Branch Cancer or Branch Cancer

Branch Cancer or Branch Cancer

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The rameal cancer, said twig cancer, affects our plants starting from the branches and the trunk, instead of the leaves as often happens for diseases that damage our plants. Let's get to know better what it is and what damage it does but above all how it is possible for us to prevent this problem, or to cure it if we have not been able to stop it for the better.

Rameal cancer: what it is

It is a disease that affects branches and trunk and its occurrence depends on the presence of a high number of pathogens which can be both fungal and bacterial. When they are sick, the trunk and branches show strange shapes, they appear wrinkled as they should not be but not only that, this is only the first symptom. As time passes the ripple of the surface ends up splitting while the detected tissues grow more and more and create swellings that end up detaching and falling to the ground.

It is terrible to see because one opens real wound showing the inner part of the tree, its intimate fabrics which, when exposed, vary in color and become darker. Furthermore, the wound, just like a real wound, fills with a gelatinous substance that is as if it were our pus, allow the comparison, which runs downwards attaching itself to the cortex below the wrinkling himself in a very stubborn way. It is important to intervene as soon as possible because the detachment of the cortex otherwise in the long run can also lead to death, certainly to significant damage and a strong weakening.

The rameal cancer it can attack almost all woody plants, whether they are deciduous or evergreen, not even conifers are saved because it can damage all plants and even shrubs, both spontaneous, ornamental and fruit, as long as they have branches to attack. Usually it is the branches that show the first symptoms, that is small abnormal hollows and of a color ranging from reddish to brown. As the corrugation becomes a hole, an ever deeper crack that ends up tearing the bark, bringing to light the inner part of the trunk or branch. The edges of the wound become thicker and the internal part emits a gelatinous and rubbery liquid, remaining moist and swollen which tends to dry out over time.

When the rameal cancer it expands along the branches and the trunk in about ten months and the affected part in the long dry, loses its leaves and remains attached but dead. A plant can therefore find itself with many dry and bare branches

There is no specific season in which the rameal cancer more or less striking, its arrival depends on the timing of the pathogen, whether it is a bacterium or a fungus. The bacterium it often occurs through insects that bite an infected plant and suck the infected sap, then move to another healthy plant and make it sick with canker. This is true that it happens especially during the summer

In the case offungal infection it is that transmitted through the tools used for pruning if they are not well cleaned by passing from one plant to another. In this case, the most dangerous period is the one between the end of autumn and the beginning of spring

Branch cancer: damage

As we have already unveiled this cancer creates wrinkles which then turn into furrows at first small and then gradually large which then become wounds. This means that the bark opens and lets the inner layers of the branch or trunk come to light. These layers change color, become reddish as if they were "inflamed" but above all they begin to secrete one sticky substance which only downwards, also sticking to the healthy bark, placed in the lower part of the plant.

The margins of the wound swell while the inside of branches and trunks becomes swollen and moist but only initially, then dries up. When this issue is overlooked, the cancer it expands and manages to attack the whole branch causing it to dry out and lose its leaves. Regardless of the origin of the cancer, whether bacterial or fungal, the symptoms are identical, the tree canopy will show individual dry branches in the middle of the green, with yellowed or absent leaves.

Rameal cancer: prevention

To try to prevent this problem he has some even fatal consequences for the plant, we can follow some good practices that lower the rates of contagion. We begin to avoid creating any type of accidental injury to the plant, those caused by grass trimmer but not only. Another important thing is to check the plants every time at the end of periods of very strong frost or after violent hailstorms that can cause those injuries that are dangerous for the rameal cancer.

Since we have read how fungi can attack the plant during pruning due to poorly cleaned tools, let's not make this mistake and we disinfect with bleach or with alcohol the shears with which we prune every time we change plants. If our eye falls on a wound while we prune the plant, let's not neglect it but disinfect it with copper drops.

Branch cancer: treatments and remedies

When we realize that our plant is sick, we isolate the infected portions, cut them away by carving with a depth of at least 30 centimeters inside the healthy wood until a clear and no longer brownish surface appears. We must eliminate the infected part and dispose of it better if burning it, or throwing it in the unsorted garbage.

There are also gods quite effective chemical treatments which we can easily get online at amazon, most are copper based like this one Copper fungicide based on Copper oxychloride 500 g of which you can consult the sheet and evaluate the purchase at this link.

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