do have plastic cheap bags here, but I would be concerned about heat build up from the hot sun.

  • bebble

    I'd really hear how the peaches go - I've never seen a one make it through the season on my grandads place - something always gets to has little trees he took so much care of.

    Oh, and they make those ziplocks now for fruits and stuff w/ those little "breathing holes" in them - do you think this would possibly help w/ ventalation/condensation in deep humid south?

  • kurtg

    The plastic bags worked fine here last year, save the furry tree rats. I did have to clip the corners when some filled with water.

    I decided to go ahead and bag a few again this year. I bagged about 100 so far (Suncrisp, Pristine, Shizuka, Jonagold) and may do more this weekend (young trees). I will try to do the plums too which I should have done earlier. This was a hectic Spring and we have young trees so hope to be better prepared next year when they should all be fruiting.

    I do the ziplocks and staple the lock so the wind doesn't unlock it and blow them off. The apples are golf ball size now. Last year I got to them when they were cherry size and the tree rats got them when they were tangerine size. This year the trees are fenced for our dogs and I havn'te seen any tree rats since the dogs starting doing thier thing around the trees.

  • envirocop

    Anyone doing this? Please report on how it is going. My nectarines are getting to where I might want to take the time to bag them.

  • jellyman

    envirocop:

    I bagged my nectarines, and it's not working out. Somehow, insects, which I believe to be earwigs, are getting in the bags at the stem and penetrating the nectarine skins. They start getting pectin on the surface, discolor, and fall off. Nearly all of my over 100 bagged nectarines have fallen off. I think in the case of nectarines it may be necessary to bag and spray simultaneously. Nectarines seem to attract insects more than anything else I have seen.

    The apples are doing much better, however, Only a few bags have fallen off and they seem to be growing normally. The verdict is still out on the peaches. Quite a few bags with peaches have fallen off, but there are still a lot up there. I think it is also earwigs doing the job on the peaches.

    Might have both bag and spray them too.

    Don Yellman, Great Falls, VA

  • chopstocky

    Jellyman,
    Thank you for this awesome post and your research! I am clipping this and saving it for next year.

    I'm afraid it's too late for my apples this year. Every apple in sight has PC damage many times over. I go out at dusk and see the little *@ on the golf ball sized fruit. They run from me now.

    Please continue to update us on your results....

    Chops

  • joereal

    I tried bagging some of my nectarines with the expensive Japanese bags last season. The fruits that were bagged have paler color (bags are opaque), fruits not having good flavor compared to the unbagged, and for those bagged fruits lower in the canopy, they wre full of earwigs. Earwigs love that environment: free food, stable temperature, higher humidity, protected from birds and other predators, and constantly in the dark (opaque bags), what more could they ask for?

    Next time I go fishing and the nectarines start to ripen, I know an easy trick to obtain high quality free live bait. Sunfish love to munch on these critters.

  • kiwinut

    I bagged some of my peaches this year. Only one bag has fallen off so far, but not the peach. Many of the un-bagged peaches are still looking good, as well as most of the bagged ones. One bagged peach was covered with clear ooze coming out of holes. There were three stinkbugs in the bag. Don't know for sure that the stinkbugs were the culprits, but they are the prime suspects right now. The real test will occur when the un-bagged peaches get wiped out by bugs and squirrels, and the bagged ones become the primary targets. One thing I have noticed so far, the bagged peaches have not rotted, even though there is a lot of moisture trapped in the bags.

    ~kiwinut

  • Peter5a

    I've tried brown sandwich bags, plastic bags and socks. The plastic bags blew off right away for me. Also, it looked like it was cooking the fruit. Brown paper bags worked ok with a stapler, but I noticed after a while that the birds figured out that bag=goodies. The athletic socks stayed on, mostly, although you had to wait until the fruit was of a certain size to use them You also had to dye the socks or they looked unsightly. The birds also learned to associate the socks with fruit. I've heard that those women's peds that are real thin like they use to try on shoes at the shoe store work very well, but I never see them for sale in bulk at the store. Besides, this is a small town....

    I guess it pays to keep plugging away at it rather than giving up.

  • gcmastiffs

    Pantyhose cut into sections work very well against insects, and until the squirrels discovered them, I thought I had solved the problem of thievery. The PH dry out very quickly after a rain and are easy to slip over the fruit.

    But, the tree rats figured it out and I was finding pantyhose and apple cores/remains on my fence posts for as long as the apples lasted:(.

    Next year it will be wire cages, 10' tall and as long/wide as needed to completely cover the trees. Having small trees, and only a few compared to some of you, I think it can be done. Does anyone know of a screen that squirrels can't chew through? I've been looking at hurricane screens, but if they can only repel 150mph winds and driven rain, I doubt it will stop a squirrel(G).

    Growing fruit shouldn't be this frustrating! It really makes me wonder how big orchards do it - how they have any fruit left after insects/weather/varmints attack.


    Lisa

  • Bruce_in_ct

    I bagged some apples and quinces this year after reading all the NAFEWX success stories last year. I used 1-pt Bespak freezer bags which the hardware store had on clearance. Unfortunately, the store can't re-stock them or the 1-qt bags I use when grafting, but that's a different story.

    I originally stapled the bags, but realized I had damaged lots of fruit trying to staple close enough the the stem to hold the bags on. So I switched to twist ties. The bags look like a nice size for the apples, but they might be too small for the quinces.

  • kurtg

    We grew strawberries from 1 to 25 acres and had hundreds of cherry trees. I think the bigger the patch, the easier it is. If you control the borders, there aren't as many problems inside.

    Tree rats are a problem when you only have a few trees and they have nesting spots nearby. We never fought them on the farm. I too found the empy bags last year. The apples lasted longer than those unbagged (i.e. past the insect damage), but they always when missing a few weeks before any were ripe enough to pick. This year the furry rat chasing dog did me in when she pulled off all the bagged fruit as toys.

    Next year I am going to bag everything again (apples, pears & plums) before the Plum Curculio is a problem.

  • bejay9_10

    Kurt - you have a furry, rat chasing dog that climbs trees too?

    Amazing!

    Bejay

  • kurtg

    The only time I wished I had standard instead of dwarf trees is when I came home and saw the dog with her pile of bagged apples. Noone at home had a clue what she was up to when they let her out. She beat the furry rats and I the the prize, lol.

  • erdolphin

    I bagged my nectarines (first year tree and fruit) and they are not rotting, even tho it gets moist in there. I do have the bottoms slit for drainage. At first I didn't see any damage, but now all of them have a little brown scab. Even tho I didn't expect a crop this year, I do hope to get some to eat so I know what works. We'll see if the fruit continues to mature well.

    Japanese beetles are skeletonizing the leaves. I've seen them all over for weeks, but not my yard, so I thought I didn't have any plants they liked. Evidently I was wrong.

  • jellyman

    erdolphin:

    I also bagged my nectarines, and it did not work because I stopped spraying the trees and earwigs got into the bags and did the job that was previously done by oriental fruit moth and plum curculio. The nectarines have been falling off, bags and all, over the past 3 weeks. My conclusion is that bagging may be helpful on this fruit, but I can't stop fairly regular spraying as well if I ever hope to see a ripe nectarine.

    The peaches are showing some of the same signs, and some have fallen off, but many are still up there and look relatively ok. I think it would also be helpful to continue spraying those occasionally in addition to the bagging, which I don't think, in itself, is responsible for the problems, and does protect against fly-in insects. The trouble with earwigs is that they crawl all over the tree, and love to get into crevices. I think many insecticides would take care of them, and there would be no insecticide contact with the fruit because of the bags.

