Pest and Disease Guide

You have purchased one of our amazing Fruit Salad Trees, now it is important to protect your precious tree from nasty pests and diseases. Correct care and maintenance of your Fruit Salad Tree will ensure your tree stays healthy and balanced, and will give you years of delicious fruit from your special tree! 

Choose your tree type below to view our pest and disease guide specific to your tree.

Green and Black Peach Aphids

APHIDS (a common backyard species is the Black Peach Aphid - don’t be fooled by the name they will attack ALL stone fruits)

Symptoms: Aphids are sap-sucking insects that are found mostly on the underside of leaves. Aphid-infested leaves can turn yellow and eventually fall. Aphids excrete honeydew which can cause sooty mould (link) on the fruit and on the tree.They are will also attract ants to protect them against natural predators.

Control: If caught early, aphids can be just hosed off the plant or you can apply an organic spray made from chilli or garlic or a horticultural oil (remember not to apply sprays in temps over 32’); control any ant infestations to allow natural predators of the aphids access to these little pests. 

Prevention: Remove weeds from underneath the fruit tree. Promote beneficial insects like ladybirds to your garden. If you do notice aphids on the new growth of your fruit tree - if your fruit salad tree is young, act fast to prevent long term damage.

Looper Caterpillars

Caterpillars from the moth family attack all fruit trees. They have a distinct looping action when they move. They are more abundant in the warmer weather.

Symptoms: The eggs can be found on the under-surfaces of the leaves. They attack foliage and as they grow move up the plant. Sometimes attacking flowers and fruit parts - they grow to about 35mm long.

Control: They can be removed by hand or if you decide to spray, you can use a product called 'Carbaryl'. Do not harvest any fruit for at least 3 days after application. Read all directions on the packaging. Check with your local nursery for other treatment suggestions.

Fruit Fly

FRUIT FLY - (Care Instructions ‘Fruit Fly Baiting’ Section)

To control fruit fly you need to understand the life cycle: These pests burrow into the soil, where they pupate. The brown pupal cases are about 5 mm long and look like somewhat elongated hens’ eggs. They become active around the end of winter, when the weather begins to warm.

Symptoms: These flies lay their eggs in small groups just beneath the skin of the fruit. When the larvae hatch, they often make their way to the centre of the fruit.

Control: Infested fruit must be removed from the ground or from the tree and destroyed by burning or boiling. Maggots will also be killed if the fruit is sealed in a plastic bag and left in the sun for several days. It must NOT be buried as this simply continues the normal life cycle of the insect. Traps will only kill the adult fly but used in conjunction with sprays is generally effective – you need to remove all infected fruit straight away. If the infestation is extreme, then consider using a mixture of systems to control the fruit flies; fruit fly traps set up with Lures and MAT cups work in conjunction to kill the flies.

Spraying can kill eggs and larvae in the fruit. If choosing to use a chemical spray avoid sprays with Fenthion (particularly toxic to birds). Previously, suitable fruit fly baits were a mixture of Maldison and protein (lure) but you need to be careful using Maldison as it is harmful to bees. Naturalure™ fruit fly Bait concentrate is a good all in one product to try. Apply per the manufacturer instructions.

Prevention: The most effective way to prevent fruit flies damaging your produce is to use fruit fly or insect proof netting. Such netting can be bought from some specialist garden centres and online retailers. Insect proof netting can be draped over trees and other crops or supported by a frame. Netting needs to be put up after pollination has occurred. This can take a while to do,but will give some of the best control possible.

Bugs for Bugs have some great fruit fly traps and sprays that might help https://bugsforbugs.com.au/

Grasshoppers and Locusts

Grasshoppers or Locusts – are transient pests that can attack all fruit trees; they are prominent from Summer to Autumn.

Symptoms: You will notice that you Fruit Salad Tree has bite marks in the leaves or has skeletonised foliage.

Control: A great solution is Dypel (An organic powder). Check with your local nursery for other regional treatments.

Grasshoppers hate Cilantro & marigolds so maybe try planting some in your garden.

