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Fruit Trees- Pest and Disease

Every year we have people emailing us with pictures of either pests or diseases on their fruit trees and asking us what the problem is and what they can do about it.
The most common problems are:
1. Pear Slug, usually in November/ December as everything warms up and the pupate comes out of its case in the soil to lay eggs on the host tree.
Looks as though a gross black slug is eating layers off the leaves, leaving just the lacy veins.
2. Silver Leaf, which appears on the first flush of growth in spring, disappears again until late autumn and then appears again. Silvery leaves.
3. Bronze Beatle, damage (holes in leaves eaten at night most often but also in the day time).
Infestations occur by bronze ladybird-like insects, which live in long grass and attack trees in times of water stress mostly in November/December.
4. Leaf Roller, usually on apples in summer.
Leaves on new growth are rolled right up with caterpillars inside the roll, which eat the leaves as they hatch.
5. Cicada damage, zip like marks on the bark of main stems and branches that are actually the places cicadas lay their eggs. These hatch into larvae which eat the cambium layer of tree, and weaken the tree in that place, also in times of water stress, the worse the stress, the worse the damage.
6. Bacterial Blast, lesions on the trunks and branches of stone fruit where gooey sap oozes.
7. Leaf Curl, bubbly redish colour leaves usually occurring on the first flush of growth in spring, most often disappearing with second flush, usually mild but occasionally serious.
8. Die Back, where the tips die back sometimes, with the tree not getting bigger in the first year after planting. Usually occurs because the tree was not pruned before planting, and it was not planted with enough care and/or not watered well enough, also water stress.

9. Codlin Moth – As we are learning through the science of biological agriculture and epigenetic, our plants and animals and humans will only attract pests and diseases if they are out of balance and not resonating at their best functioning level. Pests and diseases are nature’s way of cleaning up the rubbish!! Apple trees get all kinds of diseases and pests and almost all of them are because the mineral levels in the ground are not optimal, and most are because of a lack of available calcium. Put the focus on soil health and ecosystem health and your codlin moth will disappear.. that is the only regenerative way I know of to  deal with such problems, this is why forest garden support species are so so important, they are the species that mine the minerals our heavy feeding trees need, and so we can wean ourselves off fertilliser

Genetics and Environment:
Over the years I have come to understand that tree health is just like my health, is just like my chicken’s health etc. Health is determined by genetic strength, and environment.
That means we need to plant heritage fruit trees.
Heritage trees are the only trees we have that were selected and grown to be strong and healthy and high brix without chemical industrial inputs… they have the best genetic strength, so long as we are careful about the selection process.
On top of that we must supply them with the minerals they need as well as the right amounts of air in the soil (50% ideally) and also the correct amount of soil moisture to avoid root stress and to enable the trees to pick up the minerals at all.
If we don’t do any one of these things pests or disease issues will undoubtedly result at some point in some form.

My suggestions are:
1. Follow our suggested tree planting guide on the website. The air, the minerals, and the moisture are all critical.
2. Only plant what you can take care of well. One tree well taken care of will produce more fruit than 10 trees that do not get their needs met.
3. If you didn’t do that, get advice as to the best way to achieve a similar result. It may mean you have to feed your trees well each year with EF Soil Force or EF Nature’s Garden, get a Reams soil test etc.
Find a way to water over summer.
Foliar feed in the short term.
4. And lastly there are short term ways to deal with the symptoms of stress, i.e. pests and diseases. My current choice is spraying our EF BioPesticide which is entirely composed of beneficial microbes, which helps create an environment that supports the trees, keeping bugs and diseases at bay. It will heal silver leaf, leaf curl, and everything else, so long as you also pay attention to the moisture levels and the minerals, the air levels and possibly the drainage.
There is also neem oil and several other acceptable options, see our website.
5. Check out our website for all
fertilisers and soil tests mentioned.