    I applied a very large and expensive batch of milky spore last summer, but did it in July which was a little late. It takes two years or more for the milky spore to spread and become fully operational. As a result, I also have some Japanese beetles working on my apple tree, and plan to give them an application of Sevin which is very effective against them. All my apples are bagged, and while a few have fallen they are mostly fruits that had other problems such as cedar apple rust damage. On the whole, the apple bagging is a success so far.

    Don Yellman, Great Falls, VA

  • kurtg

    Don,

    I was curious if you sprayed before you bagged? I don't recall any bugs in the bags last year, but I just did apples- not the more attractive stone fruits- and I had sprayed well before bagging (once dry).

  • joereal

    I bagged my pink ladies using the Ziplock quart size freezer bags. The bags cost less than $0.10 each. I removed the top plastic part above the zip and cut the corner edges at the bottom of the bag as suggested by Don in his nice post. It is amazing that you can lock the zip tightly around the stem, and the bags have held on even with very strong winds. The Pink lady apples are the last ones to ripen in my yard, and usually all the birds come to my yard in our neighborhood because I am the only ones with apples late in the season. It would be a feat for them to break through the thicker freezer bags. I will wait and see. I also bagged the Stark Jumbo apples, Jonagold and other apples. Only some were bagged for comparison. So far, the apples all are looking good and have the normal coloration as the unbagged ones. I hope I am going to taste an undamaged tree-ripened Pink Lady apple this time around.

    Pink ladies are susceptible to fireblight, I only suffered one branch damage this year. Next year, I will bag the whole tree with a fine mesh cloth to keep out the bees during bloom time (major entryway of fireblight). I have already grafted a pollenizer unto its branches, then remove the mesh cloth after blooming, and bag the apples again next year.

  • erdolphin

    Jellyman,

    Thanks for the info. I did find a hopping insect inside the bag but couldn't ID it because it got away too fast. No earwigs yet. I wonder if that sticky tape around the trunk would stop them. All my fruit is still on the tree.

    I didn't spray first because I didn't know about the spray schedule until too late, so my damage may be from before the bagging. We shall see.

    It is my understanding that you need to not only treat your own yard with milky spore, but all your neighbors! My tree's leaves are fragrant and I'm sure is a very good lure for the little devils!

  • Peter5a

    I got inspired after Don's post and tried again. So far, the bags are holding on pretty well, even after two pretty fair wind storms. I can't remember if I tried trimming off the top above the zip loc the last time I tried. I think it is necessary, though. Also, I notice that these generic "shur fine" brand baggies I am using this year have a particularly tight lock. There may be brand to brand differences, or even batch to batch differences here.
    I wonder if the bags will be protection against birds.

  • silver_creek

    I have followed this discussion with interest, as last year we lost close to 50% of our fruit to codling moth (so far the only real pest here). We investigated various sprays, but now have decided to bag. We have installed 1000 japanese apple bags- difficult to install and expensive at $.07 each, and close to 700 ziploc sandwich bags, much easier and cheaper, but already showing condensation....the great experiment. I wonder if anyone here has tried beneficial insects such as lacewings or trichogramma wasps?

  • erdolphin

    I do get condensation in the bags, but have slits in the bottom for drainage, and so far no mildew or mold. I did notice today that the staples in a couple were starting to dig into the fruit. Fortunately I only have one tree to worry about.

  • harryt

    I use the cheapest Ziploc bag, with corners cut off for drainage. No problem with cooking, maybe because of my zone 4 location. PC does its damage before apples are big enough to bag, so I spray right after petalfall and 2 weeks later. Still have some damage, but not too bad.
    Tree rats here are called squirrels, electric fence around evry tree has solved that problem. Harry

  • letsski

    Hi folks,
    I have posted on this subject before but thought I would weigh in again. I use women's socklets - the nylon little booties used at women's shoe stores. I place them over the fruit, use a bread bag tie to secure them around the stem and they work perfectly.

    They keep the bugs out (including earwigs), they breathe, they stretch, they're cheap (I bought a box of 200 for $4.50) , very easy to install (I pay my kids a nickle an apple) and they are reuseable.

