Apples are among the most loved fruits by young and old, succulent and delicious, they are excellent as an end meal or as a half-day snack.
Their trees are often found in home gardens because they are elegant and easy to care for, but this does not mean that there are no diseases of the apple tree that can compromise their health.
In fact, there are many diseases of pome fruits that do not even spare apple trees, for which fortunately, in most cases, there is a remedy.
It is important to pay the utmost attention to the first symptoms of the appearance of a disease, to the first signs of a plant malaise.
The yellowing of leaves and branches, the appearance of spots on the trunk or fruit with obvious defects must be assessed very carefully and the cause immediately identified.
Pests, viruses and “cancer” are among the most common diseases in apple trees.
Careful prevention can prevent the attack and appearance of diseases, but loving care and attention must be paid to every single aspect of cultivation.
Pome Fruit Cancer
Among the diseases of the apple tree with the most widespread and most difficult to treat is the so-called pome cancer.
The cause of its appearance is a very aggressive type of fungus, which creeps into the structure of the plant starting from its bark. The small lesions on the trunk and branches, caused by cuts or insects, are the favorite passage of this fungus, which prefers the more recent cortical parts.
Once it has settled inside the tree, the fungus grows and fructifies, covering wide areas of the branches. Obviously, not all plants that have lesions on the bark are subject to the action of the fungus, but it is necessary that certain physical and environmental situations exist for it to develop.
This ascomycetes fungus mainly attacks plants with nutritional deficiencies, which are therefore weaker and more susceptible to apple disease. In addition, already weak plants that live in particularly humid environments are even more susceptible to this type of fungus. You can rely on the use of organic supplements to reintroduce the substances that have been lacking in the plant.
The first signs are the drying up of the affected areas, on which cracks appear from which the wood turned reddish.
On the opposite side of the depressions, instead, the bark is as if swollen. This desiccation of the bark has obvious repercussions on the normal life cycle of the leaves and, therefore, of the fruits.
It strikes mainly in spring, when the flowers bloom and the fruits make their first appearance, causing them to wither. The fruits which survive are in any case small, bland and of very poor quality, not suitable for consumption.
On their skin there are small spots which cause the necrosis of the fruit.
Before acting with chemicals, it is important to understand the causes that have led to the appearance of one of the most aggressive diseases of the apple tree. By analysing the soil, it is possible to identify the nutritional deficiencies that are usually found in low percentages of nitrogen, iron and potassium. Only at an advanced stage is chemical action indispensable.
Diseases Of The Apple Tree: Scabbing
It is one of the most aggressive diseases of the apple tree, especially if taken at the beginning of its appearance, and it is certainly one of the most common.
It is a cryptogamic problem particularly feared by farmers, because it is capable of causing considerable damage to apple trees.
It manifests itself especially during periods of great climate change and the main symptoms of its presentation can be found on branches and leaves, fruits and flowers. It is important to immediately identify the first symptoms, which manifest themselves as faded spots on the top of the leaves. Over time, they take on a defined color and contours.
This fungus is favored by particularly humid environments and its development occurs mainly in spring, when the rains bring the spores of infected leaves fallen in winter to maturity.
Preventive treatments are usually carried out when the plant resumes its natural vegetative activity and, if, when it ripens, it is noticed that the apple tree does not show any symptoms of the disease, they are interrupted when the nut fruit is fully ripe. Usually, preparations based on nitrogen are used.
In organic farming, in order to avoid the use of chemical fungicides, we usually proceed with the elimination of all the leaves fallen around the tree, as well as the use of organic soil.
Furthermore, knowing that the fungus develops mainly under high humidity conditions, it is advisable to avoid over-wetting the leaves.
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Apple Tree Diseases: The White Sickness
Among the diseases of the apple tree, the white sickness is one of the most frequent but, in reality, less harmful.
Also in this case there is an accelerated development in case of high humidity conditions and in fact the most fertile periods for its appearance are the months between June and July.
The powdery mildew, the fungus which is the cause, mainly attacks weak plants. The sign of its presence is a white or brown powder on the leaves, which slowly leads to necrosis of the leaves and, therefore, to their fall.
To prevent its appearance, it is advisable to water the plants always at the root and never in the aerial parts and to prune the plant periodically to ensure proper ventilation of the leaves.
Nitrogen fertilizers and sulphur dust are the most common preventive strategies used to defend plants from one of the most common diseases of the apple tree.
If the infection has already struck, an excellent remedy is the decoction of horsetail, also called horsetail.