Tree Following May 2017 Part 10
Many thanks to Squirrelbasket for hosting this monthly meme #Treefollowing
A few days of sunny weather has resulted in a mass of blooms on my James Grieve Apple tree.
A week of late frosts and very dry winds mean I have had to keep a very close eye on weather conditions, I’ve been watering around the base of the tree in an attempt to prevent problems from lack of moisture around the roots during dry conditions.
We have also recently had a couple of weeks of very annoying late frosts which have resulted in me creating a giant candy floss structure in the garden.
Strange, but effective. I covered the entire tree with an extra thick fleece, and It looks like it has worked and every flower continued to bloom unaffected by the cold.
But even better.. The Bees Approved.
Another gratuitous bee in action shot.
After the flowers have been pollinated and fertilised the fruitlets start to form. (I’ve been waiting months to type fruitlets.!).
The promise of apples.
It’s not all been smooth growing, I noticed one of the growing tips, about 6ft high, was looking a bit deformed, on closer inspection I discovered a deformed cluster of flowers and white dusty substance on some leaves. Unfortunately not sherbet but powdery mildew .
Powdery mildew is a fungus which is common on new growth on apple trees.
Symptoms of Powdery Mildew
The RHS say the symptoms of Powdery mildew are:
White, powdery spreading patches of fungus on upper or lower leaf surfaces, flowers and fruit, Tissues sometimes become stunted or distorted.
One of the common causes of Powdery Mildew is dry plants, which is what I thought I was managing to avoid in my garden. Apparently not.
The fungus overwinter in buds. Spores are produced in spring on emerging leaves, flowers and shoots and spread by wind. Infected flowers will not set any fruit. The progression of this disease can be affected by climatic conditions. A harsh winter can reduce the risk of infection; it spreads most rapidly in summer when warm, sunny days are followed by humid nights.
Control and Prevention
Since the 30th November 2016 there have been no fungicides available to use on edible crops.
Pruning: In winter, prune out any shoots and buds that have been infected with mildew. Shoots will appear silvery/grey, and buds distorted.
Cut back to several buds below the infection.
In spring, carefully remove any infected leaves and shoots.
Prune directly into a bag to prevent spores from spreading. Check trees weekly through the growing season and carry on cutting out any infection.
On small trees this can be a very effective method of controlling mildew, if done thoroughly. Prune trees regularly to get good air circulation.
Cultural control: Mulch in spring around trees to stop the soil drying out.
Water your trees in dry weather. Avoid applying too much nitrogen such as in bulky animal mares, as this will promote lots of soft growth which is highly susceptible to infection.
Variety choice: Varieties can vary in their degree of resistance to mildew.
Try to avoid susceptible varieties when planting new trees.
Some Trees that Garden Organic found to be less susceptible to Powdery Mildew are:
Allington Pippin, Arthur Turner, Brownlees Russet, Court Pendu Plat, Crawley Beauty, D’Arcy Spice, Discovery, Early Victoria, Fortune, Golden Noble, Golden Reinette, Grenadier, Jupiter, King Edward VII, King of the Pippins, Lord Derby, Redsleeves, Rev. W. Wilks, Upton Pyne, Worcester Pearmain.
And a few varieties which are more susceptible are:
Cox’s Orange Pippin, Crispin, Golden Delicious, Jonathan, Lane’s Prince Albert.
I’ve decided to keep a regular watering regime up around my apple tree, and to cut off the infected shoots. The infected shoot will go into the household waste bin.
So for now all looks good.
Until next month.