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Sooty Blotch and Flyspeck

Several different fungi

Author: Esther McGinnis


  • Signs of both diseases are more likely to occur in late summer.
  • Sooty blotch appears as black or gray smudges on the apple’s surface; the smudges can be rubbed off in most cases.
  • Flyspeck appears as a group of tiny, distinct black dots that cannot be rubbed off the fruit easily.
  • Signs of both diseases may be present on the same apple.
  • Both diseases are more prevalent in a year with cool temperatures and frequent rains in the spring and late summer/early fall.


Figure 1. Sooty blotch
Figure 1
: Sooty blotch. (Clemson University - U.S. Department of Agriculture Cooperative Extension Slide Series,


Figure 2. Fly speck Watt
Figure 2
: Flyspeck. (Bruce Watt, University of Maine,


Figure 3. Sooty blotch and fly speck
Figure 3
: Apple with sooty blotch and flyspeck. (Bruce Watt, University of Maine,

Management and other important facts

  • Both diseases cause superficial damage on the surface of the apple skin.
  • The fungi can be removed by washing or peeling the fruit skin.
  • The remainder of the apple can be used for cooking or eating.
  • The fungi causing the diseases can be minimized by proper tree pruning to encourage good ventilation.






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