OR­CHARD FRUITS

Garden Answers (UK) - - Problems Solved -

Q Why are pear leaves marked? MYRA DAVIS, BY EMAIL

A Your pear tree is suf­fer­ing from pear blis­ter mite (Erio­phyes pyri). This mi­cro­scopic gall mite feeds on the un­der­side of leaves, caus­ing pale green or pink raised lumps on the leaves that later go dark brown. There’s no chem­i­cal or cul­tural con­trol but clear­ing up fallen leaves in au­tumn may help. For­tu­nately, the pest rarely af­fects crop­ping, although it does look un­sightly.

Q Can I stop my plums rot­ting? EMILY HUGHES, BY EMAIL

A Brown rot is a fun­gal dis­ease that of­ten af­fects ap­ples and plums. The air­borne dis­ease spores en­ter the plums through pecks made by birds or wasps, then a small brown area rapidly en­larges, of­ten with con­cen­tric rings of buff-coloured spores. The prob­lem can be worse if fruit set is heavy – crowded plums quickly spread the dis­ease from fruit to fruit, af­fect­ing much of the crop. Next year, thin fruit ear­lier in the sea­son and re­move af­fected fruits as soon as you see them. Don’t leave dis­eased fruits on the tree over winter as these can make twigs die back.

Q What turned my pears black? FRANK ASH­FORD, SOM­ER­SET

A Pear midge is a tiny in­sect that lays eggs on the em­bryo fruits be­fore the flow­ers open. Early next spring, care­fully spray the buds with West­land Re­solva Bug Killer (£10 for 250ml conc). The midges over­win­ter in the soil so rake up fallen fruits and mulch to break their life­cy­cle.

Pick off rot­ten plums when you see them

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