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Monday, January 9, 2012

My Pomegranates Were Spoiled When I Harvested Them

Q. I have a single, four year old pomegranate tree in Las Vegas.  The tree produced excellent fruit the first three years.  This year the fruit was spoiled as they came off the tree.  The tree appeared normal.  Looking at the fruit, it wasn't evident if it was infested with a bug or a disease.  Would you have any suggestions on what caused it? 
A. The most likely reason would be an insect called the leaf footed plant bug. They will infest pomegranates, almonds and pistachios most frequently. Their feeding can cause small holes in the outside of the fruit or nut.
            This wound can open the fruit for infection by disease and possibly cause a nut not to develop inside the shell causing what we called blanks, or no nut, to develop. You will see these insects overwintering on your fruit trees or nearby landscape trees as well.
Adults and nymphs
            These are nefarious denizens of the worst kind and seem to have no value except to breed more of the same. I would recommend spraying your fruit and nut trees with dormant oil twice during the winter and follow this a few days later with an insecticidal soap.
            I have seen most of these adults overwintering on the stems and trunks of trees, usually in the sunlight because of the heat they can get. I hope this helps.

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