realenglishfruit

Top fruit tree growing advice and information from Real English Fruit

Tag Archives: brown rot

Weekly update for the fruit garden – fourth week of August 2015

Wasps have been a real hindrance all round, due to the changes in weather patterns. As a result, fruit which has been damaged by wasps or birds is now showing the usual signs of brown rot developing. It is very important to remove this fruit and dispose of it. Irrespective of whether the fruit still is hanging on in the trees or has already fallen on the ground, if it is left there, the spores of the fungus may be developing on the remaining fruits. Orchard hygiene at this stage needs to be taken seriously.

If the trees have been growing strongly, this is the right time to carry out summer pruning. Details of the summer pruning technique are explained in the Pruning Section on the website www.realenglishfruit.co.uk

This is also the right time to prune away surplus growth on trees which are being trained as cordons, fan or espaliers or step-over trees.

Photo courtesy of LHG Creative Photography/flickr.com

Photo courtesy of LHG Creative Photography/flickr.com

The effects of a Mediterranean climate on fruit trees in the UK this year

Moorpark, photo courtesy of sarahjb2007/flickr.com

Moorpark, photo courtesy of sarahjb2007/flickr.com

Fruit trees have enjoyed above average rainfall and higher than average temperatures. The winter months were practically without frost and therefore the season started earlier. Most types of fruit ripened earlier than usual as a result of these weather patterns.

There are some negative effects as well. There is a lot more brown rot to cope with. Also various fungal diseases such as scab and mildew have caused problems for many people. Orchard hygiene is therefore very important. Removal of rots and scabby leaves from the orchard area is very important. If this is not done then next year the problem is likely to be even worse. This also applies to peach leaf curl, Do not store any affected fruit. Only store clean undamaged fruit.

Click here to read an article on dealing with peach leaf curl.

A fruity detective story

The story begins with a letter.

“Hello Dan. Three years ago I bought from you 2 plum trees (1 Czar and 1 Marjories Seedling) and 1 apple tree (Bountiful) and now they have grown into sturdy trees. The Czar and Bountiful produced prolifically last year and the Marjorie Seedling less so, but this year it appeared that all three would produce magnificent crops (despite the best efforts of wood pigeons to strip the plum trees of their leaves). However, two weeks ago or so I noticed some brown patches on my Czar plums which have further developed and spread, and I am 99% certain that the tree is suffering from brown rot. Worse I am pretty certain that it has also spread to the other two trees, although it is in a less advanced state.

“I have removed the fruit concerned and I have sought information on the internet for a cure. However, all the advice is that, because this is a fungus, no cure is available. I understand that I may have to accept that I will lose this year’s crop and my main concern now is how to prevent a recurrence of the problem next year, if indeed prevention is possible. Any advice you have on what I can do in this respect would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for any help you can provide. Yours sincerely, B.G.”

___________

I of course remembered the trees that we had supplied, and the location, and so I wasn’t sure about the inception of brown rot. This is what I wrote back:
“Hello B. Usually brown rot only occurs on fruit which is nearly ripe to eat. I am therefore not at all sure it is indeed brown rot. In order to be more positive, please send me some pictures attached to your next email. I will need a picture of the tree as a whole, a close up picture of the leaves and another picture of the worst affected fruits on the tree.”

_____________

Here are the photos that Mr. B.G. provided:

011 Apple-1200

012 Apple-1200

013 Apple-1200

014 Apple-1200

015 Apple-1200

 

And here are the photos of the Marjorie Seedling:

008 M S-1200

009 M S-1200

010 M S-1200
_______________
The photos clarified the situation, and I was able to write back to Mr. B.G. immediately.
“Thank you for the pictures. Yes I do know what has happened. But first the good news!

There is nothing wrong currently with your tree; good dark green foliage and good sized leaf.

The bad news is the fruit which has been totally destroyed. The cause is the spores of the fungus ‘Brown Rot’. Earlier in the season you must have had a hailstorm. The pit marks on the fruit are visible on your photos. Wounds in plum fruits do not heal. Brown Rot fungus spores are in the air, throughout the growing season. After the hail the fruit got infected with these spores and I am afraid destroyed your crop. The points you should consider are the following;

1) Look out for a stump or old plum tree in your area, which could be the source of infection. Destroy that tree.

2) Thin your fruit to 2 per cluster as a standard procedure by the middle of June in any year. Space these doubles 6 inches apart. Brown rot fungus thrives in clusters of fruit.

3) If hail occurs again next year, spray without delay with Systhane fungicide. Once the spores get in the wounds it is too late. You can purchase Systhane from Amazon for little money!

4) Do remove all affected fruits as soon as possible from your garden. The fungus will overwinter on the fallen fruits and be ready to infect next year’s crop.

5) Water the soil under your tree during dry hot periods. If the soil dries out and then rain follows, the fruit will split and as a result, create enormous points of entry for brown rot spores.

6) Spray your fruit trees before leaf fall in November with Bordeaux mixture. This will safe guard the tree against silver leaf and bacterial canker infections.”

___________

So, all clear. The hunt is on for the rotting plum tree stump that caused it all!

Brown Rot

Brown rot, courtesy of Barockschloss/flickr.com

Brown rot, courtesy of Barockschloss/flickr.com

If there is one fungus which is a real trouble when fruit is ripening, as well as during blossom time, it is this brown rot fungus. It is caused by three different fungi: Monilinia fructigena, Monilinia laxa and Sclerotinia fructigena. It also infects blossoms of fruit trees, which become brown in appearance; the problem may persist in the trees well into early summer. It is when the fruits are beginning to ripen, whether they be apple, pear, plum, cherry, peach, nectarine or apricot, that the the brown rot fungus becomes really active. The conidia spores enter the fruit through small wounds or bird pecks, and germinate. The destructive spores soon develop and the fungus spreads around growing fruit. If the weather is favourable it is able to destroy a very significant proportion of the fruit crop. Warm and humid days suit the fungus best. It may even affect the thin young shoots, which have been supporting the growing fruits.

October fruit tree tips – orchard hygiene

Remove all dropped or rotten fruit under the tree. This to avoid a build-up of the brown rot fungus. If scab or mildew did occur during the season, remove all leaves from the ground to avoid a build-up of the spores of the damaging fungi. Apply an approved winter wash to the tree, if pest or disease have been a serious problem.