8 Jun 2012

Oh, this is not good...



I know nothing about growing fruit, even so I was horrified to see that the little fruit on one of the Morello cherry trees is in an advanced state of brown-ness. This is a stark contrast to last year when I was able to snap ripening red fruit for the blog. I have no idea what might be the cause of this, so if anyone has any suggestions, they would be much appreciated.


The tree has also, rather suddenly, become infested with blackfly. The apple trees were similarly infested a week or two ago and, on the advice of an organic gardener at Camley Street Nature Park (where they grow apple trees on a moored barge, how exotic!), I mixed Ecover* washing up liquid in a ratio of one part soap to 10 parts water, poured into a spray bottle and squirted liberally over the bugs on the tree. This appears to have worked, to a larger degree. I was told that Ecover works more efficiently than other washing up liquids as it contains a plant based ingredient which covers the insect with a waxy coating, depriving it of air and, thus, life.

Whether it's the blackfly that have caused the disastrous demise of the cherries or an excess of British weather (more likely), Operation Squirt will be top of the agenda on Sunday when I return from a visit to family on the coast. I should also add that I'm not averse to a bit of manual squishing (preferably with gloves), in accordance with the advice given by Monty Don.


* Ecover is a brand of environmentally friendly cleaning products, widely available in the UK. The washing up liquid uses plant-based ingredients rather than petrochemicals which is why it's believed to work better than other liquids as an organic pest control.

8 comments:

  1. Hi Caro sorry to hear this why dont you post it on UK veg gardeners somebody there may know more, regards,David

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    1. Hi David, That's a very good idea. It would help to know whether other gardeners have suffered similar problems. Thanks.

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  2. Oh Caro, I'm sorry to see your cherries looking so poorly. I've used ecover on aphids too. Last year I had a particularly bad infestation on my blackcurrants so I boiled up some water with 5 or 6 garlic cloves in the water, took it off the heat and let it steep for a couple of hours and then decanted it into a bottle. This water diluted slightly and sprayed onto the aphids worked a treat. I think it is much more likely the weather, it's just so changeable. My new apple tree has dropped a lot of its fruit. I was so excited thinking we were going to have loads of fruit, now it looks like we'll only have a handful. We've been deluged again here in Wales and had gales. More like winter than June and we go on holiday next week.... oh well. Wished we'd booked for France rather than Sussex!!

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    1. I think it will be a bad year all round for fruit, Welly. I've been finding lots of dropped fruit on the soil after recent strong winds. It was the same weather pattern last year so I hope that the trees will quickly adapt. The ecover solution seems to have worked and is a much nicer option than chemical pesticides. I tried the garlic solution last year and reeked of the stuff for days!
      I hope you get some fruit this year, even if it's just a handful. I'm thinking of planting more fruit trees to see if I can maximise my chances!

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  3. I think it is weather-related Caro. My patio cherry has gone the same way but without the aphids. My guess is either the wet weather interrupted the pollination/fertilisation or the dry weather affected early fruit formation. I had 3 cherries last year as my tree was new, but I don't think I've even got that many this year...

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    1. Thanks for this Jules. I value your opinion and whilst I'd prefer that you had plenty of fruit to look forward to, it's interesting to know that the problem is more widespread. I believe you could be right re the weather as this tree was moved in the early spring - and to a corner bed bordered by two walls, so quite dry. Put that with the hosepipe ban and I think we've found the answer...

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  4. I regret that I can't help with your cherry tree problem, except to suggest trying the RHS advice web pages. xx

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  5. An excellent suggestion, Flighty, thank you. xx

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Caro x

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