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A Simple Guide on Growing of Lemons

Lemon plant is a small evergreen tree with yellow fruits which are high in vitamin C, fiber and various beneficial plant compounds. The lemon juice is used to make cocktails, soft drinks and lemonade.

Lemon have numerous health benefits which include,

  • Supports heart health
  • Improves digestive health
  • Reduces cancer risk
  • Protects against anemia
  • Prevents kidney stones
  • Helps in controlling body weight

How to plant and care a lemon seedling

  1. While planting dig a hole 2ft by 2ft, mix the top soil with half bucket manure. Fertilizing should be done after the first flush of leaves. Apply N.PK, two table spoonful and this should be repeated after each and every three months and as the tree nears flowering stage, apply fertilizer with micro elements to enhance good fruit growth.
  2. Ensure your seedling gets enough water. Water twice a week.
  3. Weeding should be thorough, as weeds compete for nutrients with the lemon tree and they harbor pests which eventually attacks lemon tree.
  4. Pruning should be done yearly by removing the dead, broken and diseased branches.

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Lemon trees generally produce their first crop of fruit at around 3 years of age.

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Be a Millionaire by Growing Pink Lady Apple

Pink lady was originally bred by John Cripps. A round to asymmetrical shape with vivid green skin covered in a pinkish blush that becomes a deeper shade of red where the apple is exposed to more sun. They are earliest to blossom and last to be harvested among other varieties of apples.

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Pink Lady apples had elevated levels of flavonoids, which are natural compounds, also called antioxidants. It can improve clinical indications of cardiovascular health, including blood pressure and its response to stress. Other health benefits include;

  • Reducing the risk of diabetes. Apples help regulate blood sugar. It contains compounds that help by inhibiting enzymes involved in the breakdown of carbohydrates into simple sugars; by stimulating pancreatic cells to produce insulin; by decreasing the absorption of sugars into the bloodstream.
  • Preventing constipation. Fresh apples are high in fiber, which adds bulk to the stool. Apples contain both soluble and insoluble fiber, and roughage.
  • Fighting bad breath. Apples contain pectin, which helps control food odors. Pectin also promotes saliva, which cleanses breath.
  • Preventing asthma attacks. Asthma sufferers often have low levels of antioxidants. Apples are high in vitamin C and flavonoids. Both are antioxidant.
  • Reducing the risk of stroke. Intake of apples is related to a decreased risk of thrombotic stroke.
  • Combating fatigue. The high vitamin C and antioxidant content in apples counter the free radicals leading to oxidative stress, which has been linked to fatigue.

How To Plant, Care and Maintain Pink Lady Apple

 

The pink lady is propagated by grafting.

  1. While planting dig a hole 2ft by 2ft, mix the top soil with half bucket manure. Fertilizing should be done after the first flush of leaves. Apply N.PK, two table spoonful and this should be repeated after each and every three months but as the tree nears flowering, apply fertilizer with micro elements to enhance good fruit growth.
  2. Ensure your seedling gets enough water. Water twice a week.
  3. Weeding should be thorough, as weeds compete for nutrients with the pink lady tree and they harbor pests which eventually attacks apple tree.
  4. Pruning should be done yearly  by removing the dead, broken and diseased branches.

Pink lady apple production.

pink lady fruits

An acre supports 200 plants of these apples. A mature pink lady apple produces an average of 400 fruits. A farmer should harvest about 80000 fruits in an acre. This translates to 1,600,000ksh as one fruit fetches 20ksh. Go for pink lady and you will never be disappointed.

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A Simple Guide on Growing the Miraculous Washington Navel Orange

It is a delicious, easily peeled; seedless fruit is produced by this medium-sized tree. Fragrant flowers in spring and handsome foliage year-round. Washington navel orange is adapted to all areas, except desert and cool coastal areas.

They are mostly grown for human consumption and their big advantage is that they have a long growing season.

Steps while planting and managing Washington navel oranges

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The Washington navel orange is propagated by grafting and cuttings.