Leaf Curl Peach

This is a fungal disease that infects peaches, nectarines and apricots around Spring and early Summer.

Symptoms: Leaves become lumpy, curled and deformed, becoming redish/purplish in colour. The leaves are infected when they are bursting from the new buds.

Control: If left untreated, the problem will get worse year after year, seriously weakening your tree. Once this fungal disease has appeared on your tree, you need to take action immediately – Remove all infected leaves and place them in a bag to be placed in your Red Bin for disposal. You will need to wait until next May to apply a pre-emptive spray application. Keep up a good water and fertilising regime.

Prevention: Keep the area around your Fruit Salad Tree clean; Spores of this fungal disease are formed over winter. As recommended in the ‘Care Instructions’ apply a Lime Sulphur spray to your multi-grafted Fruit Salad Tree; this needs to be completed around early May at “Leaf Fall”, paying close attention to any cracks in the bark and buds. If your stone fruit tree has been attacked by this nasty fungal disease in previous years, it is beneficial to also apply a Copper Oxychloride Spray at bud swell (when the buds are beginning to get plumper – before bud burst). Warning: do not apply any sprays after the buds have burst on your tree; it will just burn the new leaves. 

Shot-hole / Rust

RUST – (Mostly common in Peaches)

Symptoms: Leaf symptoms are commonly seen late summer and Autumn but the fungus disease does affect the branches and fruit. Yellow spots will appear on the leaves with what looks like a rusty-red dust (spores) underneath. When a tree is affected and it prematurely loses its leaves, it can weaken the tree exposing the trunk and branches to sunburn.

Control: Removal of the infected leaves and some of the infected twigs will help in controlling the fungus. A preventative fungal regime is recommended - A spray of copper oxychloride at bud swell will help. If the tree is still showing signs of infection, you can also apply a spray of wettable sulphur (Manutec) at petal-fall, 4 weeks after petal fall and then 8 weeks after petal fall. (always read the product instructions).

Prevention: Avoid overhead watering, since the spores travel by rainfall and splashing water. Keep weeds, cuttings and plant debris cleaned up and dispose of this material away from the tree to keep from spreading spores accidentally. Check out the Care instructions in the annual winter pruning section. Applying a copper spray at bud swell and repeating if necessary is a great preventative. 

Sooty Mould

SOOTY MOULD a fungal bi-product of the honeydew excreted by aphids. It will weaken your fruit salad tree if  it is stressed.

Symptoms: Black soot like substance found on the leaves.

Control: By removing the aphids; the sooty mold will eventually dry and flake off.

ANTS attracted to the honeydew excreted by aphids, scale and mealy bugs or if you have left your fruit on the tree to long and it is over-ripe.

Symptoms: Ants in your plants

Control: Generally, removal of the honeydew producing pest will do the trick with a dose of soapy water. If the infestation is quite bad then consider ‘tree-trunk banding as easy method to stop ants in their tracks. (see your local nursery). 

Prevention: Keeping your orchard clean and free of weeds and encouraging beneficial pollinators and insects like bees, parasitic wasps, ladybirds and hoverflies. 

Stone Fruit Mites

Two-Spotted Mite are one of the most consistent pests in deciduous fruit tree orchards. 

Symptoms: Mites damage your fruit tree by causing the leaves to turn brown and fall. Fine webbing can be seen on heavy infestations and trees can be defoliated. The overall effect is to reduce yield and fruit quality. 

Control: If your Fruit Salad Tree has a mite infestation then on this occasion we would recommend watering the affected plant from above, remove and destroy badly infested leaves. Encourage natural enemies like ladybugs to your garden. You can use natural soaps/oil based sprays to combat this spidery little pest that can be purchased from your local nursery.

Prevention: Conditions that are favourable to this insect include: dusty areas in and around your home garden; hot, dry conditions, and excessive use of sprays that reduce the number of beneficial insects. 

Wildlife and your Garden

Stopping wildlife attacking your fruit tree

Remember wildlife love fruit salad trees too!  (Flying foxes/possums/mice/birds/wallabies etc)

Depending on the animal eating your fruit there are a few deterrents: Barriers/Companion/Planting/Possum Deterrents

Barriers

Digging animals: Wire should be planted about 30 centimetres into the ground (small mesh may be used for mice) or a removable metal collar placed around the trunk can also be used as a deterrent.

