What is mummification of fruits?

Fruit mummification is a common problem

Although the term mummification almost automatically leads us to think of the Egypt of the pharaohs, the truth is that it also refers to something that happens to the fruits of plants. This is a fairly common problem, and also a very serious one, since it is difficult to eliminate the disease when the symptoms become visible.

And it is that these microorganisms first attack from inside the vessels – they would be something like the equivalent of our veins – of the plants, which is usually fatal for them by weakening them a lot. But… Can preventive measures be taken to protect crops from mummification?

What is the mummification of the fruits?

Necklace spores damage fruitsMonilia spores damage the fruits

Image – Wikimedia Commons / Wikimedia Commons

Mummification (in botany) is a symptom caused by fungi of the genus Moniliniawhich is why the disease is known as moniliosis. Specifically, there are two species that affect crops: Monilinia fructigeneswhich damages the seed fruits such as almonds; and the lax Monilinia which has a preference for drupe-type fruits such as apples.

Although all plants do everything their evolution dictates to protect their fruits, there is nothing they can do to prevent them from the possible damage that can be caused by an unexpected hailstorm, or by insects or other animals when they try to eat them.

The fungi multiply by spores -they would be their seeds-, and those are tiny, almost invisible. In fact, we only see them well through a magnifying glass or a microscope. In addition, they are extremely light; they do not need more than a breeze to be transferred to other parts. If they fall on a fruit that has been damaged, for whatever reason, even if it only has a micro-cut, it will infect it.

What are the symptoms of moniliosis?

Once the fruit has become ill, one of the first symptoms that we will notice is that a brown stain will form with rounded white spots spread over the entire surface. From here on, it is normal for it to fall from the tree, but this will not be the case. It will be a mummified fruit, which will remain hanging from the branch until something (the wind for example) or someone pulls it off.

The appearance it gives to the plant is sad, despite the fact that the rest of the parts of the plant remain intact. Perhaps you could see that the flowers blacken and fallbut in general the tree will be healthy … except for moniliosis.

What plants does it affect?

Fruit mummification is a serious diseaseFruit mummification is a serious disease

Image – Wikimedia Commons / Aroche

Unfortunately, fruit mummification is a common problem that affects all species of the botanical families Rosaceae and Ericaceae. Some examples are:

Treatment of monilia in fruit trees

Fruit trees are prone to rotting

Fruit trees are prone to Monilia


Prevention is better than cure, so let’s see what are the most effective preventive measures against mummification of fruits:

Do not prune unless necessary

The spores of the fungi do not need more than a micro-cut to be able to reach the interior of the plants. For this reason, it is not advisable to prune unless it is really necessary; that is, if dry or diseased branches have to be cut, for example, or if a complicated transplant has been carried out in which the roots have been manipulated a lot.

Y in the event that pruning is required, disinfected pruning tools should be used. It is important to disinfect tools before and after use. Also, it is worth sealing the wounds with healing paste. In this way, the risk of contagion is minimized.

Buy healthy plants

If you go to a nursery with the intention of buying fruit trees and it happens that they have some fruits, make sure they are healthy, both they and the rest of the parts of the plants. Do not hesitate to inspect the leaves, flowers, trunk well… Take the pot -if you can- and take a look at its base: if the roots come out is a good sign, as it will mean that it has rooted correctly and that when it is going to transplant it will have less problems to resume its growth.

Discard those that have symptoms of pests or diseasesuch as chewed, dried, or rolled leaves; yellow, white, brown or black spots on leaves and / or fruits; lumps on the trunk that shouldn’t be there, and so on.

Band Aid

There are no curative treatments for monilia, hence I have italicized curative. What yes there can be is to treat with fungicides inhibitors of ergostol biosynthesis (called IBS fungicides) the flowers and the fruits. It is necessary to follow the instructions specified on the package to avoid the risk of overdose.

We hope it has been useful to you .

What is mummification of fruits?

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