Quince leaf blight

Quince leaf blight is caused by the fungus Diplocarpon mespili. In wet seasons it can cause severe leaf spotting and premature leaf fall, whilst fruit may also be spotted and distorted.

Quince leaf blight

Quick facts

Common name Quince leaf blight
Scientific name Diplocarpon mespili
Plants affected Mainly a problem on common quince, but a range of other plants in the family Rosaceae can also be affected
Main symptoms Dark spots on foliage and fruit, premature leaf loss
Caused by Fungus
Timing Spring until autumn

What is quince leaf blight?

Common quince (Cydonia oblonga) is very often affected by this leaf spot disease, particularly in wet summers. The vigour and cropping of the tree may be reduced in severe cases.

Symptoms

On affected trees, quince leaf blight leads to a number of symptoms;

  • Small dark spots with grey centres are formed on the leaves
  • Numerous spots can develop on a single leaf – these may coalesce and the leaves turn brown or yellow and fall prematurely
  • Spotting and distortion of the fruits may also occur
  • Infected shoot tips can die back

Control

Non chemical

  • Rake up and dispose of affected leaves as they fall, and also the rest of the leaves during autumn leaf fall
  • Prune out any dead shoots during the winter
  • Maintain good cultivation, especially feeding to help the tree grow more foliage

Chemical control

No fungicides are currently available for use on trees from which the fruit will be consumed.

The fungicides tebuconazole (Bayer Fungus Fighter Concentrate), tebuconazole with trifloxystrobin (Bayer Fungus Fighter Plus), and triticonazole (Scotts Fungus Clear Ultra and Scotts Fungus Clear Ultra Gun) are labelled for the control of a number of diseases on ornamental plants and, whilst not mentioning quince leaf blight specifically, may give some control of the disease on trees being grown as ornamental specimens, from which the fruit will not be consumed.

Inclusion of a product does not indicate a recommendation or endorsement by the RHS. It is a list of products currently available to the home gardener.

Download

Fungicides for gardeners (Adobe Acrobat pdf document outlining fungicides available to gardeners)

Links

Chemicals: using a sprayer
Chemicals: using safely and effectively
Chemicals: storing and disposing safely

Biology

The fungus overwinters on dead twigs and on fallen leaves, and spores produced on these start new infections in the spring. Once the first leaf spots have formed, fruiting bodies develop within them, and the spores that they produce are splashed in rain droplets to create further infections on the leaves, shoot tips and fruit. The disease is therefore most severe during wet summers.

Diplocarpon mespili can also affect numerous other plants in the family Rosaceae, causing leaf spots and blotches (often similar in appearance to those on quince). Apart from common quince, it is seen most frequently on hawthorn, medlar, pyracantha and pear. However, outbreaks on these hosts are sporadic and usually far less damaging than those on quince.

See also...

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  • TracyF

    By TracyF on 31/08/2015

    I have a Vranja variety of Quince that is 5 years old. For the last 3 years it has had a severe case of Quince leaf blight. It has only flowered a couple of times but never produced fruit. I have tried clearing affected leafs and fertilising the plant well but to no avail. Does anyone know of a way to be blight free?


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