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Fruit tree pests and diseases

Brown Rot.

Another Apple Day favourite question regards the common issue of Brown Rot.  Apples, apricots, cherries, nectarines, peaches, pears, plums, quince and even the medlar can be exhibit the white pustules.

The brown rot is caused by fungi belonging to the genus Monilinia .  Whilst Monilinia fructigena can cause brown rot in most fruit trees Monilinia laxa typically affects pears and stone fruit

Monilinia is characterised by the white pustules that spread rapidly over the fruit, often in a concentric circle pattern. The fruit eventually is covered and if left, shrivels, becomes mummified and hard.   Brown rot may also affect stored fruit, so it is worth regularlly inspecting and remove affected fruits.  The infection starts where the skin has been damaged, this may be caused by insects, such as codling moth, birds or other fungal infection, such as scab.

In the garden there is little the home gardener can do other than follow good hygiene practices, such as disposal of infected fruits and the removal and disposal of mummified fruits from the tree. A fungicidal spray programme for scab may offer some protection from brown rot, though this is not a claim made by the manufacturers.   Good air movement through the tree is also helpful.

Fruitscape can help by providing appropriate pruning of the tree and advising on tree health.