Flying/Climbing animals: Netting - Think carefully before erecting netting as you don’t want to injure or kill the local wildlife. Chose a white netting with small white mesh - avoiding thin nylon netting as it can be pulled out of shape and wound or kill wildlife. Ensure that the net is kept taut, this can be done by building a box shaped or even a tee-pee frame around the tree - the more places that the netting is held in place, the more even the tension will be. Don’t forget to make a spot to allow access to your fruit !

Look at any hanging branches from nearby trees and trim them to prevent access to your fruit salad tree.

Companion Planting

Plants like Lavender & Rosemary can deter pests due to the scent they emit. Following along the lines of deterrent scents, you can even try adding blood n bone to your garden, applying seaweed sprays, even simple home-made garlic or Lapsang Souchong tea sprays have been known to be effective.

To protect your individual pieces of fruit they can covered with simple paper bags!

Possum Deterrents

A spray made from Quassia chips: add 100g chips to two litres of water and heat for one hour before straining. Add one tablespoon detergent. Dilute one part of the solution to four parts water and apply as a spray. Quassia chips are available at many nurseries, and are pretty effective, forming the base ingredient of many commercially available possum repellents.

Commercially available possum deterrents such as Poss-Off or Scat, work by emitting an unpleasant odour, so, when used according to the instructions on the products, claim to deter the little blighters!

Just remember to follow all instructions on the packaging of any products you use.

It should be remembered that sometimes no one solution is guaranteed, and re-application of sprays should be a regular and on-going activity. Persistence is the key!

Winter Spraying

Winter dormancy is a fantastic opportunity to spray Stone fruit trees for leaf curl and other fungal diseases which in fact, cannot be treated at any other time of year! Lime or Copper spays should be applied to your tree either at leaf fall (Autumn) and/or at bud swell (this can be as early as June - depending on the varieties on your tree). If your tree has shown signs of leaf curl in previous seasons, it is a good idea to spray in Autumn AND at bud swell to ensure through treatment and good coverage. Sprays should be repeated about 1 week apart, and can be applied using a hand sprayer following the product label.  Sprays for leaf curl are available from most plant nurseries and hardware stores.

Florda Prince (the yellow peach variety we use on our trees) is the first of the stone fruits to ‘wake up’ from dormancy. This ‘waking up’ can be seen as a swelling of the blossom buds, long before any leaves emerge. Development stages for stone fruit are shown on right. (Source: Orchard plant protection guide for deciduous fruits in NSW 2017 – 18 NSW Department of Primary Industries).

Citrus Aphids

Citrus Fruit Salad Trees grow up to six different fruit on the same tree. Mandarin, Orange, Lemonade, Lemon, Pomelo and Tangelo. They are great growers, producing fruit quickly if they are balanced well, enjoy lots of sunshine and are free from pests.

Have you noticed ants on your fruit tree? Ants can be an indicator of aphids in your plants and trees. Read on for a detailed guide to identifying and treating the Citrus Aphid so that your Fruit Salad Tree can keep producing different and delectable fruit!

Description: Aphids are small (2mm) long, soft-bodied insects. 

There are several species of aphids that are found on citrus trees, including brown citrus aphid, black citrus aphid, melon aphid, spiraea aphids. 

Damage and Symptoms: Aphids produce a sticky substance (honeydew) as they feed on the plants (similar to scale insects). This honeydew attracts ants and can also encourage sooty mould. In 'payment' for the honeydew, ants protect the aphids from parasitic wasps. Any of these symptoms... honeydew, mould, ants or the aphids themselves indicate an infestation. Aphids can be a threat to young citrus trees by suck sap and decreasing vigour.

Season: Spring - Check young shoots in early September - late October and February to April for Summer-Autumn Flush.

