Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association
Organic Gardening Tips

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Fall Orchard Sanitation Helps Control Pear Diseases

November 30, 2017

Fabraea leaf spot is a fungal disease that affects pear and quince fruit and foliage. It can defoliate trees and deform or destroy fruit when severe, according to C.J. Walke, MOFGA's organic orchardist, in his column in the winter issue of The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener. The fungus overwinters on infected leaves and fruit, so orchard sanitation is the best cultural approach to minimize Fabraea presence in the spring. Removing all fruit from the tree and mowing leaf litter in late fall, combined with applying a nitrogen source such as fish hydrolysate or spreading finished compost, will increase decomposition of infected leaf matter, reducing fungal pressures come spring, Walke continues. The same can be done in early spring, if winter came too quickly or if disease pressure was high the previous year and you want to be thorough. Such sanitation practices can help control other pathogens, as well.

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Focus on Soil Biology

August 10, 2017

Focusing on soil biology should ultimately reduce fertilizer expenditures, improving nutrient efficiency by enabling plant and microbe relationships, reducing nitrate leaching to improve water quality, and reducing unnecessary soil tillage to aid in carbon sequestration and soil structure. Read Will Brinton’s in-depth article “Rebirth of a Movement: The Concept of Soil Health is Changing Soil Testing and Soil Amending” in the summer issue of The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener.

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