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Peach

February 1, 2016

QuestionWhen is the time to trim the peach trees?  I haven’t pruned in a few years and I need to prune back quite a bit.

 

AnswerAll fruit trees should be pruned every year.  While commercial growers begin pruning much earlier, home gardeners have a bit more flexibility since they have only a few trees to prune.  Prune any time from late February up until the trees begin to bloom.  Getting it done before blooming is optimum. 


 

March 2014

QuestionI have a peach and a plum tree (plus a small plum tree for pollination). The peach tree was from the beginning infected with what I think is Monilinia. The fruits look great at first but rot on the tree, with white fungal growths on the affected parts. By November, the trees are full of fruit “mummies”. I have tried to collect and burn the “mummies” but it did not help much. I will have to spray – but how and what? Are there companies spraying your fruit trees in Fayetteville where I live? I will have to remove my trees (about 7 years old) unless I can fix this problem. 

AnswerBrown rot of peaches Monilinia fructicola is a devastating problem and one of the reasons it is hard for home gardeners to grow peaches. You think you are about to harvest a beautiful crop of peaches and then seemingly overnight they rot and turn to mush! Removing the mummies is important, since they are loaded with disease spores. Using dormant oil in the fall when the leaves drop and then again before they begin to break dormancy can help start the season clean. But it will not prevent the problem from occurring during the growing season. I do not know of any companies who spray home fruit trees, but you can do it yourself. Most nurseries carry a home fruit orchard spray which contains an insecticide and fungicide. Here is the link to our home fruit spray schedule: http://www.uaex.edu/publications/pdf/FSA-7503.pdf


 

(April 2010)

QuestionI am having difficulty with my fruit trees.  Last year my peach tree produced lots of peaches, but they all dried up around the seed before they ripened. I also noticed that quite a few of the leaves and small branches dried up and died.   My apple tree made really good apples but the leaves dried up and died and I noticed yellow spots on the leaves that had several round dots in them. I assumed these to be some kind of insect eggs. The apples also had dark spots on them. I have already cut them back and am hoping that you can suggest some kind of spray, preferably something natural that I can use to solve these problems

AnswerFruit trees can be challenging for the home gardener, especially peaches which have numerous insect and disease issues.  Brown rot is the most destructive and can wipe out a crop seemingly overnight, especially when we have periods of rain, which were almost constant last year.  Pruning is something you will need to do annually, but a spray schedule is also necessary to produce quality fruit.  Purchase a home fruit spray which has both an insecticide and a fungicide mixed together.  There are organic products as well as non-organic. Start spraying when two thirds of the flower petals have fallen and then continue throughout the growing season, about every 10 days to three weeks depending on the weather.  Your apple tree sounds like it was infested with cedar apple rust.  This disease has two hosts--Eastern red cedars and apple trees.  By the time you see yellow spots rimmed in orange it is too late to spray to control it. The key is to do preventative sprays the first few weeks following bloom.  Orange gelatinous masses form on cedar trees releasing spores which then infest the apples.  Typically apple diseases are a bit easier to deal with since you can usually peel off the damage and still eat the fruit.  Spray schedules, cultural information and pruning guides are available on our Extension website at: http://www.arhomeandgarden.org/


 

QuestionI was wanting to plant two peach trees this spring, but everything I read says it’s better to wait for fall.  Would it be ok to plant them this spring anyway? Any other good tid-bits would be helpful.

AnswerFall is a great time to plant trees, since there is usually residual soil heat and ample moisture which encourages roots to grow, plus the plants are heading into dormancy so there aren’t as many demands on the roots to provide for an actively growing plant.  Availability of fruit trees is probably better now than in the fall.  Spring is perfectly acceptable for planting fruit trees, in fact container grown plants can be planted year-round.  Be aware that peaches are the hardest home fruit for us to grow.  Diseases and insects are usually at a premium so plan to follow a thorough spray schedule.  Cultural practices, pruning and spray guides are available on our website at http://www.arhomeandgarden.org/fruits_nuts_vegs.htm


 

QuestionI was wanting to plant two peach trees this spring, but everything I read says it’s better to wait for fall.  Would it be ok to plant them this spring anyway? Any other good tid-bits would be helpful.

AnswerFall is a great time to plant trees, since there is usually residual soil heat and ample moisture which encourages roots to grow, plus the plants are heading into dormancy so there aren’t as many demands on the roots to provide for an actively growing plant.  Availability of fruit trees is probably better now than in the fall.  Spring is perfectly acceptable for planting fruit trees, in fact container grown plants can be planted year-round.  Be aware that peaches are the hardest home fruit for us to grow.  Diseases and insects are usually at a premium so plan to follow a thorough spray schedule.  Cultural practices, pruning and spray guides are available on our website at http://www.arhomeandgarden.org/fruits_nuts_vegs.htm


(June 2005)

QuestionI have a peach tree that has peaches for the first time this year...lots of peaches. A lot of them fell off, but I probably would have needed to thin them anyway. However, I seem to remember that peaches seldom develop w/o some help in the form of insecticides. Is there anything I should treat it with, or is it too late?

 

AnswerI guess it is never too late.  With peaches, we worry not only with insects, but diseases as well.  Try to find a general purpose fruit spray, with a combination of insecticide and fungicide.  We normally recommend spraying when two-thirds of the flower petals fall off, and continue roughly every two weeks throughout the season.  Worms are the primary insect problem, but brown rot—a fungus, can take a crop seemingly overnight, especially following a rainy spell. Good luck.


(February 2005)

QuestionCan you tell us the name of a fruit tree spray that would work for nectarines, peaches and Italian Plums?  Last year we had a lot of mold on our fruit, and we would like to do a better job this year.

 

AnswerYour best bet is to look for a complete home fruit orchard spray.  Many brand names are available.  Be sure to read the label and make sure it says it is for diseases and insects, since you need both insecticides and fungicides to have clean fruit.  Having it pre-mixed makes it easier.  Begin the spray schedule when two-thirds of the flower petals fall and repeat every two to three weeks throughout the season.


(March 2005)

QuestionI have some young peach trees that have peaches but they rot or have worms before I harvest them.  What should I be spraying with to have perfect fruit?

 

AnswerI will warn you, that peaches are the toughest of the home fruits to grow.  Brown rot is a disease that can destroy the fruit in a day or two, and fruit worms are also an issue.  If you are willing to make the effort, find a general purpose fruit spray with both a fungicide and an insecticide in it.  Spray when two thirds of the flower petals drop and roughly every two to three weeks throughout the season.  I often think it is best to go to the local farmers market or u-pick fruit operation for top notch Arkansas peaches.


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