Solution: You can efficiently get rid of small aphid colonies by simply crushing the insects by hand or pruning the affected area of the plant. Organic sprays can also be applied to the trees (use horticultural/pure soap or garlic/chilli based sprays mixed with water). Be sure to rinse the undersides of leaves because aphids hide there. For severe infestation, use a spray with horticultural oil (don't apply when the weather is over 32*C as plant leaves can burn) or insecticidal soap like Pyrethrum dust or spray. Be mindful of applying products that will destroy beneficial insects that are natural enemies of the aphid such as lady beetles, lacewings and parasitic wasps as they will devour aphids. 

Reference: Department of Primary Industries NSW

Caterpillars

Caterpillars from the moth family attack all fruit trees. They have a distinct looping action when they move. They are more abundant in the warmer weather.

Symptoms: The eggs can be found on the under-surfaces of the leaves. They attack foliage and as they grow move up the plant. Sometimes attacking flowers and fruit parts - they grow to about 35mm long.

Control: They can be removed by hand or if you decide to spray, you can use a product called 'Carbaryl'. Do not harvest any fruit for at least 3 days after application. Read all directions on the packaging. Check with your local nursery for other treatment suggestions. 

Collar Rot

Collar Rot is a fungus disease in wet soils.

Symptoms: You will notice the foliage start to turn yellow and there may even by some gum ooze from the bark of the tree at ground level.

Control: Make sure you have good water drainage as Citrus Fruit Salad Trees don't like wet feet for this very reason. Check out our Planting Out Guide and Information found in the Care Instructions that are sent with your Fruit Salad Tree.

Prevention: Don't over water your Fruit Salad Tree as this fungus grows well in damp conditions. Make sure that you keep the area around the trunk of your tree free from weeds and it is advisable not to grow any other plants to close to the trunk either. Good air circulation is key to decrease humidity. 

Citrus Gall Wasp

You've planted your fruit tree, you've watered it, balanced it, cared for it and now you should be able to sit back and watch it flourish right? Well, in some areas, the pesky Gall Wasp can have other ideas! It loves lemon and grapefruit especially in Queensland and northern New South Wales.

Here's a full guide to identifying and treating your Fruit Salad Tree for Gall Wasps.

Citrus Gall Wasp Control

Citrus Gall Wasp (Bruchophagus fellis) is native to Queensland and northern NSW, with the Australian Finger Lime as its natural host. Unfortunately for citrus trees, particularly lemons and grapefruits are now part of its diet. This pest has spread south (and west) in recent years where it can survive the cold and has no natural predators. Drat!

Damage

Living up to its name, Citrus Gall Wasps trigger a reaction in the host causing it to produce large lumps or ‘galls’. Heavily galled trees lose vigour, which can result in reduced fruit size and yield. Sometimes the gall causes new growth at right angles.

12 Month Life Cycle of the Gall Wasp in Fruit Trees

Understanding the Citrus Gall Wasp life-cycle is very helpful for control. Adult gall wasps begin to emerge from their galls in Spring (from late August – October depending on area & season) to coincide with Spring growth, and can continue until mid-December. Most wasps emerge around the same time – within 20 days or so. After emerging, females take 5 – 7 days to mate. Then they begin laying eggs just under the bark, preferring soft, lush Spring growth. Larvae hatch in 2 – 4 weeks and feed within the stem for 9 – 10 months. The resulting woody gall becomes visible from December and expands until the cycle repeats in Spring.

The wasps themselves are tiny (2-3mm long) so they can’t fly far. Upon exiting they leave tell-tale exit holes. Galls with such holes do not require removal.

Control Methods for your Fruit Tree

Currently there is no chemical control registered for home gardener use to control Citrus Gall Wasp. Effective control therefore relies on strategic timing of both pruning and fertilising, augmented by traps. Correct disposal of gall prunings is essential to stop the spread .

Timing - When to Prune and Fertilize your Fruit Tree for Gall Wasp Control

Traditionally the recommendation for gall wasp control is pruning in August before the wasps emerge. This is suitable in the short term, if your infestation is small and on the end of branches, or if you have only noticed the galls in Winter. On the down side, August pruning can trigger the tree to put on a flush of Spring growth – which will then be targeted by any Gall Wasps present, perpetuating the cycle. Expected Spring growth can be protected to some degree by traps.

