When is a mummy not a mummy? When it’s a daddy or a dried up piece of fruit! In this case it’s mummified fruit on a very sick nectarine tree somewhere in a backyard in Sydney.
Green Harvest was sent these photos of a nectarine tree with a plea for help. We were excited because this type of problem is not often seen in our part of Queensland. While diagnosing remotely is always a challenge it would appear that the tree is suffering from several problems, including Oriental Fruit Moth, Brown Rot, and rust. Oriental Fruit Moth commonly causes sap to bleed and fruit to turn to mush. Brown Rot causes the mummified fruit to stay on the tree rather than dropping. Rust causes the discolouration showing on the leaves. The last two problems are both fungal.
If your peaches, plums or nectarines are starting to look as though they have just been dug up from a tomb you may want to consider these tips because radical and quick attention is needed to ensure the viability of the tree.
Environmental hygiene is a necessity. It is critical to remove all diseased fruit from the tree and the ground. Do not place in the compost but either burn it or remove it from the site. If the tree has not commenced flowering this season then immediately apply Lime Sulphur. This will help the old leaves drop thus removing a source of infection before the new leaves appear. Again either burn or remove all old leaves from the site. Prune your tree and apply Eco Fungicide two weeks after a lime sulphur treatment. Feed the tree with seaweed fertiliser, water regularly and mulch.
The difference between Lime Sulphur and Eco Fungicide is that Lime Sulphur is used on dormant trees as a way of sterilising fungal spores that hide in crevices in the bark and old leaf scars. Eco Fungicide can be used on a tree in active growth. Avoid using any spray whilst the tree is flowering as bees don’t like to be around sprays, even an organically acceptable one. Oh, and don’t forget to clean your tools after the deconstruction with a solution of disinfectant so you don’t cross infect other plants.
Posted in Organic Gardening