Keep diseases to a minimum by providing good air circulation throughout the orchard and garden so that plants dry quickly. Avoid splashing water on the foliage of your fruits. Remove and destroy diseased plants as they develop. Some diseases spread by insects, so keeping the insect population in check helps prevent disease problems. When possible, grow varieties resistant to diseases such as apple scab and cedar-apple rust. Dormant lime sulfur sprays control many fruit fungal diseases.
Black knot often attacks plums, prunes, cherries, and peaches. It looks like black, warty growths on branches that kill them. Control it by selecting resistant varieties, cutting out young branches as soon as the disease starts to manifest, and using a fungicide labeled for use on black knot.
Cedar-apple rust (shown above) is a disease that causes bright yellow spots on apple leaves and horn-like growths on leaves and young fruits. Use a fungicide labeled for use on cedar-apple rust to help control it.
Fire blight is common on apples and pears, attacking branches, fruits, and flowers. Control it by pruning infected branches out and treating with a bactericide labeled for use for fire blight.
Mildews, including powdery and downy mildew, attack many fruits. Try to keep foliage dry as much as you can and prune and train the plants to encourage good air circulation. Apply a fungicide labeled for use on mildew when necessary.
Scab often attacks apples after periods of wet, spring weather. It causes scab-like wounds on leaves and fruits. Control it by planting scab-resistant varieties, removing any affected foliage and fruit, or using fungicides labeled for use on scab.
Viruses often cause mottled or misshapen growth. Unfortunately they cannot be treated and affected plants are best destroyed. Purchase plants from a reliable source to ensure they're virus-free when you plant them.
Continued on page 8: Wildlife