Apple and Pear Scab

Apple and pear scab

Find out how to tackle apple and pear scab, and choose resistant varieties to grow.

A table displaying which months are best to sow, plant and harvest.
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
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Apple and pear scab is most prevalent in mild, damp seasons.

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The fungus overwinters on fallen leaves in the form of spores, which can be splashed by rain or carried in the wind to infect newly emerged shoots in spring. Overwintering can also occur on infected stems and branches. The most serious consequence of scab is reduced vigour of the trees caused by early leaf fall. This may limit the crop of fruit. The disease also causes scabs on the skins of fruit, although they are still edible.

A preventative measure would be to use resistant varieties. Try desert apples such as ‘Ashmead’s Kernel’, ‘Discovery’, ‘Egremont Russet’ and cookers such as ‘Lord Derby’ and ‘Reverend W. Wilks’. For scab resistant pears try ‘Beurre Hardy’ and also ‘Joséphine de Malines’.

Symptoms

Brown blotches or scabs on the leaves of flowering shoots or on fruit. Splits may develop on young shoots. Foliage may fall prematurely from trees.

Find it on

apples, pears

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Organic

Rake up fallen leaves at the end of the growing season and dispose of them – don’t add them to your compost heap. Liaise with neighbours who have fruit trees to make sure they practise similar hygiene. Choose scab-resistance fruit varieties, and plant trees in open, sunny positions.