Apple maggot not a concern for new Surrey orchard

Manager of parks says the pest will not thrive if apples are picked before they fall

The apple worm has infested several fruit trees in the Pacific Northwest

A community orchard may soon be coming to a park in South Surrey, despite concerns about an invasive maggot such plantations can sometimes bring.

A group of residents in Ocean Park have submitted a plan to create a community orchard on the north end of Ocean Park Terrace, at 12815 22 Avenue. While it’s city park land, the orchard would be run by interested members of the community.

At least one resident has expressed concerns with the plan, saying it could bring an infestation of the apple maggot, or railroad worm.

The maggot has been the cause of quarantines in Washington State, where there were bans on transporting apples into some areas. The move was put in place to protect industrial orchards.

The maggot arrived in B.C. a few years ago, but has not caused the same level of quarantine here.

Surrey’s Manager of Parks, Owen Croy, was expected to brief the city’s Environmental Sustainability Advisory Committee Wednesday (March 30) night on the potential threat of the apple maggot in Surrey.

Croy told The Leader prior to his presentation that the pest shouldn’t be a great concern as long as the people caring for the trees harvest fruit before it falls.

The apple maggot thrives, he said, because it “overwinters” as a pupae about an inch and a half into the ground. If the fruit is harvested properly, the maggot won’t get a chance to thrive, Croy said.

Tree species that can be affected also include plums, crab apples and Hawthorn trees. Trees are infected when the adult form of the  insect – a black fly with a white dot – lays eggs inside fruit. The worm or maggot that hatches then consumes the fruit, which drops and the insect overwinters as pupa in the soil.

Croy said the city will likely forge ahead with plans and more public consultation for the orchard.

For more information about the plan, contact partnersinparks@surrey.ca or call 604-501-5050.

 

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