  1. While planting dig a hole 2ft by 2ft, mix the top soil with half bucket manure and still Washington navel oranges can be planted in large containers. Fertilizing should be done after the first flush of leaves. Apply N.PK, two table spoonful and this should be repeated after each and every three months but as the tree nears flowering, apply fertilizer with micro elements to enhance good fruit growth.
  2. Ensure your seedling gets enough water. Water twice a week.
  3. Weeding should be thorough, as weeds compete for nutrients with the orange tree and they harbor pests which eventually attacks orange tree.
  4. Pruning should be done yearly by removing the dead, broken and diseased branches .
  5. Harvesting is done by tasting a single orange on the tree seven months after flowering, and repeat every two weeks until the flavor of the oranges is sweet enough for you.

    washington navel fruit
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Diseases affecting apple farming in Kenya

Powdery mildew

powdery mildew affecting apple plant

Symptoms

Spores appear first as white, felt-like patches on the lower surface of the leaves of the apple.  Secondary infections commonly appear first on the lower leaf surface, and may be detectable on the upper leaf surface as chlorotic spots.  Leaves infected along the leaf margin may become curled, crinkled, or folded longitudinally.  As the disease progresses, affected tissues develop the powdery, silver-gray appearance.

Control

Where infestations are low, pruning of the infected terminal shoots is an effective control method. When the rate of infestation is high use foliar fungicides.

 

Leaf spot

Symptoms

It begins as tiny purple flecks or specks on the front of the leaf. The purple flecks rapidly expand into irregularly shaped, often concentric, lesions. In severe infestation the leaves turn yellow and drop off.

Control

Pruning of the affected shoots and planting resistant cultivars of apple.

Also spray effective fungicides e.g. copper based fungicides.

Apple scab

Symptoms

apple fruit affected by scab

It appears as pale yellow or olive-green spots on the upper surface of leaves. Dark, velvety spots may appear on the lower surface. Severely infected leaves become twisted and puckered. The same symptoms on the leaves appear the same way on fruits

Control

Plant resistant cultivars and proper timing of sprays is needed for fungicides to control disease.

 

 

 

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Banana Diseases and Their Remedies

Banana Diseases and Their Remedies

  1. Mycosphaerella Leaf Spot

leaf spot in banana leaf

Early symptoms appear on the third or fourth leaf from the top. There are small spindle shaped spots on foliage with grayish and yellowish halo running parallel to veins. A small number of these enlarge, become oval; the colour also changes to dark brown. Still later, the center of the spot dies, turning light grey surrounded by a brown ring. In severe cases, numerous spots coalesce, killing large parts of the leaf.

For effective control of the disease make sure that the farm has improved drainage, control of weeds, removal of diseased suckers and adopting correct spacing. Also copper based fungicides spray is recommended.

  1. Panama or Fusarium Wilt

fusarium in bananas

It’s a fungal disease mostly common in poorly drained soils. Initial symptoms are yellowing of lower leaves, including leaf blades and petioles.

For effective control of panama disease  plant cultivars that are resistant  to the disease, make sure drainage of the soil is excellent and in case there is serious infestation in the farm uproot and burn the affected plants. Always ensure your suckers and tissues cultures come from certified nurseries.

  1. Banana bract mosaic virus (BBMV)

Its symptoms are spindle shaped pinkish to reddish streaks on the pseudo stem and midrib. Typical mosaic streaks on bracts, peduncle and fingers observed.

It survives and spreads through aphid vectors. It’s controlled by uprooting and destruction of affected plants together with their rhizomes.

  1. Banana streak disease

banana streak disease

Its symptoms are yellow streaking of leaves which become necrotic producing a black streaked appearance in older leaves.

Its spread through infected planting materials and mealy bugs.

For effective control, destroy the affected plants, use clean planting materials and control the vectors namely mealy bugs.

  1. Infectious Chlorosis (CMV)

It’s a viral disease.

banana chlorosis

Its symptoms are yellowish green patches and thickening of veins. Leaf sheaths also pull away from the pseudo stem easily. It manifests itself at all stages of crop growth. Due to repeated use of suckers from infected plants it leads to gradual decrease in yield and quality.

For effective control destroy all affected plants and always plant tissues and suckers which are disease free and from certified nurseries.

  1. Bunchy top virus\ Curly top

Symptoms occur as prominent dark green streaks on the petiole and midrib along the leaf veins. Petioles fail to elongate. Leaves are reduced in size, chlorotic, stand upright and become brittle. Flowers display mottled and streaked discoloration.

For effective control of the disease, destroy all the affected plants and control the banana aphid vector.

  1. Anthracnose

anthracnose in bananas

Symptoms at the initial stages represent small circular black spots develop on the affected leaves. These spots enlarge in size turning to brown colour. The skin of the fruit turns black and shrivels and becomes covered with characteristic pink acervuli. It affects the whole finger and later the disease spreads and affects the whole bunch.

Its spread through conidia of the fungi and numerous insects which frequently visit banana flowers and also spread the disease.

Its effectively controlled by removal of decaying leaves and remaining floral parts and also avoid damage to the banana tissue during harvest, packaging and storage.

 

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Join the lucrative Business of Kiwi Farming

Introduction

Kiwi are small edible berry of a woody vine in the genus Actinidia. . It has a fibrous, dull greenish -brown skin and bright green or golden flesh with rows of tiny, black, edible seeds.

Health benefits of consuming kiwis include maintaining healthy skin tone and texture, reducing blood pressure, and preventing heart disease and stroke. It also decreases the risk of obesity and overall mortality.

Kiwi fruit contains high amount of vitamin C, vitamin E and polyphenols which protect the cardiovascular system.

Kiwi plant has the highest density of any fruit for vitamin C and magnesium limited mineral in the food supply of most affluent countries and a nutrient important for cardiovascular health. Among the top three low-sodium, high-potassium fruits, kiwifruit ranks number one, having more potassium than a banana or citrus fruits.

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Care and Maintenance of Kiwi Plant.

Kiwi plants for them to thrive best require the following conditions, fertile well drained soils, provided with wind

pruning kiwi plant

shelter ,adequate water content in the soil, warm temperatures and maximum sunlight.

Kiwi plants after transplanting take an average of 3 to 4 years to mature and produce fruits and have a long lifespan of up to 30 years depending on the care given to the plant.

Kiwifruit vines require vigorous pruning, similar to that of grapevines. Fruit is borne on one-year-old and older canes, but production declines as each cane ages. Canes should be pruned off and replaced after their third year.

Kiwi Fruit Market

kiwi fruits

Kiwi fruits should be graded according their size and weight. Fruits above 80 grams should be graded as grade A. Fruits above 40 to 80 grams should be graded as grade B.

Kiwi fruits have a shelf life of two months. the storage facilities should have high humidity for the fruits to stay long enough.

Grade A fruits fetches 100 Ksh in local market while grade B fruit fetches 80 Ksh.

For Kiwi Seedlings Call 0706222888

 

 

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How to Identify and manage Papaya diseases

Introduction

English: Pawpaw; Swahili: papaya. Pawpaw is a widely cultivated fruit tree in the tropics and subtropics. General Benefits of Pawpaw Ripe papaya is a favorite breakfast and dessert fruit that is available year-round.

It can be used to make fruit salads, refreshing drinks, jam, jelly, marmalade, candies and crystallized fruits. Green fruits are pickled or cooked as a vegetable.

Requirements for papaya growing

  • Papaya is a tropical plant that grows best in warmer climates.
  • They perform best on deep, well drained soils with high organic matter.
  • Most soil types are suitable but avoid heavy clay soils.
  • Good drainage is very important for papaya production to minimize loss of trees to root rots and water-logging.
  • The trees should be planted between 2m apart and regular mulching is recommended.

Diseases Affecting Papaya

Papaya ring spot

papaya ring spot

Symptoms

Leaves develop prominent mosaic and chlorosis on the leaf lamina, and water soaked oily streaks on the petioles and upper part of the trunk.  Severe symptoms often include a distortion of young leaves.

Distinctive ring spot patterns on fruit consisting of concentric rings and spots, or c-shaped markings – these markings persist during ripening and can darken to become orange-brown rings as the fruit matures

Profitable chilli farming in Kenya

Spread

Aphids transmit the virus to papaya in a non persistent manner;

Control

There is no cure for papaya ring spot disease.
On commercial plantations the early detection and prompt removal of infected plants can contain a localized outbreak. However once the disease becomes established, diseased trees and severely affected blocks should be destroyed, as they provide a source of infection for further spread.

