Does scab reduce fruit set?

donnieappleseedDecember 8, 2012

The last few years in Seattle have not been particularly cooler (like many places a couple years ago) nor have they been warmer (like many places last year)....what we have had, though, in the PNW is a whale of a lot wetter weather and I am convinced this can affect our fruit set.
Of course this idea of rain affecting fruit set is a no-brainer when it comes to the idea of rain driving away the bees in the Spring when they are needed for pollination....but I also believe that an increased incidence of anthracnose (which can come from more Fall rains) is also reducing our fruit set.
My question is this: since we know pear and apple scab are increased by more rain in the Spring, could it be that scab not only blights the look of the fruit but that it too is reducing the fruit production as well?
Thanks in advance.

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alan haigh

In my experience, anything that reduces the leaves, and particularly the spur leaves, access to photosynthesis can lead to a crop reduction or failure. I've discussed this with a commercial grower and he believes a cool wet spring even following flowering reduces fruit set for this reason.

I believe energy stored towards the end and produced at the start of the season may have most affect on fruit set.

We had a late summer monsoon here season before last and apple set was somewhat light although leaves did not defoliate on fruit trees. More surprising was that for the first time in memory the oaks had very few oak nuts (I refuse to call them acorns) for two consecutive seasons.

It's making the wildlife absolutely frenzied for food this year to the point where they are shaking bait out of bait stations (never happened before).

Normally oak nut harvest is reliably bienniel.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2012 at 4:09PM
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olpea(zone 6 KS)

"Normally oak nut harvest is reliably bienniel."

That's interesting. Here oaks produce annually. The only exception is sometimes if the weather is extremely dry, the oaks will drop their nuts.

More evidence that bienniel bearing is strongly influenced by the length of the growing season.

I'm curious, why the aversion to calling oak nuts acorns?

    Bookmark   December 9, 2012 at 3:28PM
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alan haigh

What I should have said is normally a poor crop is followed by a heavy crop. Here late frosts do occassionaly wipe out the crop which sets up a bienniel pattern that can continue for years. Frosts were probably not the issue this time for either short crop, however.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2012 at 6:05PM
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