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Peggy Sellers, Master Gardener State Coordinator
Brown rot of cherry is caused by the fungus, Monilinia fructicola. Other stone fruits such as apricot, peach, nectarine, and plum are also susceptible. Although symptoms first appear during bloom, the most noticeable symptom is rotting fruit with light brown tufts of fungal spores. Diseased fruit fall to the ground or remain attached to the tree as mummies (dried shriveled fruit). The disease is most damaging when wet weather occurs during bloom and during the fruit ripening period.
In addition to fruit rot, symptoms may occur on blossoms, spurs, and shoots. Infected blossoms wilt, turn brown, and persist into summer. The fungus may invade shoots or twigs, causing them to wither and die.The brown rot fungus overwinters in infected twigs or in mummified fruit on the tree or on the ground.
A combination of both cultural and chemical control measures is required for control of brown rot. Remove rotten fruit, mummies, and dead twigs from trees after harvest. Injured fruit are more susceptible to infection. Therefore, minimize physical wounding during the growing season control plum curculio. Fungicide sprays must be applied throughout the season for good control of brown rot. For more specific information on brown rot and its control refer to Purdue Extension publications, BP-45 Brown Rot of Stone Fruits and ID-146 Managing Pests in Home Fruit Plantings. More on plum cucurlio can be found in the Ohio State University Extension Fact Sheet, HYG-2043-88 Plum Curculio And Its Control.
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Brown Rot of Cherry Showing Tufts of Fungal Spore Masses
Plant and Pest Digital Library and Digitally Assisted Diagnosis, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana.