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