Apple Scab

What is apple and pear scab?

Apple or pear scab shows itself as black/brown scabby patches on the skin of the fruit, and grey-green scabby spots on leaves. Its encouraged by damp conditions, and the fungus overwinters on young stems and fallen leaves and affects ornamental and edible apple and pear trees in late spring and summer.

What does apple and pear scab do?

Not only can scab disfigure the surface of the fruit, in severe cases it can cause distortions and cracking, which put the fruit at risk of developing brown rot. While mild cases are superficial and don’t affect the eating quality of the fruit, scab can result in small and misshapen fruit and affect storage quality. Where scab has affected young shoots, it’s possible for puckering or blistering to occur. Leaves can turn yellow and drop prematurely, weakening the tree.

How to treat apple and pear scab?

The four best methods to control apple and pear scab are:

  • Destroying diseased leaves and fruit – Removing young, blistered or scabby stems and gathering up and destroying any fallen leaves and fruit is the first step to controlling apple scab and pear scab.
  • Pruning – As scab thrives in damp conditions, it’s a good idea to further prune trees, opening up the branches and increasing airflow.
  • Fungicide spray – Try spraying trees with a fungicide containing myclobutanil, such as Bayer Garden Systhane Fungus Fighter, which is suitable for use on both edible and ornamental varieties. Do make sure you select ‘Systhane’ Fungus Fighter, as opposed to general Bayer Fungus Fighter.Depending on the severity you will have to use it from first bud break in spring and then regularly through the season until a month or so before any fruit ripens. Leave at least 14 days between spraying and harvesting.
  • Growing scab resistant trees – Scab can become tolerant of certain fungicides, however, there are several scab resistant apple and pear trees available from Southern Fruit Trees- please ask for advice.

Typical scab on leaf

Apple Scab
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