    They are even brownish green so they look halfway decent.

    This is my 5th year using them on my peaches, apples and pears and have never had a problem.

  • wayne_5 zone 6a Central Indiana

    That sounds interesting, skiman

  • bejay9_10

    letsski - I just happen to have a lot of those "socklets" left over from my working years - taking up space in my dresser drawers, now that I'm retired.

    Now - if my Anna and Golden Dorsett start really producing (just recently planted last year), I will definitely have a use for those socklets. Hate to see anything go to waste, thanks a lot for the tip!

    Bejay

  • jellyman

    Skiperson:

    I like the socklets idea too, particularly for things like peaches and nectarines that seem none too happy in plastic. Maybe the socklets would be more successful than plastic at keeping the blasted earwigs out.

    Did you talk some ladies shoe store into selling you a box, or is there some other source either by mail or otherwise? It sounds like you got them at a very attractive price. That's not much more than a ziplock sandwich bag. Price matters when you are putting on a lot of these things.

    Don Yellman, Great Falls, VA

  • letsski

    I went to a women's shoe store, found the manufacturer's name on the side of the box and then contacted them via the internet.

    Yes, I got a few strange looks from the customers and employees. I tried to explain what I was going to use them for, but I think they thought I must have had some type of foot fetish. Oh well - they work great.

  • dethride

    Can you provide the name or email address of the socklet company? I live out in the sticks and women's shoe stores are hard to come by.
    thanks,
    Herbert

  • gcmastiffs

    Letsski, I tried cut up stockings on my Apples and Peaches - and while they worked great against insects, and dried out quickly after rain, the squirrels figured them out very quickly. They had no trouble tearing into them.

    Greenish socklets/stockings may work better, mine were black or tan. Anyone know if squirrels can see colors? I'll try green ones next season. Plus a bigger gun, faster dog and more traps(G).

    Lisa

  • joereal

    I think it will not work against the squirrels if you color it green. They will know by the smell of fruit. Since the socklets are also absorbent, while not douse them in some organic smelly repellants (hot chili pepper extracts, bitter melon juice, etc) before putting them in.

    But the color may help protect against the birds. Bird doesn't like brown color.

  • wayne_5 zone 6a Central Indiana

    Just today at Meijer's stores I saw a box of footies. These are socklets of short and long sizes [longs could be cut shorter]. These are boxes of up to 200 socklets that they use on people who come in without socks who want to try shoes on. They are sheer nylon.

    The manager said they pay $4.00 + for a box and because they had plenty of them on hand he would sell me a box for $5.00. This box had some already taken out of it and had 153 footies in it.

  • joereal

    Here's one store selling footies on the net

    Here is a link that might be useful: Footies for they Fruities!

  • Elad_Fox

    Hi, I'm new to this list. Actually this whole apple bagging is what got me here. I'm glad I'm here. These footie things sound great to me. I had been considering using these plastic bags with a cotton drawstring:
    www.thepolybagstore.com/shop/products.php?&producttype=14&imgVa
    Has anyone any experiance with these bags?
    Looking forward to hanging out here.

    Elad

  • garyt33

    This is my first year with producing pear trees. Is there any reason to bag pears?

  • bejay9_10

    Yas, especially if you don't own a furry, rat-chasing, non-climbing tree kind of dog.

    Bejay

  • jellyman

    gary:

    I don't know where you live, so that limits my ability to guess which types of insect pests you might have to deal with, but, in general, the main pest of pears is the plum curculio, although codling moth can also have a go at them. Intensity of pressure from these and other insects varies significantly from year to year depending on winter weather, rainfall, and proximity to orchards or other trees that perpetuate the insect life cycle.

    Thin your pears to one per cluster, and watch the remaining fruits carefully for signs of damage. You will quickly learn whether insects are going to be a problem in your location. Prevention of insect damage is the main reason to bag fruits, but bagging does not inhibit the common squirrel. As others have pointed out above, the squirrel is at least as much or more of a problem on pears in some places as insects. For the squirrel, there are lead pellets, impelled toward the squirrel from the barrel of a high-velocity pellet gun.

