My Struggling Orchard

Question:

I'm in Toronto, Canada. I just bought a house that has cherry trees, apples, plums planted but not in good shape. Being a novice, I am struggling to read up or seek advice from experts like you.

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1. Cherry trees blossomed well but the fruit as it ripened (blackened) covered up in fungus. Even those without fungus on top had a small white insect inside them. What measures could betaken to cure/prevent such in next season on the same trees?

2. The plum tree has the base almost rotten away. It gave fruit this year but fruits are not ripening.

3. The grape vine has bunches of green grapes with some of them going dark.

Appreciate your time and nay help you could provide,

Thanks,
Nusrat from Toronto, Canada

Answer:

Nusrat,

Wow! It sounds like you inherited some great fruit trees. Too bad you had to inherit a host of problems, too. Let's take them one at a time.

1. Cherry Trees: Controlling insect pests and fungus on cherry trees can require specific timing, so you need to be certain what you're dealing with before deciding on what course of action you should take. Because I can't see your tree, I can only try to point you in the right direction. One of the most common insect pests of cherry trees is the cherry fruit fly. The larvae of this pest are white or cream colored and feed within the fruit. Here is a link to more information, including pictures of the adult fly and the larvae and some suggested methods for control. http://www.canr.msu.edu/vanburen/fcfly.htm

Brown Rot is a main fungus disease in cherry trees. Try this link with information, pictures and control recommendations. (http://www.nysaes.cornell.edu/pp/extension/tfabp/brstone.shtml)

2. From your description, things don't sound too good for your plum tree. The fact that it's producing fruit is a good sign, but the fruit not ripening could be a sign of trouble. If a large portion of the trunk is rotted, the tree probably won't survive. Here is a list of certified arborists in your area. I would recommend shopping around for someone who can assess whether or not your tree is structurally sound and if so, what can be done to preserve it. (http://www.isaontario.com/pages/find_arb.php)

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3. It sounds like your grapes are starting to ripen unevenly. Concord grapes seem most susceptible to this problem. Some grapes in the cluster remain sour, hard and green while others develop the purple color and soften during the ripening process. Although it is not clearly understood why this problem occurs, it seems to be more prevalent during warmer than average summers.

A solid program of pruning, pest management and soil enrichment done over a period of three of four years should help rejuvenate what is salvageable of your orchard.

I hope some of this information is useful. The following are links to more resources you might find useful.

Good luck!
Ellen

About The Author: Ellen Brown is our Green Living and Gardening Expert. Click here to ask Ellen a question! Ellen Brown is an environmental writer and photographer and the owner of Sustainable Media, an environmental media company that specializes in helping businesses and organizations promote eco-friendly products and services. Contact her on the web at http://www.sustainable-media.com

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