For longer term control and tree heath, gardeners with significant infestations should aim to reduce susceptible Spring growth flush by:

pruning galls from trees in Summer as they become visible (from about December). General maintenance pruning should be done at this time also; andfertilising in Summer and Autumn. Heavy ferrtilising in Winter and Spring will only encourage “tasty” Spring growth.

 To maintain vigour, only remove 30% or less of your citrus tree at any one time.

Monitoring your Fruit Tree

Regular monitoring of galling throughout the year will assist in pruning and avoid nasty surprises. Cutting galls open in late Winter to see keep an eye on wasp development may be helpful... after a few years you will get the idea.

Insect Traps for your Fruit Salad Tree

Used on their own, these traps are unlikely to be effective. When their use is in conjunction with pruning; timed to wasp emergence (August – October); for protection of young trees, or some unavoidable Spring growth, then 2 – 4 traps per tree will contribute to control. The attractant used is not specific to Gall Wasp so removal in October, after wasp emergence is a good idea – you don’t want to trap beneficial insects or small birds as well.

Slicing open the Gall

Some gardeners have had success by slicing open the gall and exposing enclosed larvae to the elements – thereby killing it. This is worth a try, particularly if you have dwarf citrus or the gall is located on vital part of the tree’s branchwork. The trick here is again in the timing and depth of cut. Don’t wait until galls are big and surrounding tissue is brittle and there is no need to cut too deeply as the stem needs to continue supporting its own weight.

Stop the Spread to other Fruit Trees

Gall Wasps cannot fly far and are mainly transported by wind or sadly, by prunings. It is vital to dispose of any removed galls in a manner that will not allow the wasp to emerge. Methods suggested include burning (I’ve heard of gardeners roasting them in the oven!), burying (1m), cutting up into tiny pieces (mulching), or soaking in water for 2 weeks. They definantly cannot be disposed of via council green waste or garbage collection services – this is known to spread the problem.

Help is on the Way!

NSW Department of Agriculture has conducted some trials using Kaolin clay (Surround®). This product is registered for sunburn and unfortunately cannot be used for Gall Wasp control yet. Results however look promising for the future.

Useful Links

Vasali’s garden Video on slicing galls https://www.sbs.com.au/ondemand/video/11650627731/vasilis-garden-how-to-citrus-gall-wasp#!

Melbourne article on pruning galls http://www.leafrootfruit.com.au/citrus-growing-guide/treating-citrus-gall-wasp-melbourne/ Sustainable Gardening Australia http://www.sgaonline.org.au/citrus-gall-wasp/     

NSW Department of Primary Industries http://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0004/340609/citrus-gall-wasp-in-southern-australia.pdf    

Green Harvest Insect Trap http://greenharvest.com.au/PestControlOrganic/Information/CitrusGallWaspControl.htmlDeep Green Permaculture – includes description of cutting galls/exposing larvae to elements http://deepgreenpermaculture.com/2017/04/10/controlling-citrus-gall-wasp/ 

WA Department of Primary Industries link http://www.agric.wa.gov.au/sites/gateway/files/Citrus%20gall%20wasp%20infosheet.pdf

Grasshoppers and Locusts

Grasshoppers or Locusts – are transient pests that can attack all fruit trees; they are prominent from Summer to Autumn.

Symptoms: You will notice that you Fruit Salad Tree has bite marks in the leaves or has skeletonised foliage.

Control: A great solution is Dypel (An organic powder). Check with your local nursery for other regional treatments.

Grasshoppers hate Cilantro & marigolds so maybe try planting some in your garden. 

Leaf Minor

Citrus leaf miners leave a trail on the leaves. They don't suck the sap like aphids and mites. Instead, they tunnel through leaf tissues as they grow.

It is best to remove the infected leaves and place in the bin to stop the leaf miners moving on to other areas of the garden. You can also spray with Dipel, an organic treatment.

Most citrus trees can tolerate leaf miners to an extent, and they are generally tricky to get rid of, so stay patient and keep up the treatments. 