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Planting Fruit Trees

Koanga Tree Planting Instructions

• The aim of these instructions is to make sure you end up with a strong healthy tree that grows a main frame fast and is capable of producing high brix crops for many years.
• Dig a hole 1x1x1m for each tree, that is a 1 cubic meter hole for each tree. If you are on heavy clay or soil that does not drain, you will have to put drainage out the bottom of your hole, and if you are unable to do that you may have to build your tree space partly up above the existing soil surface.
• As you dig out the soil, separate topsoil from subsoil.
• Mix your top soil 50/50 with compost. You must use high quality aerobically made compost – that excludes all the municipal compost available in shops as far as I know, you have to get organized and make it yourself, or you could use well composted hay or well rotted bark etc.
• If you have your own compost, and it has been made aerobically using high brix plant and animal ingredients, and you have also added minerals (especially calcium and phosphate), and seaweed, then you may not need to also add fertilizer. I would suggest you still add paramagnetic rock dust to get the current flowing and things moving.
• If you don’t have high quality aerobic, highly mineralized and biologically active compost, we suggest you add 5kg of EF Soil-Force mixed throughout the topsoil/compost mix, or sprinkled in layers throughout the hole per tree. EF Soil-Force contains Sechura R.P.R. (soft rock phosphate) and provides available Calcium, Phosphorus and trace elements which are composted with Humic Acid, fish protein, 4 different seaweeds, Lucerne Dust, animal manures and a highly paramagnetic Basalt Rock Dust (CGS4400). It is also inoculated with beneficial bacteria and soil fungi (e.g. Azobacter, Trichoderma, Bacillus Subtillus and Bio-Vam Mycorrhizal fungi). Leave this mix for 3 weeks before planting your trees.
• Plant your tree into the hole so that it is sitting in the soil at the same level as it was in the nursery or pot previously, and making sure it is on a small mound, so that as the soil in the hole settles your tree will not be in a hollow!
• Your tree will also grow better and perform better if you plant it so that the strongest roots face into the South. Trees roots will have aligned already in the nursery with the magnetic field of the earth, which means the strongest roots will face south, so if you can also plant it facing this direction, your tree will perform better and be happier! All Koanga fruit trees have a paint dot on the North side of the tree so you can also check how to plant it.
• Make a berm at a radius of 1m around the tree to hold all the nutrients, mulch and moisture inside it. You may have to breach this berm in the winter so that it does not hold water inside and drown the tree! After year 2 it won’t be necessary to maintain the berm.
• Sprinkle another kilo of your top class compost out to 1m radius all around the tree or inside your berm, and mulch heavily to suppress weeds over the Summer or sprinkle 500g of EF Soil-Force to a radius of 1m all around the tree or inside your berm, and mulch heavily to suppress weeds and help maintain moisture over the Summer.
• Tree roots are like water pumps, one of their jobs is to pump water up into the tree branches, after planting the trees you must prune them back so that the short roots can support the size of the tree, if the tree is not pruned back, the roots could not support long branches and those will die back. Prune the trees so that when they re-grow they develop branches and growth where you want it- thinking of the main frame you want your trees to have years from now.
• Continue feeding your tree on an annual basis each Autumn after the rains come, using either highly mineralized composted animal manure, or high quality highly mineralized compost, or EF Soil-Force, or other suitable biological fertilizers.
• Our advice is to plant only as many fruit trees as you can take care of in this way. Your rewards will outweigh the effort required!
• PS: We use Environmental Fertilisers products, however the most important thing is to choose minerally balanced and biologically active products.

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Forest Garden Database

At the bottom of this page you can find a downloadable file of the full version of the database we have created and use here at Koanga.
This database was mainly created by Raleigh Latham, an intern, during the 2012 spring internship, it was edited and managed by Kay Baxter and Shaked From later on, and still does.
This is a living document, its free for everyone to use and share freely, and it will change and grow together with us.
It is possible that you will find some mistakes in the database, please let us know about them through email to Shaked – [email protected]

some time, soon enough, I hope, a better database will be published.
At the 2013 food forest hui, a group of food forest enthusiasts took the challenge of creating a national forest garden database, that will be online open source document, that means that anyone could add to it and use it.
We have already connected several databases (the Koanga one is one of them) and now there is some editing to be done on it, and then a lot of work to make it available to everyone online…. hopefully soon.

Food Forest Database for website