Treating Mildew on Young Apple Trees!
Powdery mildew is a constant threat to apple trees. While it won’t kill its host, it will cause severe damage to all component parts of the plant, including buds, blossoms, leaves and the fruit itself. If left untended, you run the risk of producing no fruit at all, so how do you combat this threat to your produce?
First, you must recognise the symptoms of mildew in your trees. If a tree is infected, there will be a delay of around four days before the spring buds open. The buds will be covered in spores upon opening. The leaves and blossoms will likewise be covered in spores upon leaving the buds. The spores resemble a light grey or white powder, hence the name, and infected leaves will curl upwards. Both sides of the leaves and shoots will be covered in this powder.
When planting your trees, look to plant them in sunny areas. Excessive shade and high humidity increase the risk of your trees being infected, so be mindful of where you want your trees to go. If any shoots appear white during early spring, prune them immediately to prevent them spreading spores. Fungicides are a useful tool to curb the spread of mildew and you should check to see if the fungicide of your choice is specifically labelled for fruit trees before you purchase it.
You can spray your trees with sulfur fungicide before any symptoms appear. Care in its use is advised, however. Be sure not to use it within two weeks of using a chemical fungicide or if the temperature exceeds 90°F.
The best technique to treat powdery mildew is to plant varieties of apple that are resistant to it. These include Braeburn, Gala and Delicious. Some of the more popular varieties, such as Granny Smith and Jonathan, are highly susceptible to the mildew.
Powdery mildew can be found throughout the world wherever apples are grown. Since it can render trees unable to produce fruit, it is essential that you either prevent the problem from developing or treat it immediately upon discovery in order to protect your harvest.
An alternative to costly shop bought products is the use of:
Bicarbonate of soda in a gallon of water!
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