One of the more terrifying diseases of trees is Black Knot, which results in an ugly lumpy mass, much like a rotting tumor, on tree limbs and stems. It looks like something out of a horror movie and, if left alone, it will eventually strangle the plant. The disease is caused by a fungus, Apiosporina morbosa, and infects trees that grow in North America. So far it does not affect trees in other regions of the world. Affected trees include cherry, chokecherry, apricot, plum, almond, and others in the Prunus genus.

Recognizing the disease is not difficult. Usually, it starts on stems and produces black, gnarled galls. When these increase in size or affect the trunk of the tree, nutrient and water transport is interrupted, causing declined tree health. In orchard situations, treatment is a combination of cultural, biological, sanitary and chemical applications. The home gardener will likely want to avoid chemicals, especially in areas with animals and children. A unique product, however, Black Knot Be Gone, is a safe, all-natural treatment for the disease that can heal even the sickest tree.

In studies done by the manufacturers of this natural and organic plant-based product, an infected tree showed signs of improvement even by day ten, where the gall had shrunk and was developing a lighter, ashy color. They performed two different experiments. In the first, tree A had the product applied directly to the galls with excellent results. In tree B, they applied it to the trunk, trusting the xylem and phloem to move the treatment up to infected branches. The results began to develop fairly rapidly and, by day 60, the tumors peeled easily off the branches.

Application to the trunk results in an easier process for home gardeners and those that aren't professionals and don't want to risk their necks on a ladder for direct application. It takes a little longer for the beneficial effects but is a much simpler and safer application method. Applying the product is easy. Use a drill and make 8 small holes at a 45-degree angle into the trunk to .125 inches deep (.3175 cm.). Use the recommended amount of treatment and drip into the holes. That is all there is to it. Repeat the treatment for 4 days and then sit back and wait for the magical results. The terminal end tumors should be easily removable within two months.

If left untreated, Black Knot disease can limit the life span of a tree. There are some resistant cultivars of Prunus, but older plants are in special danger of contracting the disease. Light infections are easily taken care of by pruning away diseased stems but in large infestations, this simply isn't practical. Black Knot Be Gone is the safe solution to saving your trees and keeping them healthy. This organic treatment is safe on fruit trees and won't hurt your crop. One treatment is all you need to nip this rather grotesque fungus in the bud.

Bonnie Grant