Fruits of the Grand Valley are abundant this year. A mild spring with good rain actually gave us cherries and apricots this year. Depending on who you talk to and where they are located, people will tell you that we only get a cherry crop every 4-10 years due to late frosts. So cherish those sweet cherries, hopefully we will have lots of them next year, but only Mother Nature knows. Cherries in our area do require control of the Western Cherry Fruit Fly. If not controlled, you get little worms in your cherries, not very appetizing. Here is how to control them. https://extension.usu.edu/files/publications/factsheet/western-cherry-fruit-flies06.pdf.
The apricots due get Coryneum blight, also called shot hole disease because spots form on the leaves and then drop out. The fruit gets red spots mainly on the upper surface where the rain sits. Unfortunately, the best time to control this disease is in the fall. Removal of infected twigs and branches helps too. Here is our information on this fungal disease. In the home garden, you can cut out these bad spots in the fruit, but it certainly does not make the fruit saleable.
I did one site visit very early on to a peach orchard that had very early signs of coryneum blight and the grower was able to do some spraying to control it. Luckily it was only in one low lying corner of the field. Where plants grow really does make a difference. A few very early peaches are coming to market now but we will see the bulk of early yummy Palisade peaches hit the market in about two weeks. Bob Hammon, our Entomologist tells me we will also see Olathe Sweet, Sweet Corn about July 11th. Can I say again, YUM. Nothing better than fresh produce.
Back to the peaches. I am on a Working Group to help find disease controls for Cytosphora which is a fungal disease that has no cure. We believe many stressors’ contribute to this disease starting with proper planting techniques, insect control, care and maintenance and cleanliness. A new Plant Pathologist, Jane Stewart, on campus is studying the effects of different fungicides as a control. Samples are being sent to her from our area. But we still need to find out the why. My big point to you, the reader, is that fruit trees are very hard to grow, take a lot of time and responsibility to grow and not spread any pests. In fact, I would say fruit trees are the highest maintenance plant one can grow.
Yes, I do have some fruit trees on my property, but luckily my husband also has a horticulture degree so he does most of the insect control, we split the pruning duties, both pick and guess who does most of the canning? Thou he has gotten into drying. He dried cherries last weekend. So in the end, appreciate all the hard work that went into the fresh fruit, support your local growers and a good thank you would go a long way too. Enjoy.
CSUE Tri River Area Horticulture Agent