Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Crop Protection

Crop protection covers a broad range of tactics used to control a variety of biotic and abiotic problems that affect tree health, fruit quality, crop productivity, and even limit access to markets. Some of the biotic factors include: insect and mite pests; disease agents; weeds; nematodes; and vertebrate pests (birds, rodents, deer, etc.). Abiotic factors are environmental stresses such as temperature (too hot or cold), solar radiation (UV), rain, humidity and wind. Pages within this section of the website will address approaches employed to control the most common biotic and abiotic problems.

Pages within the Crop Protection Section

Biological Control

Biological control is an important component of any insect or mite management program whether its strictly an organic or conventional program. This page covers the basic concept of biological control and provides links to more extensive information.

Disease Management

A disease can be described as any change from the normal condition of plants, which detract from their appearance, or make them less useful or valuable. On this page we cover biotic diseases caused by bacteria, fungi and viruses specifically affecting fruit trees or their fruit.

Insect and Mite Pests

This page explains the concept of integrated pest management and lists useful resource links to in-depth management recommendations and tools.


There are several nematode species that can cause problems in tree fruit orchards. Parasitic nematodes that can damage tree fruit roots are the Root Lesion, Root Knot, and Dagger nematodes in apple trees, and the Root Lesion nematode in Cherry and Pear trees. This webpage will cover descriptions and control tactics for the major Pacific Northwest orchard nematodes.

Orchard Pest Management

A practical reference on tree fruit IPM. Insect hosts, life stages, life histories, damage, monitoring, biological control, and management are described for most major and minor pests in orchards as well as major natural enemies. This information is designed to be used in combination with the WSU Crop Protection Guide and WSU Decision Aid System to inform integrated pest management decisions.

Pear IPM

Historical difficulty and recent challenges with pear psylla and mites have sparked interest among growers, consultants, fruit packers, and researchers to take a closer look at the strategies we use to control these pests. Two industry-directed WSU projects focused on integrated pest management of pears began in early 2017.

Weed Control

Tree fruit growers need to continually manage weeds in orchards, especially in the “weed-strip,” the three to eight feet wide band under the trees, in the tree row. This webpage will discuss the How’s and Why’s of orchard weed control.

 Pesticide Topics

This page includes resource links to tree fruit production related pesticide information including topics on Worker Safety, Maximum Residue Levels (MRL’s), and Pesticide Applicator Licensing and Testing, just to name a few.

Washington State University