Guard your transitions

Fall is a glorious time of the year. As gardeners we don’t just appreciate the spectacular fall foliage colours we also rejoice in the sheer amount of potential leaf compost or leaf mulch. But we need to guard our transition from fall into winter. What we do today will affect our garden soil tomorrow.

This year pear trees in southern Ontario were hit hard by Pear Trellis Rust (fungus, Gymnosporangium sabinae). Attractive as these orange spots are initially, after seeing the juxtaposition against the green leaf of my Flemish Beauty pear tree, my heart sank. It was just a matter of time before the pretty orange spot transforms into a spore-spewing protrusion.


pear trellis rust

The wet windy spring had transferred the overwintering spores on junipers (the winter host) to my pear (summer host). And it just wasn’t me that had it. I noticed the espaliered ornamental pears at Chappell house (Riverwood Conservancy) also had the “measles.” While volunteering as a Master Gardener at the CNE fair, a quarter of the questions were about pear trellis rust.

Tweets from Voice Of Tree Care on #treechat confirmed there’s not much you can do once the pear tree has the disease (especially with Ontario’s cosmetic pesticide ban, which I support btw). “Don’t let the leaves overwinter,” Amy stressed, “Prevent spreading the disease, pick up the leaves and burn them.” Or put them in a garbage bag since we can’t burn leaves in urban areas.

So, pear leaves with pear trellis rust are a definite no-no for leaf compost or leaf mulch. This is what I mean about guarding your transitions. Nature will guarantee you a pile of misery if you are lazy, forgetful or complacent. HA!

Written by Cristina da Silva
Thursday, October 13, 2011 in Building Soil

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