Spring is just around the corner and it is time to start thinking about spraying your fruit trees and having the veggie patch ready for planting out.
By now you should have all of your fruit and deciduous trees pruned and sprayed. If the buds are starting to swell already on your stone fruit such as nectarines and peaches it is best to spray now to prevent leaf curl with copper oxychloride.
Leaf Curl is a fungal disease which hibernates in the crevices of the tree bark and around the buds. One or two well-timed applications for most stone fruits should control the disease. The timing of the fungicide spray varies with differing stone fruit varieties. For peaches, spraying is best in late winter when buds first swell as they are just starting to loosen up.
The symptoms of Leaf Curl are curled deformed leaves which change colour. Leaves finally turn brown, shrivel and drop from the tree. The consequences of this disease can be fruits dropping early, or turning reddish-purple with warty growths on the outer surface.
Lime Sulphur is a very useful pesticide which is low toxic and controls a range of fungal diseases and pests on fruit trees, tomatoes, grapes, roses & ornamentals. Lime Sulphur is ideal as a winter clean up spray for fruit trees and roses to control hard to kill pests and diseases such as mites and also leaf curl. Lime Sulphur is ideally used when the trees are dormant before the buds start to swell. The pome fruit such as pears and apples require a lime sulphur spray to prevent disease such as Black spot, bryobia mite, pearleaf blister mite, powdery mildew, San Jose scale. Lime Sulphur is not suitable for Cox Orange Pippin or Delicious Apple varieties. For apricots, spraying at 90% leaf fall (Autumn) and again as buds show pink in Spring or late winter is recommended.
Sooty moulds are fungi which cover plant leaves, stems and twigs in a black sticky substance. In almost all cases, the sooty mould is secondary to an infestation of insects that secrete honeydew. These insects include aphids, scale, mealybugs and white flies. Treating the insects will remove the source of the honeydew and dry up the sooty mould, which will eventually fall or wash off the foliage. The mould itself does not feed on the plant but as it covers the leaf surface it is blocking light and reducing photosynthesis, essential for plant growth. Lime Sulphur is suitable to control Sooty Mould or you can simply wash off with soapy water.
We all know that gardening would be a breeze if we did not have pests and diseases attacking our fruit or veggies but with the right application at the correct time you can enjoy wonderful fruit with your family.