Brown rot on apple tree

Brown rot image

Question ...

We have an old apple tree in our front garden that seems quite healthy. It produced a good crop of apples when we first moved in 20 years ago. However, the crop has declined to fewer and fewer apples, with many going brown and rotten on the trees. The leaves go brown and curled.

Answer ...

The apples are suffering from Brown Rot (Monilinia fruitigena ) a very common and widespread disease. Brown rot is an airborne fungal disease that attacks damaged fruits. Prune out all mummified fruits, along with a small section of the spur. Pick up all windfalls. Dispose of all diseased material as the spores will overwinter on this material and re-infect the tree in spring. The same fungus that causes Brown Rot is also responsible for Wither Tip and Blossom Wilt that appears on young growth in the spring. If these diseases are identified early, and then pruned out, the risk of Brown Rot should be reduced.

Be rigorous in your pruning, cutting out dead and diseased branches each year. Old trees can get very crowded.

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