Pests and Diseases of Soft Fruit

Pests and Diseases of Soft Fruit

Pests and Diseases of Soft Fruit Including: raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, gooseberries and currants


American gooseberry mildew (Sphaerotheca)

American gooseberry mildew affects gooseberries and currants.

Typical symptoms: A white powdery coating on leaves and on shoots, which may die back; a brown felty cover on gooseberry fruits.

Prevention and treatment: See How to Treat Common Plant Diseases


Aphids (various species)

Gooseberries, currants, raspberries, blackberries and strawberries are all affected by various species of aphids.

Typical symptoms: Leaves and shoots are infested with tiny insects of varying colours. Leaves may be blistered, distorted, sticky and blackened. Shoot growth may also be distorted. Symptoms may persist when pests have flown.

Prevention and treatment: See Aphids as Garden Pests


Big bud mite/gall mite (Cecidophyopsis ribis)

This affects blackcurrants. The fact that they can transmit reversion virus (see below) is more important than any direct damage they cause.

Typical symptoms: Buds are round and swollen in winter.

Prevention and treatment: Remove and burn all swollen buds in the winter. Where infestation is severe, cut out all wood and burn it. Never plant new stock near infested plants.


Bullfinches

Typical symptoms: Fruit buds are eaten in winter and early spring.

Prevention and treatment: see Garden Pests and Diseases – Barriers and Traps


Cane blight (Leptosphaeria coniothyrium)

This affects raspberries, blackberries and hybrid berries.

Typical symptoms: Canes wither or fail to grow; they may be pulled easily out of the soil.

Prevention and treatment: Prevent damage to canes by cane midge and wind rock as this can be a source of entry for cane blight. Cut out and burn infected canes as soon as they are noticed. Disinfect secateurs after use. Do not plant new stock in the same site.


Cane midge (Resseliella theobaldi)

Blackberries, raspberries and hybrid berries are affected by cane midge.

Typical symptoms: Tiny orange larvae are found in cracks in new canes. The damage caused is usually light, but it can be an entry point for cane blight.

Prevention and treatment: Remove mulch and lightly cultivate the soil around the base of the canes in winter. If the problem is severe, spray the base of the canes with derris as directed, usually in late spring, repeating two weeks later.


Cane spot (Elsinoe veneta)

Raspberries, blackberries and hybrid berries are susceptible to cane spot.

Typical symptoms: Purple spots on canes, leaves and blossom stalks. Severe infections cause distortion and death.

Prevention and treatment: Remove and burn infected canes. Spray with Bordeaux mixture as directed, usually fortnightly from bud burst to petal fall. Grow resistant varieties on a new site.


Common green capsid (Lygocoris pabulinus)

This affects gooseberries and currants.

Typical symptoms: Irregular holes are eaten in young leaves.

Prevention and treatment: Tolerate the problem, which is rarely severe.


Coral spot (Nectria cinnabarina)

Typical symptoms: Pink pustules appear on dead wood. Branches die back.

Prevention and treatment: See How to Treat Common Plant Diseases


Gooseberry sawfly (Nematus ribesin

Gooseberry sawfly attacks gooseberries primarily but also feeds on red and white currants.

Typical symptoms: Leaves are eaten; the whole bush may be stripped to leaf veins in a very short period. Large numbers of caterpillars may be present.

Prevention and treatment: Inspect bushes regularly and remove any eggs and caterpillars found. Concentrate in particular under the leaves in the centre of the bush. The times to do the inspection are mid-spring, early summer, mid-summer and early autumn. If hand-picking does not control the problem, spray with derris. Plants grown as cordons or fans make handpicking or spraying much easier and a lot more effective.


Grey mould (Botrytis cinerea)

All soft fruit is susceptible to grey mould.

Typical symptoms: Affected plants suffer from a poor crop and rotting fruit with patches of fluffy grey mould. On currants and gooseberries, the only symptom is that the branches die back.

Prevention and treatment: See How to Treat Common Plant Diseases


Phytophthora root disease (Phytophthora spp.)

This affects blackberries, raspberries and hybrid berries.

Typical symptoms: Canes die back progressively. Roots die but do not decay.

Prevention and treatment: Avoid planting susceptible fruit in wet and waterlogged soils. If the disease appears, dig up and burn infected canes. Disinfect tools and put the site down to grass.


Powdery mildews (Sphaerotheca macularis)

Raspberries, blackberries, hybrid berries and strawberries are all susceptible to this.

Typical symptoms: A white powdery coating appears on the leaves. The flowers may be distorted and the fruit inedible.

Prevention and treatment: See How to Treat Common Plant Diseases


Raspberry beetle (Byturus tomentosus)

Blackberries, raspberries and hybrid berries are attacked by raspberry beetle.

Typical symptoms: Fruits are malformed and may contain small, white larvae.

Prevention and treatment: Remove all mulches and lightly cultivate the soil around the canes in winter. If the problem is severe, spray with derris as directed on the container (usually at petal fall and when the first pink fruit appears).


Red spider mite, glasshouse (Tetranychus urticae)

This greenhouse pest can also attack fruit outside during a hot summer. It affects strawberries, raspberries and currants.

Typical symptoms: Leaves turn yellowish-bronze and may become withered or crisp. With the aid of a magnifying lens, tiny green mites may be seen on the underside of leaves.

Prevention and treatment: Ensure that plants have an adequate water supply. Phytoseiulus persimilis, a biological control agent, can be used to control red spider mite (see Plant Pests and Diseases – Biological Control). At the end of the season, cut off all strawberry leaves and remove mulches. Also, prune as appropriate.


Reversion virus

This is a very common disease of garden blackcurrants.

Typical symptoms: The number of flowers and the size of the main veins on the primary leaves are reduced. Cropping is sparse.

Prevention and treatment: Control is not easy. Keeping big bud mite levels down can help as this pest transmits the disease. When planting new stock, always buy good-quality plants and remove any diseased bushes first.


Slugs and snails

These pests attack strawberries as well as several foliage plants.

Typical symptoms: Large pieces are eaten out of the fruit; slime trails are visible.

Prevention and treatment: See Slugs and Snails – Garden Pest Control


Spur blight (Didymella applanata)

Spur blight affects raspberries, blackberries and hybrid berries.

Typical symptoms: Purple patches appear on stems around the buds; these patches turn silver in winter.

Prevention and treatment: Keep canes thinned as appropriate by pruning. It is also important to burn infected canes. Where spur blight is a problem, spray with Bordeaux mixture as directed on the container (usually when canes are approximately 10cm (4in) tall). Resistant varieties are available.


Strawberry red core (Phytophthora fragariae)

This affects strawberries only.

Typical symptoms: Symptoms of strawberry red core are most obvious in mid-summer. Patches of stunted plants appear; the outer leaves are brown and stiff and the inner ones are small and red. Roots rot, with a red central core.

Prevention and treatment: Strawberry red core can last for up to 12 years in the soil, so always plant new strawberry plants in a new site. Infected land is best isolated by putting it down to grass; no curative measures are available. Never grow strawberries on poorly drained land.


Vine weevil (Otiorhynchus sulcatus)

Strawberries are affected by vine weevil.

Typical symptoms: Plants suddenly wilt and die; fat white grubs with brown heads are found in the soil.

Prevention and treatment: See General Garden Pests

02. February 2011 by Dave Pinkney
Categories: Fruit & Veg, Fruit Trees, Organic Gardening, Pests and Diseases | Tags: , , , , , | Comments Off on Pests and Diseases of Soft Fruit

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