Having a peach tree in your yard can be lovely. Every spring, you get to look out over puffy peach blossoms, and in the summer, you get to enjoy fresh fruit. Unfortunately, your peach tree might be showing signs of disease.
If your peaches are spotty, shriveled, or otherwise inedible, your tree has fallen prey to illness. Read on to learn about some of the most common peach tree diseases and how to treat them.
Are your peaches developing small spots of rotting flesh which grow and extend over most of the fruit within a few days? In the spring did you notice that some of your peach tree's blossoms disintegrated into a gray mass? These are classic symptoms of brown rot, a fungal disease that infects peach trees, cherry trees, plum trees, and other stone fruit trees.
Treating brown rot is possible, but doing so requires care and attention to detail. Trim away all of the diseased fruit and branches, then have the tree sprayed with an all-purpose fungicide.
Burn all of the damaged fruits and trimmings, and step up your sanitation practices. Throughout the year, promptly clean up any fallen leaves and debris from beneath the tree. Have the tree sprayed again in early spring and then every two weeks until the flowers die off. Apply fungicides again about two weeks before harvest. If you are vigilant, your tree should be free from brown rot within a season or two.
Are your peaches developing circular green spots that slowly grow and turn blackish as the fruit ripens? The peaches may be edible, but they are unsightly, and the tree's twigs develop gray, circular wounds. These symptoms indicate peach scab, a fungal disease that rips through orchards and spreads to backyard peach trees during warm, wet periods.
By the time peach scab symptoms appear, you can't do much about the disease during the current season. However, you can probably save next year's crop. Have your tree professionally pruned during the coming winter. Not only will your tree trimmer remove infected branches, but they will also trim your tree to encourage more air flow through the branches. This keeps the branches dry to limit fungal growth.
When spring comes, spray the tree with fungicide every 10 days from the time the petals fall until about six weeks before harvest. Continue with trimming and spraying during each subsequent growing season. The symptoms of peach scab may slowly wane over a few seasons with good care.
The symptoms of bacterial spot are often confused with those of peach scab. Bacterial spot, however, causes pits to form in the fruit's surface, whereas peach scab lesions are flat. Bacterial spot also causes lesions to form on the leaves and twigs, whereas peach scab only causes symptoms on the twigs. If your tree's leaves and fruits are spotty and pitted, you're dealing with a case of bacterial spot.
Bacterial spot typically sets in after hot, rainy weather. Trees under a lot of stress are more likely to be affected.
To manage bacterial spot, have all of the diseased branches pruned away. Then, focus on reducing the tree's stress levels by providing proper fertilizer and water. Avoid fertilizers that are overly high in nitrogen as these can make the problem worse. Fungicide sprays are not effective against bacterial spot because it is a bacterial disease, not a fungal one.
If your peach tree has been ailing, contact Above & Beyond Tree Companies, Inc. to schedule a tree care appointment. We're fully insured, we offer free estimates, and we use the best equipment in the industry.