realenglishfruit

Top fruit tree growing advice and information from Real English Fruit

Category Archives: Pest and disease control

Video: Ladybirds, great friends for fruit growers

A ladybird is the biggest friend the fruit grower can have. They inhabit fruit trees and eat the aphids. Unfortunately, this year – the video was filmed in May 2019 – there are far too many aphids when compared to the number of ladybirds, and so on their own the ladybirds can’t keep them under control. You can help by spraying the trees with a soapy liquid made with a washing-up liquid, at the concentration that you would use to do the washing-up. It won’t kill the ladybirds, nor the ants. But it will finish off the aphids.

Narration: Dan Neuteboom
Camera: John Paddy

Further information on the RealEnglishFruit website
https://realenglishfruit.co.uk/

Video: May – Mildew on fruit trees

In spring and early summer, mildew can develop on fruit trees very quickly, particularly in certain weather conditions. It’s a good idea to visit your trees every week, and when you do, be sure to bring a basket with you. Cut away mildew-affected shoots, and put then into the metal basket. From here, the shoots can disposed of, placing them into the non-recycling bin. The whitish appearance of mildew infection is due to the thousands of fungal spores on the leaves. Eliminating infected leaves and shoots helps control outbreaks of mildew.

Narration: Dan Neuteboom
Camera: John Paddy

Further information on the RealEnglishFruit website
https://realenglishfruit.co.uk/

Video: How to control aphids on fruit trees

This is a bad year for aphis. You can always see when you have an aphid attack because the leaves curl up. If nothing is done, the aphids will spread through the entire tree. There are ladybirds in the trees – these insects are predators of aphids and so help control aphid infection – but this year, the weather conditions have favoured the aphid presence and so the ladybirds cannot get rid of them. Ants are also a good indicator of aphids, as they milk them, using the sweet nectar that they exude as a source of food. To get rid of aphids on fruit trees there is a simple organic method. Spray the tree with a dilute washing-up-liquid solution, at the same sort of concentration that you would use to wash your dishes.
Narration: Dan Neuteboom
Camera: John Paddy

Further information on the RealEnglishFruit website
https://realenglishfruit.co.uk/

Video: Black aphids on cherry

In late May, we see a fan-trained cherry tree that has set a good crop and has healthy leaves, but it is also showing a problem. The young leaves are curled up, as a result of black aphids. These can be a problem because of the damage that they cause to the leaves, and in addition, the sweet nectar that the aphids exude also attracts wasps. Infected shoots should be cut right out and placed in a basket and eliminated. Don’t drop the cut shoots on the ground because ants will take the aphids back into the tree so that they can continue to use them as a source of sweet nectar. An organic treatment for cherry black aphids is to spray the tree with a diluted solution of washing-up liquid, the same sort of dilution that you would use to wash dishes, to the point of run-off.
Narration: Dan Neuteboom
Camera: John Paddy

Video: How to control aphids on apple trees

At this time of year (late May), you often see ants climbing up a fruit tree. They are there because they are looking after their herds of aphis. The aphids produce a sweet liquid that the ants collect and use as a foodstuff. So if you see ants going up your fruit tree, from the ground into the branches and then onto the leaves, you know that you have aphids. How can you get rid of the aphids on your apple tree? This depends. You may have enough ladybirds, hoverflies and lacewings to control the aphids naturally, and if the infection is not too bad, they will remove most of the aphids and the tree won’t suffer. However, if you find leaves completely folded up, there are too many aphids and it will be very difficult to do something about it. One way of controlling aphis attack is to spray the tree with a soapy liquid, with ordinary washing up liquid at the same concentration that you use to wash the dishes. However, this will not solve the situation when it has reached the stage at which the leaves are curled up. Another possibility is to use an organic spray called pyrethrum. This will be partially effective. The overall message is to make sure that the amount of aphis in your tree does not get too excessive, and take into consideration whether there is sufficient presence of predators to keep the aphis population under control.
Narration: Dan Neuteboom
Camera: John Paddy

Video. May: How to control wasps in the garden

We are not the only ones who like the fruit that we grow in our garden orchard. Birds, wasps and other things also like to enjoy the fruit. Wasps can be a real problem, particularly with plums and cherries. At garden centres they sell various types of trap, or you can use a simple home-made device. Just take a large jam jar, fill it half-full with a very sweet sugar solution in water, make a hole in the lid and place it near or in the fruit trees. The wasp will enjoy the sugar for the rest of its life. An easy solution of how to catch wasps in the garden.

