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Fireblight

Two of the photographs above are of a collection of Sorbus trees that I had in my garden. They are now nothing but a pile of ashes. The sorbus you see are members of the rosaceae or rose family – the most of which are susceptible to a disease known as fireblight.

The first thing I noticed was that the leaves were shrivelled, dead and still clinging to the plant. [These photographs were taken the last week in January btw]. The buds were also dead but still held to the plant. When I checked inside they too were gone. Necrosis had set in and the stems were dying from the top down.

The cause of this is the bacteria Erwinia amylovora spread generally by the wind blowing, insects and rain splash. It is that simple.

The recommended method of control used to be to burn the plant and that was the route I chose. I guess old habits die hard 😉 But some books recommend the pruning of the plant well below where the fireblight can be found. I simply prefer the better safe than sorry route and the chances of it affecting some of the many other Sorbus sp. that are planted in my garden.

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Coral Spot

coral-spot

coral spot

caused by the fungus Nectria cinnabarina these almost illuminous orange pustules [about 1mm diameter] take over the surface of the bark a little almost like having the measles…. [if you know what I mean] except for plants.

How they get there is quiet simple… affecting living or dead material the spores enter through damaged or necrotic wood and are usually spread by rain splash or/ and also from cutting/ pruning tools that haven’t been cleaned properly.

There is no real/ chemical control for this. But good garden hygiene is generally the best place to start. In it does infect, prune back to well below the last piece of infected material.

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A Fruit Tree Problem Shared is a Problem…

I have about 20 apple trees in my garden some in groups. Some seperate. One of them was looking particularly bad. I took a closer look….

There are two things that I spot immediately….

fruit-trees-pest and disease

....?

The scaring [left] can often be confused with the marks of apple sawfly…

….but these markings are actually a result of irregular water supply.

The fruit is quite small/ smaller than the fruits on other trees of same variety and some are out of shape.

The sudden availability of water causes the skins to crack.

This coincides with the time they where planted, the fact that they were containerised before and also that no mulching of any format was used.

The second is the wasps….

fruit-trees-pests ireland wasps

...?

the wasps…. [vespula spp.] are attracted to the fruits primarly damaged by birds… talk about lazy 😉

The suggested control by some is to find the wasps nest and destroy it.

I just can’t do that. Or you can cover the trusses with nylon/ muslin bags over the fruit before damage begins [?!] As long as its not in the house. There is nothing wrong with the tree. It’s simply the fruit that is gone from it for this year. What I will do it wait until autumn/ winterwhen all the fruit and leaves and wasps are gone and move the tree to a better spot.

A fruit tree problem shared is a problem solved….;) for next year!

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what is eating my plant…

not what... but who?

not what... but who?

I was out near The Curragh recently with really nice clients having a coffee… on the way out the door… I spotted Dolly having a go at the newest vegetarian options menu 😆

Humour aside, last year of course my cabbage plants had an absolute savaging by the insect world. Not being the biggest chemical fan in the world that I am… I inspected and it was pretty easy to see why the ‘law of diminishing returns’ had taken an entirely new meaning. Without getting into the entire lengthy discussion of insects and their habits…. for the moment I shall narrow amage of leave down to two types.

The first is by insects… [pauses] pests of plants – whose  mouth eating parts will only alow them to eat in between the veins of the plants leaves… the second type is bird damage who will eat through any part of the leaf including the vein.

operophtera brumata

operophtera brumata

In this case it is plain to see the Winter Moth Caterpillar [operophtera brumata] having an absolute feast.

To control these guys the answers are [excluding chemical warefare] pretty pre-historic. Assuming you do wish to end their life, it is by hand that is constantly recommended by almost all books… ie. they are to be removed by hand. The only other method it seems is to cover the planted area with a horticultural fleece to prevent them getting to the plant.

Whatever you do, whatever you choose to grow – remember not to get stressed and enjoy 🙂

plants require passports…?

don't hide them in there...?

don't hide them in there...?

it is so very true… One may wonder why but it is in fact very necessary.

So that I don’t bore you to absolute tears – I’m gonna break this post up into two/ three parts. But I’ll try and keep it short and to the point. The first will give you a general gist; there’ll be some links to government articles if you wish to delve a little further and then more info after if you really get into the groove 😆

Back to it and to quote the Department of agriculture [in brief]

The main objective of the European Community (EC) plant health controls is to prevent the movement of quarantine harmful organisms into and throughout the EC.

Not all plants do require however. And this can make it mildly confusing. A full list of plants that do require passports is available here. And a plant passport should appear on the plants tag as per this example:

EC plant passport/IRL/DAFF/ 1234/ wk32 qty1 plant ZP b2
Cotoneaster ‘Hybridus Pendulus’

So what relevance does this have to you the consumer? The point I make is to be careful. Sometimes a too good to be true offer is simply that. It can also be just as good an absolute bargain. But this is legislation. And although it maybe a plant – the legislation [in this case] is there for very good reason.

For example in cases of fireblight – [fireblight wickipedia] the mandatory action is the burning/ destruction and/ or quarantine of all related stock from a nursey and/ or a particular regio/ a certain radius of all plant material within that vacinity. But one could literally lose an entire stock holding in one very quick swoop. What are the options? If you do suspect or detect a case you should contact your department of agriculture.

...but not your plants

...but not your plants

Back to the the plant passport… A plant passport in one simple tag therefore should contain the following information

  • EC plant passport
  • Indication of EC Member State code
  • Indication of responsible official body or its distinguishing code
  • Registration number
  • Individual serial or batch number
  • Botanical name
  • Quantity
  • The distinctive marking ‘ZP’ for the territorial validity of the plant passport, and where appropriate, the name of the protected zone(s) for which the product is qualified
  • The distinctive marking ‘RP’ in case of replacement of a plant passport and, where appropriate, the code of the originally registered producer or importer
  • Where appropriate, the name of the country of origin or consignor country, for third country products

That wasn’t so bad… 🙂