Yarra Valley Home Gardeners

Ideally, it’s best that QFF is kept out of the Yarra Valley’s home gardens and commercial fruit production areas.

Yarra Valley fruit growers need to prepare for the possibility that QFF may impact fruit production in the region.

Home gardeners can be a part of the Area Wide Management solution for QFF prevention and control. Monitoring for QFF and responding quickly to control QFF early will help protect the Yarra Valley’s fruit production and insect biodiversity.

Practicing “good garden hygiene” means that there is less chance that QFF spreads to you, and less chance that QFF survives if it does come to you. The four garden hygiene P’s help us prevent QFF in the Yarra Valley;  Planning, Pruning, Protecting and Picking.

Home gardener Planning

Planning

Planning your garden layout with a good design supports the ease of day-to-day management of the production area. Aim to make it simple to manage and easy to prevent fruit fly.

  • Only plant what you can harvest for eating fresh or cooking and preserving.
  • Plant dwarfing varieties of fruit trees, and shape fruit trees to fit under netting.
  • Consider what time of the season harvest occurs for each variety so you can protect them.
  • Place “QFF host plants” in spots that can be individually treated if required.
  • Avoid planting fruiting hedges that are not likely to be harvested.
Home Garden Pruning

Pruning

Pruning keeps fruit trees small and manageable and helps to manage the total crop load from year to year. Prune trees to a reachable height – fruit higher than this is hard to reach, becoming an attractive fruit fly breeding site.

  • It is easier to get netting over the top of smaller fruit trees. Structure to hold netting up is easier to build if the plant is well pruned.
  • Pruning activities include tree shaping. Use the espalier technique and train the fruit branches to the ideal height.

If reshaping and resizing of the fruit trees is not possible, consider removing the fruit tree altogether. Remove any unmanaged weed plants that host QFF.

Home Garden Protecting

Protecting

Protecting the ripening fruit and veggies with netting is essential in areas where QFF is a risk, and the crop is highly valued.

  • Use a structure to keep netting off the plant
  • Netting holes need to be 2mm x 2mm or smaller
  • Install netting after pollination, when fruit has set, before it starts to ripen

QFF is a higher risk in areas where it has been found before, and where there are unmanaged fruiting plants.  Work with your neighbours to reduce the QFF risk in the immediate area.

If you buy fruit or are given fruit grown in an area with fruit fly, cut it up and process it in the confines of a kitchen with treatment and rubbish options at hand. Do not place any infested or suspect fruit or scraps in your compost.

Home Garden Picking

Picking

Picking your fruit regularly prevents QFF from being able to breed in the unpicked ripe fruit.

  • Pick all fruit as it ripens.
  • Never let infested fruit drop to the ground.
  • Carry your harvest into the kitchen to inspect and process.
  • Store your harvest in a protected area, checking regularly for developing larvae. If any fruit has QFF larvae inside it, treat and dispose of it. Do not place any infested or suspect fruit in the compost.

Where fruit has accidentally fallen, it can attract QFF from other areas or it could contain QFF larvae inside. Pick it up as soon as possible and treat it appropriately.

An area wide approach is necessary to reduce and control QFF. Community programs and neighbourhood participation will reduce re-infestation of QFF into areas that are being managed well.

QFF prevention, management and control needs a multipronged approach to succeed. Along with good garden hygiene, monitoring for QFF with traps in the garden and inspecting fruit will help you know if you have a QFF issue. Using QFF bait regularly and placing other lures to kill QFF will help you achieve a fruit fly free harvest.