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Pests and diseases

UK Garden Centre - Information about pests and diseases of fruits

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Apple
Aphis (greenfly) – It feeds on the young shoots and leaves, causing them to curl up, and early in winter it lays on the spurs. To control, spray the trees in March with Abol-X or Sybol (but do not use on blackcurrants).

Blossom weevil – It attacks the buds as they open; the grubs upon hatching eat the stamens so that they cannot pollinate. Spray in March (or earlier), with petroleum-oil emulsion, but not on Cox’s Orange or Newton Wonder.

Blossom wilt – Caused by the brown rot fungus, it attacks all the top fruits, causing the blossom to turn brown and die. It then works down on to the spurs and branches, also causing die-back. Wash with petroleum-oil in January but not on Cox’s Orange or Newton Wonder.

Codling moth – A serious pest, the tiny white grubs of which bury into the fruits leaving a pile of brown dirt at the entrance hole. Spray with derris each month from June to September to control.

Scab – Usually affecting trees deficient in potash, it attacks shoots, leaves and fruits as black blisters. Apply a 2% lime-sulphur spray in early spring. Spray Rival, Cox’s Orange, Newton Wonder and Egremont Russet instead with a 1-part-in-400 solution of murfixtan.

Winter moth – They are green and feed on the blossom then on the leaves, often defoliating the trees. Late in June, they fall to the ground and pupate in winter, when the wingless females crawl up the trees to lay their eggs. Grease-banding the trees in October will prevent this.

Blackcurrant
Gall mite – This pest causes big bud, the buds swelling with the pests inside and bearing no fruit. Blackcurrants are sulphur-shy but will take a 1-part-in-50 solution early in spring. For Wellington XXX and Westwick Triumph, dilute more.

Blackberry
Cane spot – Attacks all cane fruits as brown spots on canes and leaves which fall. Spray in spring, before flowers open, with Bordeaux mixture.

Raspberry beetle – See raspberries.

Rust – It may attack the underside of the leaves as orange spots, causing them to fall early. Control by spraying with Bordeaux mixture early. Control by spraying with Bordeaux mixture early in summer and again in October after picking the fruit.

Cherry
Bacterial canker – It affects mostly black cherries, first as yellow leaf spots causing leaves to fall, later as brown areas on branches. Spray with Bordeaux mixture – 500g (1lb) copper sulphate and 375g (¾ lb) slaked lime to 30 litres (6 gal) of water in spring before buds open.

Black fly – The tiny black eggs winter on the twigs; the grubs, on hatching in spring, feed on the leaves and new growth. Control by routine spraying of the trees with tar-oil in January.

Fruit moth – The small green caterpillars enter the flower buds and later bore into the fruits, making them uneatable. The fruits fall, the moths emerging in spring to lay their eggs on the blossom. Dust with derris as the blossom opens.

Fig
Scale – It also attacks vines, apricots and peaches, appearing as white scale-like insects, clustering on the stems and sucking the sap. To control, spray with Malathion in early March.

Gooseberry
Mildew – it appears in summer on the shoots and fruits as a white powdery fungus. Later it turns brown, peels off and falls to the ground to winter there. Cut away and burn any infected shoots. To control, dust plants with Karathane in early May.

Grape
Mealy bug – The most troublesome vine peat. It is white and produces masses of cotton-like threads on the stems. It also attacks peaches and apricots. Vine rods must be scraped each winter to prevent the beetles hiding, and then the stems painted with methylated spirit.

Vine weevil – The fat, creamy-white larvae burrow into the soil and attack the roots. Exterminate it by soaking the soil in March with Lindex solution, or if growing in pots, add a little Gammexane at potting time.

Winter moth – See apples.

Peach
Leaf curl – The most troublesome disease, attacking the leaves and causing them to curl. Later, they take on a powdery look and die. Spraying with one-per-cent lime-sulphur at bud burst will control to some extent.

Pear
Blossom wilt – See apples.

Mealy bug – See grapes.

Midge – The most troublesome pest, it lays eggs on the blossom buds in spring, boring into the calyx, the tiny grubs emerging to feed upon the bud, which causes it to turn brown. To control, dust with derris in spring.

Scab – Though the symptoms are similar in appearance, scab on pears takes a different form from that which attacks apples. All pears are lime-sulphur-shy but all are tolerant of Bordeaux mixture, so use this to spray them early in May and again after blossom set, early in June.

Plum and gage
Brown rot – It attacks the fruit spurs, the blossom (as blossom wilt) and later the fruits, causing them to mummify on the trees. To control it, spray with a one-per-cent lime-sulphur solution in March (before the blossom opens) and with a derris spray after petal fall.

Sawfly – As well as plums and gages, it attacks apples and gooseberries when in bloom, laying on the flower buds, the white caterpillars burrowing into the buds and causing them to die. As a precaution, spray with Lindex, apples at petal fall, plums ten days later; or use derris and a spreader.

Raspberry
Raspberry beetle – It also attacks blackberries and loganberries, laying its eggs on the flowers. After hatching, the white grubs eat into the fruits. To prevent, dust with derris as the flowers open and again when the fruit has set.

Raspberry moth – It winters in the soil and emerges in spring as a silver-brown moth to lay its eggs on the flowers. The caterpillars eat the fruits, often entirely. To prevent, dust with derris as for raspberry beetle.

Silver leaf – Its presence it shown by the leaves taking on a silver appearance and the trees soon die. It enters through cuts. For this reason, pruning should be completed by mid-July so that the cuts will ‘gum’ quickly. There is no known cure.

Red and white currant
Clearwing moth – It lays on the stems in summer. The grubs, upon hatching, burrow into the wood to feed on the sap, causing the stem to die. To control, spray with tar-oil in winter.

Strawberry
Aphis (greenfly) – Most troublesome of strawberry pests, it feeds on the sap and reduces vigour, allowing virus diseases to enter at the punctures. To control, spray with Lindex in April before the blossom opens, or with derris solution.

Botrytis (mildew) – Both are forms of mildew, botrytis attacking the fruits, mildew the foliage as a powdery white fungus. Dust with Orthocide, containing 10% Captan, as soon as the first green fruits have set. In areas of high rainfall plant resistant varieties.

Red core – Caused by a fungus which attacks the roots, causing them to turn red at the centre and the plants to die back. There is no cure, so, in low-lying, badly drained land, plant in raised beds or plant resistant varieties.


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