Powdery mildew    

powdery mildew in pawpaw

symptoms

Small slightly darkened areas, which later become white powdery spots. These spots enlarge and cover the entire leaf area.

Control

Apply sulfur or copper-based fungicides to prevent infection of susceptible plants. For best results, apply early or at first sign of disease. Spray all plant parts thoroughly and repeat at 7-10 day intervals up to the day of harvest.

Anthracnose

anthracnose in papaya

Symptoms

Fungal disease caused by the pathogen Colletotrichum gloeosporioides.
Small well defined dried pink spots on the surface of ripening fruit. Later, these lesions grow to 5 cm diameter, become rounded, sunken (from 3 to 5 mm deep) and brown to black in color.

Control

Keep ripening fruits from touching the soil.

Preventative fungicides may help control papaya anthracnose. Use a fungicide containing Copper hydroxide or Mancozeb. Spray the orchard with the fungicide every two weeks.

Papaya mosaic

papaya mosaic virus

Symptoms

Top young leaves of the plants are reduced in size and show blister like patches of dark-green tissue, alternating with yellowish-green lamina.

Control

The virus can be spread through human activity, tools and equipment. Frequently wash your hands and disinfect garden tools, stakes, ties, pots, greenhouse benches to reduce the risk of contamination and avoid working in the garden during damp conditions (viruses are easily spread when plants are wet).

Damping off

Symptoms

Disease of young seedlings. Fungus colonizes the seed and hinders germination. Lesions are seen on the stem at or just above soil level. The stem becomes watery and shrinks, followed by death of the plant.

Control

Use a sterile potting mix, rather than soil from your garden while sowing seeds. Plant your seeds at the proper depth and don’t crowd your seedlings.

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Reasons/Factors as To Why Your Fruit Tree Aborts

Abortion in plants is premature termination of the development of pollen, gametes, embryos, seeds, fruits, flowers etc. There are several factors which lead to your fruit tree abortion. The most important step you can take to help you identify the cause of the problem is to seek the services of an extension officer especially one with good experience in horticultural crops in your region. Abortion may be due to environmental and cultural factors that can contribute to, or cause, flower bud abortion.

Insufficient light. Flowers require a relatively large supply of energy to develop normally. The energy can come from stored carbohydrates, such as from bulbs and tubers, and light that drive photosynthesis. When the amount of light is not sufficient to support the energy demands of the flowers, they can abort. Pruning is an effective method of increasing light to your plants.

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Temperatures. Low temperatures especially in highland areas can slow down pollen germination. Periods of low temperatures and overcast skies can cause flower drops. Fruits planted in highland areas always have a problem with slow flower setting and even flower abortion leading to failure in production of fruits.

Deficiency or excessive nutrients. Calcium is a macro nutrient and boron is a micro nutrient that is both components of cell walls and developing flowers. When deficient in one or both of these elements, flower buds can abort.

Too much compost. High application of compost mulch can also contribute to vegetative growth at the expense of flowering and fruit setting.

Fertilizers.  As it matures, it is important to apply some potassium and calcium.

Pollination. For any fertilization to be successful pollination has to take place. Bees and other nectar foraging insects such as the carpenter bees play an important role in cross-pollination of passion fruit flowers. Due to use of chemical pesticides in many farms, many bees are destroyed by the chemical spraying of such crops, in this case reducing their pollination services.

Water. Inadequate water especially at the crucial flowering stage can lead to flower drops. Lack of water can result in tiny fruits that are not marketable.

Birds and insect pests. Too many birds and insects pests can also cause flower drops in fruit orchard, they therefore be controlled mainly at the flowering stage.

For the best extension services, call 0706222888.

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Why Every Farmer Should Undertake a Soil Test of his/her Farm

Soil analysis results inform the farmer of deficiencies or excesses, if any, of minerals. They also advise on the correct type and amount of fertilizers to apply. They also enlighten on the method and time of application of fertilizer.

The genesis of low yields today in our farms year by year originates to lack of our beloved farmers not having full information on how their soils nutrient value is. To achieve high and quality yields a farmer has to determine the level of nutrients availability, to provide the basis for calculating the required fertilizing of each crop and to evaluate the supply of each nutrient element and determine how to manage the nutrient. High quality soil analysis is basis of planning of fertilizing, and thus the quality of the entire production cycle, which results in a high quality and yield and better farm management.

