Plum pox

  1. This disease, also called 'Sharka', has increased in importance in the British Isles since 1970 after its introduction from mainland
  2. Plums, damsons, peaches, blackthorn and ornamental plum are affected, while cherries and flowering cherries are immune. Leaf symptoms of faint interveinal yellow blotches can best be seen on leaves from the centre of the infected tree.

The most reliable symptoms, however, are found on fruit, where sunken dark blotches are seen. Ripening of infected fruit may be several weeks premature, yield losses may reach 25 per cent, and the fruit is often sour.

Life cycle. The virus is spread by several species of aphids. The speed of spread is quite slow because the virus is not able to live and multiply in the aphid. Movement of infected young plants is an important method of spread.

Control. Preventative control is the only option open to growers. Clean Ministry-certified stock should be used. Routine aphid-controlling insecticides should be applied in late spring, summer and autumn. Suspected infected trees should be reported and infected trees removed and burnt.

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