Symptoms begin as early as 3 weeks after petal fall, when dark-green areas form on the fruit. Cell growth surrounding these areas is restricted and, as a result, fruit become pitted, gnarled, and deformed. Pits are produced by others causes such as plant bug injury, mechanical damage, boron deficiency, or cork spot. However, pits caused by such factors are more superficial.
Heavily pitted fruit may become so gritty that it is difficult to cut the fruit with a knife. Some strains of the stony pit virus can cause a roughened bark or measles-like symptoms on the fruit. Pimpling and cracking of the bark, stunting of the trees and chlorotic vein banding or mottling have also been reported. Severely infected cultivars include Bosc, Comice, and Seckel. Obvious, but less severe, symptoms have been reported on Hardy, Conference, Forelle, Howell, Old Home, Packham's Triumph, Bartlett, Winter Nelis, and other cultivars.
Symptoms on fruit vary from season to season as well as severity. Trees that show symptoms one year may have no pitted fruit the following year.
The virus is transmitted by vegetative propagation such as budding, grafting, and root cuttings. Spread by insect vectors or via infected seed has not been documented.
Use disease-free planting material and, if possible, remove infected trees.
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