NOTE; Soil acidity (pH), which rarely affects the growth of most crops directly in the range 5.5-7.5 but can influence the availability of other nutrients.

Soil analysis determines the content of basic plant nutrients; nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P2O5), potassium (K 2 O), pH, humus content, total CaCO3, available lime, organic matter, total sulphur (S), trace elements, and other physical characteristics (capacity, permeability, density, pH – value).

Here are some of the plant nutrient deficiencies;

Plants can also suffer deficiencies where the growing conditions are poor and the plants are unable to take up nutrients present in the soil. Very acid or alkaline conditions, dryness and water logging can all make it difficult for plants to take up soil nutrients.

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Nutrient deficiencies cause symptoms such as leaf yellowing or browning, sometimes in distinctive patterns. This may be accompanied by stunted growth and poor flowering or fruiting.

Macro nutrient

 Nitrogen

comparance of a nitrogen deficient plant and a healthy plant

How to identify

Check the field for abnormalities. N deficient crops are stunted and discolored. Specifically:

  • Older leaves or whole plants are yellowish green
  • Old leaves and sometimes all leaves become light green and chlorotic at the tip
  • Entire field may appear yellowish.

Phosphorous

How to identify

phosphorous deficient plant
  • Slow and stunted growth.
  • Leaves may curl
  • Leaves become purplish (or reddish-purple), most often first on their undersides and later on the tops.

Potassium

How to identify

  • On the oldest leaves, yellowing occurs in marginal and interveinal zones.
  • Brown scorching and curling of leaf tips as well as yellowing between leaf veins.
  • Plant growth, root development, and seed and fruit development are usually reduced.
  • Yellow stripes may appear along leaf interveins and lower leaves may bend downward. 

    potassium deficient plants

Magnesium

How to identify

  • Yellowing of the leaf structure found between veins.
  • Older leaves turn yellow at the edge giving a green overhead shape at the Center of the leaf.

Calcium

How to identify

  • New leaves appear distorted or irregularly shaped.
  • Development of necrotic tissue on young leaves.
  • In severe cases root tips may die back.

    calcium deficient plant

Sulfur

How to identify

  • Uniform pale green chlorosis throughout the plant.
  • Youngest leaves may appear pale earlier or more severely than mature leaves.
  • Yellowing of the leaves, but nitrogen deficiencies begin with the older leaves first.

Micro nutrients

Boron

How to identify

  • Thickening of young leaves.
  • The leaves and stem near the shoot tip are brittle and break easily when bent.
  • Young leaves are usually paler than the older leaves.

Manganese

How to identify

  • Leaves become yellow and there is also interveinal chlorosis.
  • Pale grayish green interveinal chlorosis spreads from the tip to the leaf base.
  • Necrotic brown spots develop later and leaf becomes dark brown.
  • Newly emerging leaves are short, narrow, and light green

Copper 

How to identify

  • Dieback of stems and twigs.
  • Yellowing of leaves.
  • Stunted growth and pale green leaves that wither easily.

Iron

How to identify

  • Leaf yellowing first appears on the younger upper leaves in interveinal tissues.
  • Leaves to turn completely yellow or almost white, and then brown as leaves die.

Zinc

How to identify

  • Short internodes and a decrease in leaf size.
  • Delayed maturity

    zinc deficient plants

Benefits of testing farm soil.                     

  • The world population is growing up and thus fertile soils are required to produce more food.
  • Farmers can easily avoid soil degradation.
  • Leads to minimization of fertilizer expenditure.
  • Informs the farmer on the current health status of the soil.

Appropriate time to take the soil sample

Soil samples can be taken any time throughout the year. However, it’s also appropriate to take soil samples after the harvest. This will give you ample time to prepare the land as per the recommendations of the soil sample results before the next planting season. The soil should not be too dry or wet when taking the soil sample in a farm. In orchards where there are permanent crops, soil test should be done after every four years.

OxfarmAg Ltd message to Kenyan farmers;

Smallholder farmers, particularly those in Kenya, often lack access to soil testing laboratories to determine their soil’s fertility and the nutrients required to increase crop productivity. This causes farmers to apply fertilizer that may not meet their soil’s needs. Soil analysis will inform you of your soils’ deficiencies. Soil testing can also help to predict return on investment for Kenyan farmers.

