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Warmer UK weather adding to spread of fruit tree diseases

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The UK’s fruit trees are under threat as a result of the climate crisis because plant diseases that thrive in warm weather are becoming more common.

Each year, the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) compiles a list of the most common plant diseases identified by its almost half a million members. Gardeners take pictures or samples of afflicted trees, crops or flowers and send them in to the plant pathologists, who can identify the disease.

This year, seven of 2022’s 10 most prevalent garden diseases relate to fruit, which the RHS says is the highest it has seen. Apple and pear canker also entered the top 10 for the first time in recent years.

Dr Liz Beal, a plant pathologist at the RHS, said: “This is a direct result of last year’s extreme summer heat, which caused many plants to become stressed and therefore more susceptible to problems when rain, coupled with continuing mild temperatures in the autumn, provided the perfect breeding ground for diseases to spread. Spores of most fungi need warm, wet weather to spread and infect plants.”

While many of these diseases simply…

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