Help us achieve our goals:
make a donation »
Join the RHS today and
support our charity
Free personalised gardening advice
RHS members get reduced ticket prices
RHS members get free access to RHS Gardens
Reduced prices on RHS Garden courses and workshops
020 3176 5800
Mon – Fri | 9am – 5pm
Make a donation
Join the RHS today and support our charity
I have forgotten my password
Keep me signed in
Register for free to receive our newsletters, add comments to blogs/articles and to save content.
Blossom wilt is a fungal disease of apples, pears, plums, cherries and related ornamental trees. It kills blossoms, spurs and small branches. The problem is caused by the same fungi responsible for brown rot of the fruit.
Blossom wilt is a fungal disease of trees, especially fruit trees, caused by the fungi Monilinia laxa and M. fructigena. The two fungi are very closely related and indistinguishable to the naked eye. M. laxa more commonly causes blossom wilt on pears and stone fruit, and a specific form, M. laxa f. sp. mali is restricted to apples. M. fructigena more commonly causes the disease known as brown rot in the fruit.
Many tree fruit are affected, including apples, pears, plums, cherries, nectarines, peaches, apricots, and ornamental varieties.
The damage begins at flowering time in mid-spring, but becomes more obvious as shoots die back in late spring and early summer.
You may see the following symptoms:
There are no fungicides labelled specifically to control blossom wilt. On ornamental trees only, fungicides applied for other purposes, such as powdery mildew or rust control, may give some incidental control though this is not claimed by the manufacturers.
Fungicides for gardeners (Adobe Acrobat pdf document outlining fungicides available to gardeners)
Chemicals: storing and disposing safelyChemicals: using a sprayerChemicals: using safely and effectively
Fruit becomes infected through wounds, particularly bird damage. Affected fruits exhibit brown rot, mummify and remain hanging on the tree and, where they touch the bark, cause small infections (cankers). The fungus remains in the dead fruit and cankers over winter and releases spores in the spring to cause the blossom-wilt phase of the disease. These infections in turn release spores to infect wounded fruit.
AppleApple cankerApple scabBacterial cankerBrown rotDisposing of diseased materialFireblightSilver leafTree and Shrubs: scab diseases
the RHS today and get 12 months for the price of 9
RHS members can get exclusive individual advice from the RHS Gardening Advice team.
Register for the site or sign in to share your experiences on this topic and seek advice from our community of gardeners.
We're a UK charity established to share the best in gardening. We want to enrich everyone's life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.
Join the RHS today and get 12 months for the price of 9