No fruit from the supermarket can be as fresh and tasty as that from your own garden. Unfortunately, the joy of it can be clouded by a wide variety of plant diseases, such as shotgun disease. This can attack all types of stone fruit and lead to significant crop failures. As with many other diseases, prevention is the best control strategy.

Is the fruit of infested plants edible or not?

If cherries, peaches or plums are attacked by this disease, the fruits are usually also affected. The infestation can be differently pronounced depending on the variety. They show the same damage as the leaves. When the infestation begins, you can still eat them raw and use them for further processing, but then they usually taste relatively bland.

The further it progresses, the more inedible the fruit naturally becomes. You should then neither eat them raw nor process them further. They cripple, tear open and dry up. Usually they fall off prematurely. As a rule, some of them remain on the tree as fruit mummies throughout the winter. It is best to generally refrain from consuming infested stone fruit.

Recognize shotgun disease

Shotgun disease is caused by the fungus Stigmina carpophila. Infestation occurs mainly in areas with high levels of precipitation and after weeks of rain. From May on, the leaves of cherries or other stone fruit will initially show yellowish, later reddish to brown spots. Usually the leaves of the lower parts of the crown are particularly badly affected. The stains dry up and fall out. As a result, the leaves look like shot through, hence the name shotgun disease.

If the infestation continues, the tree will lose leaves as early as June. Sunken, elongated spots are formed on the shoots. Wound rubber leaks from them, they die. But the fruits are also affected. If they are infected, they show sunken spots with a red border. At first you can possibly still eat them, but then they have already lost their taste. The cherries either fall off prematurely or they cripple, dry up and remain on the tree as fruit mummies.

Control options

In contrast to ornamental trees, it is currently not possible to control this disease on fruit trees with suitable pesticides. So only biological control comes into question.

  • if you notice an infestation, take countermeasures as soon as possible
  • to do this, remove all infected parts of the plant
  • applies to leaves and shoots as well as to affected fruits
  • Cut affected shoots back into healthy wood
  • Dispose of all cuttings in the organic waste
  • Compost heap is not the right place for disposal
  • this fungus could spread over him again

In addition to cutting out infected parts of the plant, preparations with clay and copper, such as network sulfur, can help in the biological control of this disease. They should be used both for direct control and as a preventive measure.

Note: The spraying begins as early as March and the treatment continues until August according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Preventive measures

Fungal diseases such as shotgun disease can be combated most effectively as a preventive measure. There are various options for this.

  • When replanting, make sure it is in an airy and sunny location
  • the pruning is another factor
  • Pruning should be carried out annually in autumn
  • regular and professional pruning into healthy wood
  • can eliminate the source of shotgun disease, the shoot infection sites
  • Always remove and dispose of diseased shoots, leaves and fruits quickly
  • When winter pruning, cut out dry branches and fruit mummies
  • Tree tops then looser and more translucent
  • can dry off faster after longer periods of rain
  • Fungus is prevented from spreading rapidly
  • Another preventive measure, a balanced fertilization
  • preferably with an organic fertilizer
  • Cover the root area of ​​the fruit trees with a thick layer of mulch
  • Mulch can consist of lawn clippings, for example
  • renew at regular intervals

As already mentioned, network sulfur and alumina preparations that are already injected to sprout or break the buds can be used preventively, as can self-made horsetail manure or a garlic-onion stock. Horsetail manure and garlic-onion stock can improve the resistance of the woody plants. The trees should be treated with network sulfur before the leaves fall off. Horsetail manure is sprayed weekly from spring and then about every two to three weeks. Garlic onion stock should be sprayed from spring until just before the cherry harvest, about every five to seven days.

Tip: You can also prevent shotgun disease by choosing resistant or less susceptible types of fruit when buying. In the case of cherries, these are, for example, ‘Büttner’s red cartilage cherry’, ‘Abels Spate’ or ‘Hausmüller’s medium thickness’.

The shotgun disease is caused by a fungus and occurs in spring, in warm, humid weather and in areas with high levels of precipitation. The cherries, peaches or plums should only be eaten at the very beginning or used for further processing. Combating this fungal disease is only possible on a biological basis and, in particular, preventively.

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