Here at oxfarm we have dedicated staff with a primary goal of providing accurate soil analysis in a timely manner.

Frequent soil testing helps farmers decide whether their current management is robbing future productivity and profits.

Soil testing serves as the best guide available for determining nutrient needs for growing crops. Soil testing also provides a balanced fertility program which is a vital component of sustainable farming programs that are profitable, efficient and environmentally responsible.

We offer soil testing services at highly competitive prices and this will assist a farmer to undertake the correct management practices in his farm.

We offer individual package of soil testing at ksh 2800 per sample exclusive of transport which is charged at ksh 20 per km from Nairobi to the farm and back when coming to collect the soil sample.

Contact us on  0706222888.

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Ways to eradicate Pest and diseases in macadamia farming

Oversight.

The macadamia nut tree goes back to Australia and it was introduced in Kenya between 1945 to 1948. In Kenya, macadamia grows in the same climate suitable for growing coffee. The macadamia nut trees remained almost totally unknown in Kenya until after independence in 1964 when a Kenya farming family, Bob Harries and Peter Harries started multiplying the trees in a seedling nursery, planting them on their farms and selling some to other interested farmers.

Basic Requirements

The tree thrives best at 0-2000m attitude and grows to 9-20m a height and 45 cm diameter (dbh-diameter at breast height). The tree also grows best in areas with mean annual temperature of 15-29 Deg C. and mean annual rainfall of 700-2600 mm. It also requires well-drained soil which is fertile red loam or alluvial derived largely from basic igneous rock such as basalt with a pH of 5.5 to 6.5. Macadamia trees also don’t tolerate water and soil with high salt concentrations. They do well in drained loam and sandy loam with good organic matter content.

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Here are some of the pest and diseases that affect macadamia trees,

Pests and Rodents.  

Rats

rat chewed macadamia nuts

Rattus rattus damages 5–10% of the developing macadamia (Macadamia integrifolia) nut crop each year. Extensive and persistent snap trapping significantly reduce rat populations and depredations on developing macadamia nuts. Also, many growers apply rodenticides to reduce rat populations in orchards.

Typical nut borer

They make holes by extensive tunneling through husk and shell and are visible when nut is cut open.

Remedy – Use resistance macadamia varieties.

– Application of appropriate insecticide.

Macadamia nut borer

macadamia nut borer

They make holes in husk of the nuts. Infested nuts drop off the tree prematurely.

Remedy – Difficult to control with an insecticide once the larvae have entered the nuts. Appropriate insecticide should be applied if green fallen nuts exhibit damage or live unparasitized eggs are present on the tree.

Diseases

Raceme blight

Causative agent; fungi

Symptoms. Small brown spots on flower petals which spread to flower stalks.

Remedy. Application of copper based fungicides during wet weather.

Phytophthora trunk and stem canker

Causative agent; phytophthora cinnamomi

Symptoms. Stunted and chlorotic young trees. Lesions girdle the stem. In mature trees there is dark discoloration of wood is visible. Dark cankers may extend from trunk at the soil line to the lower branches of the tree.

It spreads by water flash as the fungi survive in plant debris in soil.

Remedy. Plant disease free stock. Soils should be well drained. Apply protective fungicides to tree trunks prior to wet season.

Anthracnose

Causative agent; colletotrichum gloeosporiodes.

anthracnose in macadamia nuts

Symptoms; Black lesions on leaves and fruits. The lesions do not have clear, finite edges and often appear to merge with the green colour of the husk. These lesions can spread onto the nut. Husk rot can cause premature nut drop.

Remedy. Amistar Top (Syngenta) and Bellis (BASF) will both control the disease. Reduce inoculum by performing good orchard hygiene, for instance remove old nuts from the orchard floor and husks should be composted before using as mulch.

Husk spot

husk spot in macadamia

Chlorotic to yellow flecks on the husks which enlarge and develop tan brown centers’. Lesions may be covered in powdery gray spore masses during wet periods which mature into tough woody spots.

Remedy. Apply copper based fungicides. When planting go for varieties which are not susceptible to the disease.