Author Options:

Using plastic bags for gardening? Answered

A friend is asking what he can do to protect the fruit on his trees without spraying pesticide. I told him my aunt uses little plastic bags like these to cover them up so insects don't eat them but he's concerned if it's safe/non-toxic. Can anyone help me answer this or come up with something else?


The usual answer is to net the fruit bushes or trees and or put them in a net cage (fruit cage)

Other than that your into pesticides or letting some fruit go.

If the problem is wasps than a wasp trap close but not near may help.

Commercial Apples were found to have the highest residual pesticide levels of all fruits in recent tests.

I'd say "if it's safe to store the food in, it's probably safe to grow the food in" -- but ultraviolet light potentially complicates that.

There's also the question of whether the bag will trap enough moisture to encourage mold. Gods know my cherries have a mold problem all by themselves...

Personal reaction: Unless the bugs are seriously ruining the fruit, consider ignoring them. A few pockmarks on the surface, or an occasional worm in an apple, isn't a disaster if you're growing it for yourself rather than to try to impress someone. Fruit should be expected to look like something that grew on a plant in the wind and rain and sun, not like a plastic imitation.

If you do want to do something about them, I would recommend talking to the local Agricultural Extension Agency. They will know what the pests are in your area and how best to respond to them... and these days they understand that some folks don't want to use pesticides. And it's a free service, in most places.

Here is an excellent article on various options available, the advantages and disadvantages of each.