Apple Scab on the Crab Apples… Not Good
File this one under lesson learned.
I recently noticed that the crab apple fruits and leaves on our young tree were badly affected by a deeply unsightly, blotchy discoulouration:
Via a Google search, I found www.treehelp.com which seems to describe the problem to a tee:
“This most common of apple tree diseases can affect both the leaves and fruit of your tree, leaving it not only unsightly, but also devoid of fruit. As well, a reduction in the leaf-count of your tree may leave it vulnerable to winter injury or other diseases.
“When it attacks the leaf it is characterized initially by soft, velvety, olive-green spots. These spots may, at first, resemble specks of mold such as those one might find on a loaf of bread. As the infection advances, the lesions enlarge and transform into thick, scabby growths.”
Again, via Treehelp.com:
“Apple Scab lives within diseased leaves, and will survive even the most unforgiving winter only to spread again in the rainy days of spring.”
Which brings me on to the three compost sacks full of decomposing leaf-mould that I filled up last Autumn and decided to store in a conveniently out-of-the-way spot, tucked away behind the barbecue… about three feet from the crab apple tree:
Lesson learned: don’t store rotting leaves (particularly sycamore leaves covered in blotchy bits) anywhere near your healthy trees. Those sacks of leaves are already in the council composting bin, along with all of the crab apples on the tree and most of the foliage. And I won’t be collecting up fallen leaves again for any purpose other than chucking ‘em out.
In the meantime, no crab apple jelly for us this year. And I’ll have to cross my fingers and hope like hell that the fungal infection doesn’t persist next year, otherwise we might have to think about starting again with a new tree in winter 2012/13.
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