Possum Deterrents

A spray made from Quassia chips: add 100g chips to two litres of water and heat for one hour before straining. Add one tablespoon detergent. Dilute one part of the solution to four parts water and apply as a spray. Quassia chips are available at many nurseries, and are pretty effective, forming the base ingredient of many commercially available possum repellents.

Commercially available possum deterrents such as Poss-Off or Scat, work by emitting an unpleasant odour, so, when used according to the instructions on the products, claim to deter the little blighters!

Just remember to follow all instructions on the packaging of any products you use.

It should be remembered that sometimes no one solution is guaranteed, and re-application of sprays should be a regular and on-going activity. Persistence is the key! 

Apple Dimpling Bug

This bug is native to Australia.  It is a greenish brown flying insect that is about 2-3 mm long. When squashed it has a very distinctive sweet odour.

Symptoms: The bug feeds by taking sap from the blossoms and young fruit. This causes scarring and dimples when the fruit develops.

Control: Most damage occurs in the two weeks between early pink and complete petal fall. Put some sticky traps out around the tree if you are worried about this bug. This pest is generally not the type to hang around every year.

Prevention: You can use a pest repelent but we would recommend avoid unnecessary spraying. As applying insecticides while your apple tree is in blossom can have a negative effect on bees.

Apple Leafhopper

The apple leafhopper (Canary Fly) looks like a tiny cicada (3-4 mm long); greenish-yellow in colour with red eyes. During autumn female leafhoppers lay their eggs under soft bark which hatch in Spring. Infestation of this peat tends to be worse in dry years.

Symptoms: In the warmer months they are usually found under the leaves where they feed on the sap resulting in the leaf turning yellow and in extreme cases causing them to fall off. If your apple tree is heavily infected then the fruit may appear speckled from the insects excrement – this is superficial and can be washed off

Control: Look at trying sticky traps or try a soap spray like Natrasoap.

Prevention: Little can be done to prevent infestations of this pest; keep you apple tree well weeded underneath the canopy, properly watered and well ‘balanced’ to allow good air circulation.

Apple Scab

Apple scab or black spot is a fungus that infects leaves, shoots, buds, blossoms and fruit. It is more prevalent in regions with high rainfall and relative humidity during the growing season.

Symptoms: If your Fruit Salad Tree is infected the first symptoms will usually appear as small spots on the underside of young leaves or as spots on either surface of older leaves. The spots may grow into one another to form large patches. If the disease has spread to the fruit, it will develop black spots and go corky in the centre. 

Control: A copper oxychloride spray can be applied when your tree is at the green tip stage of growth. (when the buds are broken at the tip and about 1/16 inch of green tissue is visible - generally early to mid September). If you have missed out spraying in September then consider applying Mancozeb in the month of October.

Prevention: Keep the undergrowth area clean; The fungus usually survives over winter under the trees, in the dead, infected leaves from the previous season. Avoid use of overhead irrigation, which could begin or prolong scab infection periods.

Caterpillars

There are a few different types of caterpillars that may be found on an apple tree. They range from budworms (helicoerpa), inch worms (loopers) and may also be the larvae of a variety of pests like the Codling Moth, Lightbrown Apple Moth, Oriental Fruit Moth or Fruit Fly.

The moths lay their eggs on the underside of leaves. The larvae of caterpillars hatch from the eggs and then feed on the leaves or fruit.

Symptoms: Holes are seen in the leaves or fruit of the apple tree. You may also notice black or brown droppings.

Control: Until you know which larvae is attacking your multi-grafted apple fruit salad tree you can start to remove these caterpillars by trying a variety of sprays like Dipel, Eco-oil or Success Ultra. Always follow the application instructions.

Prevention: Remove any loose bark or branches from the tree. Keep the area around your apple tree clean and your mulch about 2 inches away from the trunk.

Codling Moth

An adult Codling moth is a brown moth that has a wingspan of about  20 mm, the wing tips have a circular area. Eggs are laid on leaves or small fruit at dusk as the temperatures warm in Spring and Summer.