Narration by Dan Neuteboom, camera John Paddy

Video: Plum sawfly treatment – pheromone traps

To watch the video, scroll down and click on the thumbnail. The plum sawfly becomes active in late May and the first week of June, and it stays active right up until we pick the plums. The sawfly itself is quite an attractive flying insect, with reddish head and thorax and a yellowish abdomen, but unfortunately it lays its eggs on the plum flowers, and the young plum sawfly larvae tunnel their way into the plums as they develop. So the net result is that when you are ready to enjoy your plum, you discover that someone else has got there before you. For plum sawfly control, you can use a pheromone trap to attract the plum sawfly. The pheromone mimics the scent of the male sawfly, attracting the female and preventing her from laying her eggs on the plum tree. The plum sawfly pheromone trap show here is triangular in shape, with a sticky cardboard base containing a lure that releases the pheromone gradually. It stays active for about 6 weeks, and then you have to replace the lure. This video was filmed on 28 May, so right at the beginning of the period in which these traps should be placed. Once the sticky board is full of sawflies, just pull it out and replace it. Garden centres sell packs of replacement sticky cards and lures which makes the process cheaper. So if you install a plum sawfly pheromone trap now, and replace it in six weeks time, it will greatly reduce the damage caused to your plums.

Plum sawfly life cycle

The plum sawfly life cycle begins when the female fly lays its eggs on the plum blossom. The larvae burrow into the young plum, which reacts to the attack by exuding a sticky resin – often the only noticeable sign of the presence of the sawfly. The larva eats some of the plum from inside, and the plum may drop to the ground early, or the mature larva may crawl out and drop to the ground. In any case, when in the soil, it forms a cocoon, well disguised by soil particles. It spends the entire winter in the cocoon at a depth of about 5 cm. It pupates at plum blossom time. Another method that can be used to control the plum sawfly is to gently loosen the soil around the base of the tree in late winter and early spring, giving birds the chance to locate the pupae and eat them.

Video: Peach-leaf curl – prevention

Peach-leaf curl is a disease, caused by the fungus Taphrina deformans, that can be recognized because the leaves of the tree curl up and take on a reddish colour. It is very damaging to the tree and so steps should be taken to avoid it. The best system would be to grow peaches in a glasshouse, but when the trees are outside, ideally against a wall on the south side, what is really important is to ensure that during winter and spring, the buds and the wood remain dry. Here you can see that Dan has built a simple frame around the tree so that he can cover it with tarpaulin or some other type of waterproof sheet. Openings at the side encourage the wind to blow through the tree, helping to keep it dry. Once the flowering is over, at the end of May, you can safely remove the cover. If your trees suffered peach leaf curl last year, you have to ensure that all the affected leaves have been removed, because the spores on affected leaves are still very infective even after the leaves have been cut away from the tree and could easily affect it again. More information on peach leaf curl here.

Video: Tree bark, tree health, and canker treatment

It is a good idea to take a look at your tree at regular intervals and assess its overall health. The colour of the bark provides a good indication of health. If the colour of the trunk and main limbs is a bright grey shade, you can be sure that there are no drainage problems, and the root system is happy. If on the other hand the colour of the main trunk is reddish, this is an indication that the tree has been waterlogged, and the root system has suffered. In this case the only solution is to try to improve the drainage.

At this time of the year, April, you can check for other diseases that are easier to locate when there are still no leaves on the tree, such as bacterial canker and ordinary tree canker which is caused by a fungus. If you find canker, use a special curved canker knife to cut it out. Cut away the brownish, canker-affected parts until the wound is entirely green. Then coat the wound with anti-fungal paint. The tree will heal the wound itself.

Tasks for garden fruit trees in June – part 2

Check your pheromone traps for codling and plum moths. Renew the lure if necessary. Start spraying the apple varieties which have a tendency towards bitterpit in the fruits. Apply fruit nets where bird trouble might occur, cherries in particular. Continue thinning out the fruitlets to doubles or singles. Remove scabby fruits at the same time. Start the summer pruning programmes of plums, cherries and greengages. The same applies to nectarines, peaches and apricots. Hang rolled up corrugated cardboard in the trees to attract the caterpillars which would otherwise damage foliage and fruits. Regularly inspect and renew when caterpillars are caught. Deal with aphids if present in too large a number in folded-up shoot tips. Do not let the trees dry out. This in particular applies to potted trees. Continue with foliar feeding if foliage of the fruit trees is not up to the mark. Make a start on preparing the ground where new trees will be planted in the autumn.

After natural drop, in June it is advisable to reduce the number of fruitlets in a group like this

After natural drop, in June it is advisable to reduce the number of fruitlets in a group like this