    Don Yellman, Great Falls, VA

  • garyt33

    LOL,that works for me Don

  • boballi

    What were the end results last year?

  • theniceguy

    Any follow ups on how bagging etc turned out?

  • Shelly D

    I've bagged my apples and pears this year and it's worked very well. HUGE apples in the bags, pears too, and I bagged very late in the season. Jellyman, if you're still around, how do you store them after harvest? My only option cold enough is a fridge. In the bags? Out? Washed before storing?

  • hungryfrozencanuck

    I will post some photos later but this year I tried bagging, apples, grapes and chums with either ziplocks or organza bags to keep the birds/bugs away.

    Organza bags being the nylon mesh bags used for wedding gifts and the like. I bought mine from: http://www.yourorganzabag.com/organzabag.htm. I used Moss Green as they are not visible in the foliage. I used the 6x9 bags but are they are a bit short for long grapes. Perfect for plums and apples and small bunches of grapes.

    I trimmed off the top of the ziplock just to the zipper part. Then at each bottom corner I cut off a triangle of plastic to leave about a 3/4 - 1 inch hole for ventilation.

    After 4 months there is a big difference. The ziplocks act like little greenhouses. There is nearly always significant condensation inside. The bags have a tendency to collapse and even with the drain holes there can be 5-10ml of cumulative water condensation inside. Earwigs like to crawl up via the condensation holes and hang out.

    The Organza bags have no issues. The are well sealed, no bugs get inside and ventilation is perfect.

    For apples, there does not seem to be a big issue with the heat/humidity. They seem to be growing and coloring up roughly the same no matter which bag.

    For the plums and grapes there are a huge difference. Once starting to turn color there is skin breakdown and rot formation in the ziplocked grapes. Coluration of the grapes also seems to be better in with the Organza bags.

    My Organza bags cost about $0.22 each vs $0.04/ziplock. However after 3 months they still look pretty much like new and as I am harvesting grapes I keep the bags for re-use next year.

    Another positive is the Organza bags have no perperation time (ziplocks you need to trim 2 corners + the tag) and are super easy to install. The Organza bags have a drawstring, you just open the bag, pull the string then tie a bow over the branch.

    For me, for the look (my trees don't look like they are covered in plastic), the ease of installation and the ventilation I will be using Organza bags from now on. Not sure for apples if you would see a difference with airborn fungus and scab but they work great for all insect and bird related problems.

    I think they would work awesome for peaches as they breath very well but keep the bugs/birds out.

    Just my experience up here in zone 4.

  • gardenjack

    I have used the "non woven fabric" aka frost cloth as suggested by "KSRogers" with good success on Mangos - It dries quickly and breathes.
    Now using Grease proof paper bags on Peaches, Nectarines and Plums.

    You can search for Cookie bags, Grease resistant Paper Sandwich Bags.
    they work well if not too much rain, Double them up if very wet area.
    Here they are dirt cheap.
    We prepare the bags by sticking a Twist Tie on with masking tape - about 1.5" from the top so that it sticks out sideways - It frees up one hand trying to hold the tie....
    Look at these - they have a wire on one side - prepare your bags so the wire sticks out sideways. It works easier.

    https://www.alibaba.com/product-detail/GUAVA-BAG-pomegranate-bag-Fruit-growing_60073356232.html?spm=0.0.0.0.6HySXO

    These bags are used widely in CN , Taiwan and other east Asian countries.
    Whole mountainside looks like snow with the white bags - (or brown)
    I prefer the white so as to keep Heat and condensation down.

  • cwlucking

    I use the organza bags on my nectarines, peaches, figs, guavas, pomegranates, apples and pears. They work perfectly for all of them. Easy to use, cheap (about $.15/bag on ebay) and resuseable, keep everything out, let air flow. Love them. I'm in Phoenix.

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