Symptoms:  Fruit may drop prematurely. You may notice a small entry hole on the apple where the larvae has entered the fruit, the larvae will feed for 3-5 weeks before tunneling out an exit hole. When you cut open an apple that has been attacked by this pest you will notice the tunnel is brown in appearance and filled with excrement from the caterpillar. When the larvae have finished with the fruit they will find a bark crevice in the trunk to pupate and form a cocoon. Over the cooler months of the year you can notice these cacoons on the rough bark of the tree trunk.

Control: Destroy all infected fruit and any squash any pupae you may see. Remove loose bark, broken branches and leaf debris to reduce hiding places for cacoons. You can try tree banding or traps.

Prevention: Every winter clean up around your grafted apple Fruit Salad Tree by removing loose bark and making sure that the mulch is at least 2 inches from the trunk of your apple tree. Apply an application of Eco-oil or Dipel at petal fall and always follow the instructions on the container.

European Red Mite

These mite are reddy-brown, with white spots and are about 0.5 mm long. Each egg looks like an onion, with a white stalk at the top as long as the egg is wide.

Symptoms: Early signs of the mite are pale yellow spotting on leaves. Heavy infestations result in leaf bronzing and premature leaf fall. Prolonged feeding by the mite can result in reduced fruit size and colour, and may affect fruit set the following season. In Autumn you will notice bright red eggs that the mite has laid along the bark of the tree.

Control: Applying a horticultural mineral oil spray in late winter can kill the eggs. If you still have these little mites around in the summer months then applying wettable sulphur during the cooler part of the day is a good back up treatment.

Prevention: Make sure you water your multi-grafted apple fruit tree adequately as trees under water stress are more likely to be infested with mites than those that receive proper watering. If the European Red Mite was a problem last season then applying horticultural mineral oil spray around full bloom the following season.

Fruit Fly

Exotic fruit flies like then Queensland and Mediterranean fruit fly are among the most serious pests of fruit tree gardeners in warmer regions everywhere.

To control fruit fly you need to understand the life cycle: These pests burrow into the soil, where they pupate. The brown pupal cases are about 5 mm long and look like somewhat elongated hens’ eggs. They become active around the end of winter, when the weather begins to warm.

Symptoms: These flies lay their eggs in small groups just beneath the skin of the fruit. When the larvae hatch, they often make their way to the centre of the fruit.

Control: Infested fruit must be removed from the ground or from the tree and destroyed by burning or boiling. Maggots will also be killed if the fruit is sealed in a plastic bag and left in the sun for several days. It must NOT be buried as this simply continues the normal life cycle of the insect. Traps will only kill the adult fly but used in conjunction with sprays is generally effective – you need to remove all infected fruit straight away. If the infestation is extreme, then consider using a mixture of systems to control the fruit flies; fruit fly traps set up with Lures and MAT cups work in conjunction to kill the flies.

Spraying can kill eggs and larvae in the fruit. If choosing to use a chemical spray avoid sprays with Fenthion (particularly toxic to birds). Previously, suitable fruit fly baits were a mixture of Maldison and protein (lure) but you need to be careful using Maldison as it is harmful to bees. Naturalure™ fruit fly Bait concentrate is a good all in one product to try. Apply per the manufacturer instructions.

Prevention: Good garden hygiene is critical to controlling these pests. The most effective way to prevent fruit flies damaging your produce is to use fruit fly or insect proof netting. Such netting can be bought from some specialist garden centres and online retailers. Insect proof netting can be draped over trees and other crops or supported by a frame. Netting needs to be put up after pollination has occurred. This can take a while to do, but will give some of the best control possible.

Bugs for Bugs have some great fruit fly traps and sprays that might help https://bugsforbugs.com.au/

Powdery Mildew

Powdery Mildew is a white spotted fungus, which can attack Apple Fruit Salad Trees. Treating Powdery Mildew is a simple process and your multi Apple tree can get back to producing different and delectable fruit in no time! Here's a complete guide to treating Powdery Mildew on your Apple Fruit Salad Tree.

WHAT IS POWDERY MILDEW?

