Attention to the attack of monilia in stone fruit trees

With the high temperatures and humidity, fungi find the optimal conditions for their development. One of those that affect fruit trees is Monilia. Do you want to know how to prevent its attack?

The ripening time of the fruit trees, together with the flowering period, is when you have to be most alert to the attack of moniliosis or brown rot. This attack is produced by different species of the fungus Monilia sp. They attack both stone and pip fruit trees although their incidence in the latter is much lower. Because their symptoms are very similar, it is difficult to determine the specific species that is attacking our fruit tree without a previous laboratory analysis. However, preventive and curative measures are very similar for any of the species.

Symptoms

If the attack is during flowering, some areas of the flowers will start to blacken and eventually dry out completely.

In the fruit, the fungus attacks through small wounds in the fruit. This is why you have to be especially careful with hailstones in late summer. A small brown-grey spot appears on the affected fruit, which grows until it covers almost the entire fruit. Generally, the fruits mummify and do not fall from the branches so it is very important to remove them to avoid infection in the next harvest.

It is better to prevent…

The attack of this fungus is related to temperature and humidity conditions. The situations in which its proliferation is favoured are temperatures between 20-25ºC and high humidity. It has a high incidence because cycles of infection can take place in a row. Once it attacks the tree, it can hibernate in wounds, flowers or mummified fruits the previous year and when its optimal conditions take place it starts the infection cycle.

Thus prevention plays a key role in preventing this fungus from spreading and killing our crops. First of all, it is important that our trees are healthy and nutritionally balanced since, like all diseases, they usually attack the weakest specimens first. In this sense, the elimination of modified fruits and branches with chancres is essential to prevent their attack. It is also important to choose resistant varieties of fruit trees, irrigation management, pest control (which weaken the tree) and pruning/lightening that will favor the aeration of the aerial part. As moniliosis can attack the fruit once collected, it is important to be careful when collecting them so as not to damage or wound them (as this is the main entrance route for the fungus).

…to be cured!

In the market there are different fungicides indicated for monilia. It is important to know that not only chemical treatments will put an end to this disease, although they will reduce its incidence. It is important to determine at what time of the cycle and which areas are affected (flowers, fruit or branches) in order to choose the most appropriate active material. The main phytosanitary brands have specific fungicides for Monilia in their catalogue. We recommend that if you suspect an attack of monilia you go to your nearest garden centre to get advice on which product is best suited to your needs. Remember, if you use chemical products you must comply with the safety period determined by the label before consuming the fruit.

If you are into organic farming, there are products on the market that are suitable for this type of cultivation that are rich in copper and sulphur, such as Bordeaux broth or horsetail extract.

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