Monilinia fructigena and apples. Protect your apples in time

Monilinia fructigena

Are you sick of looking at your apple trees? Do you see many apples turning brown or even completely rotten? Well, if you do your tree has been infected by Monilinia fructigena. This fungus typically attacks the fruits, but you can also find it on flowers or branches. When infected, the flesh of the apple rots gradually and turns brown until the entire fruit is rotten. So-called sporodochia are formed under its skin. What are the symptoms, development cycle and how can you protect your trees? We shall give you some advice in the following lines.

Basic symptoms of Monilinia fructigena

You can easily recognize this fungus. When you see the typical brown spots on the fruits, you know for sure. As already said, sporodochia, which form below surface are to blame. The skin of the fruit will crack and bundles of conidiophores will pop out on the surface of the fruit and form whitish circles. The infection can also spread from the fruits to the woody parts of your trees. Monilinia fructigena may completely destroy certain varieties.

Monilinia fructigena Photo: Radek Štěpán

What plants are usually infected?

Traditionally, apple trees, but you can also find Monilinia fructigena on pears or quinces. Other fruit trees such as plums, cherries and other trees get infected much less often.

What is the development cycle?

Monilinia fructigena survives the winter easily – directly in the tissue of fruits or branches in the form of a fungus. Ascospores and conidia are sources of the infection. It is through them the fungi spread during vegetation. Most often it spreads during very warm weather. The ideal temperatures for infection are around 20-22 °C. Higher air humidity is also required for the infection to spread.

Monilinia fructigena
Photo: Radek Štěpán

How to effectively protect your trees

Prevention is very important. Consistent removal of infected plant parts is essential. Rotten fruits and even infected branches must be removed. Further, do not forget to protect you trees against Codling moth and apply spraying. Application of fungicides during flowering is the best approach. As for chemical sprays, there are many products you can use. Just visit your gardening store.

Monilio apple rot: Photo by Radek Štěpán

Radek Štěpán

Gardening is my hobby, I have a lot of experience and I am happy to share it.

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