Codling moth – ‘maggots in the apple’ affect apples, pears and quinces. In spring adults hatch from cocoons to lay their eggs on leaves and fruit. Caterpillars tunnel into the developing fruit and feed for several weeks, before pupating. A second generation can hatch during the summer.
DAMAGE: Fruit are riddled with tunnels and are inedible as the flesh begins to decay. The small white, brown-headed caterpillar can sometimes be found near the core. The fruits may prematurely fall from the tree.
TREATMENT: In April/May hang pheremone traps. These consist of an open-sided box that is hung in the tree. The bottom of the box has a sticky sheet on which the pheromone pellet is placed. Male codling moths are lured into the trap and get stuck.
NOTE: Each Codling moth trap will cover up to five trees in an area of approximately 15 metres. You may need to replace the pad with a fresh refill every six weeks if there is a severe infestation.
HOW ARE DISEASES SPREAD? Most fungal infections are carried by spores being blown, from one plant to another by the wind, or transmitted in water splashes. Bacterial infections are spread in the same way although insects can also carry them. Viruses are transmitted by sap-feeding insects, especially aphids.
PREVENTING DISEASE Plants are most at risk when they have just been pruned or are damaged. It is imperative to prune at the correct time of the year – Winter season (when the tree is dormant (lost all of it’s leaves)) for fruits with a pip; apples, pears and quinces. Growing season (July/August even if fruit is on the tree) for stone fruits; apricots, cherries, gages, nectarines, peaches and plums.
Do not overcrowd trees Make sure they are planted with sufficient space between. Free-standing trees should not be planted near fences/walls/buildings etc.
Weed, water and feed your trees The healthier your tree is the more resistant to infection and disease it will be.
Disinfect tools Before and after use, especially when pruning.
Dispose of infected matter Clear all windfalls, pruning and any infected/diseased leaves. Burn or remove from site rather than composting.