Powdery mildew is a prevalent fungal disease which forms a white powdery cover on the apple tree. It flourishes in humid mild conditions (with no rain), especially in shady spots with little air circulation and damp conditions.

SYMPTOMS OF POWDERY MILDEW

Check if your Apple Fruit Salad Tree has white powdery coverings on buds, shoots, leaves and fruit. If the buds are affected the leaves may develop abnormally, appear brittle and curled. They may also drop prematurely. On red skinned Apples, symptoms are easy to identify as they develop a pattern of fine, yellowish criss-cross lines.

PREVENTING POWDERY MILDEW FROM ATTACKING YOUR APPLE FRUIT SALAD TREE

When planting your Apple Fruit Salad Tree, allow for plenty of space around the tree to help create adequate air circulation. Having a good watering routine will help reduce the risk of this disease.

Ensure water is delivered to the roots and does not get on the leaves. Using a seaweed based plant tonic once a fortnight can also be helpful. Read more about watering your Fruit Salad Tree here.

CONTROLLING THE POWDERY MILDEW ON YOUR APPLE FRUIT SALAD TREE

To control the spread of Powdery Mildew, remove the affected leaves from your tree to stop it spreading. Dispose of any leaves you remove (and any prematurely fallen leaves) in the bin. Do not place into your compost bin.

Apply a spray with wettable sulphur (we suggest Manutec, and to follow the directions on the packaging). Or, you can make up your own simple organic spray with 1 part full cream milk to 10 parts water.

Apply the organic sprays in the early morning, not in the hot sun. We recommend applying sprays that won’t kill off the good insects like black and yellow ladybirds. 

Possum Proofing your Fruit Salad Tree

Possums love fruit trees as much as we do. Remember they are a protected species and they can be easy to deter with a bit of perseverance.

Fencing: Erect a fence with loose wobbly wire to surround your tree. This gives the possum nothing to firmly climb on.

Tree Cover: Protect your fruit tree with a piece of shade cloth attached with pegs or garden ties.

Cover the fruit: Just get a paper bag or make one from some shade cloth and cover the fruit as it starts to grow.

Netting: You can add shade cloth or white bird netting with a maximum mesh size of around 10 mm. Set up a frame with bamboo or tomato stakes so that your netting is taut. Remove the netting each morning so that the bees and other pollinator insects have access to your fruit tree.

Motion triggered lights: Possums like to scavenge for food under the cover of darkness.

Companion Planting: Possums dislike daises, chrysanthemums, lavender, rosemary, grevilleas and citronella varieties.

Sprinkle blood and bone fertiliser around the base of your tree: Possums hate the smell and will be less inclined to eat if they can't stand the smell!

Spray garlic: try two tablespoons of crushed garlic in one litre of hot water, leave to stand overnight, strain and then spray directly onto your foliage. This also works with chillies or Tabasco sauce.

Spray tea: boil two litres of water; add four heaped teaspoons of Lapsang Souchong tea and leave to cool. Strain liquid and apply from a plastic spray bottle directly onto affected plants. Reapply every two weeks and always after rain. Make a fresh brew every time. 

A spray made from Quassia chips: add 100g chips to two litres of water and heat for one hour before straining. Add one tablespoon detergent. Dilute one part of the solution to four parts water and apply as a spray. Quassia chips are available at many nurseries, and are pretty effective, forming the base ingredient of many commercially available possum repellents.

Commercially available possum deterrents such as Poss-Off or Scat, work by emitting an unpleasant odour, so, when used according to the instructions on the products, claim to deter the little blighters! Just remember if you use any of these options that you will need to wash your produce before eating!

It should be remembered that no one solution is guaranteed, and re-application of sprays should be a regular and on-going activity. It is recommended that most sprays be re-applied every two to three weeks, and after rain. Persistence is the key! Possums are creatures of habit, and habits are not easy change, so keep up the spraying, and over time the possum will move away and seek food elsewhere.

Welcome to Fruit Salad Trees!

Join our email list for 10% off your first order and all the tree care advice you need to grow different fruits on one tree and keep the whole household happy!