Fruit Tree Disease & How To Prevent It

by Andrew Kelly

Virtually any garden design can be improved by the inclusion of a fruit tree, or, if you have the space, a number of fruit trees. Fruit trees can produce the most amazing displays when in blossom and, of course, you have the advantage of it bearing edible fruit later in the year. If you are in the process of designing a garden and it includes a fruit tree, such as a plum tree, which produces pitted fruit it will be necessary for you to investigate ways in which to avoid disease as these types of tree are prone to be susceptible to disease.

A sadly common fruit tree disease is Brown Rot which is a fungus that appears on fruit. Usually it develops on fruit that has fallen from the tree and been left to rot. As Brown Rot is a fungus it can spread very quickly as fungus produce lots of tiny little spores which, due to size, are highly mobile.

Luckily fungus needs specific conditions in which to thrive. The usual places where fungus establishes itself are damp, dark places where the air often remains stagnant. One of the best ways to reduce the risk of fungal infection appearing on your fruit tree is to prune it properly and regularly.

A good strong and healthy tree with vigorous growth will be more able to avoid infection, or, if it does develop disease it will be well equipped to recover from it quickly. One of the ways in which we can ensure that our trees remain in peak condition is to prune them regularly. Pruning trees is vital to well being in many ways and, in the case of fungal diseases, pruning helps to increase air flow the branches thus minimizing the number of places which would be suitable for fungus to establish itself.

As well as pruning to improve air flow it is important to prune any areas that show symptoms of fungal infection. Place any clippings in the bin or burn them immediately. Do not allow any infected material anywhere near your fruit tree and pick up any fallen fruit regularly so that it does not stand a chance of becoming infected.

Another fungal disease that can appear on a fruit tree is cytospora canker. Cytospora canker shows itself as dark patches of soft material on the branches of a tree. A large callus can form from which a substance, looking somewhat similar to gum, oozes from the bark. Usually cytospora canker appears close to or right on an old wound a it is during the healing process that it becomes infected by the pathogen.

Again, to avoid this fungal infection/disease it is necessary to prune your fruit tree correctly. Great care should be taken to ensure a clean cut that will heal quickly and stand little chance of becoming infected with cytospora canker or any other fungus.

Fungal disease can be a real nuisance in any plant but in a fruit tree is can cause a great deal of stress for the tree and ourselves (because of the loss of the crop). Brown Rot and cytospora canker are but two fungal diseases of which a gardener should be aware and we strongly advise that you investigate this topic a little more to ensure that you understand the problem and learn how to deal with it if it should appear in your garden. Any knowledge of tree care is always beneficial but with fruit trees you need to take extra special care if you want to be rewarded with a fine looking tree that produces much blossom and plenty of fruit every year.

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