Diseased Nectarine Fruit

Asked July 24, 2014, 2:23 PM EDT

We have a double delight nectarine tree planted in Sacramento, CA. It was put into the ground from a nursery pot two years ago. For two springs, it has had numerous blossoms, several dozen fruits, but both years the fruit has been unusable. The skin had leathery patches over the entire fruit and there was little left of the fruit to eat. This year, three of about 3 dozen were normal, the rest was not. The tree itself has been healthy and has doubled in size since it was planted. I could not get an answer from the Sacramento County Ag office and they thought it was either a virus or insect caused. I have never had a fruit tree where the tree was very heathy and the fruit was badly deformed. What could be the cause and what would be the treatment. I do not use pesticides. Richard Kemmler, PSU Class of 1966.

Sacramento County California

1 Response

It could be Powdery Mildew but I am not familiar with Double Delite nectarine

Powdery Mildew of Peach, Nectarine, and Apricot

Powdery mildew, sometimes called "rose mildew" (it affects some woody ornamentals), is often not serious. The causal fungus, Sphaerotheca pannosa, and rusty spot, a disease associated with mildew fungi, usually are rare in peach orchards. The fungus can attack leaves, twigs, and fruit.


On fruit, the disease first appears as round, whitish spots 2 to 4 weeks after shuck fall. The spots get bigger until they cover much of the fruit. The white spots are produced by the fungus mycelium and its spores. Later, the mycelium sloughs off and leaves a rusty-colored patch with dead epidermal cells. About the time of pit hardening, the skin of the fruit under the spot turns pinkish, and the fungus and its spores disappear. Eventually, the skin becomes leathery or hard, turns brown, and can crack.

Diseased leaves often fail to unfold normally, while those of new shoots become narrow, strap like, and distorted. New shoots are shorter than normal and distorted. The white mycelium and spores of the fungus can cover infected leaves and shoots or appear as whitish patches.

Disease Cycle

The fungus overwinters in dormant peach buds. Flower buds of infected shoots often do not survive the winter. As leaf buds expand in the spring, young leaves become infected and the spores produced on the leaves serve to infect young fruit, new shoot growth, and newly expanding leaves. Leaves are susceptible to infection when young but become resistant as they age. Fruit also are more susceptible when young and become resistant at pit hardening.

Disease Management

Routine fungicides adequately control this disease. Most peach varieties are resistant to powdery mildew; however, Rio-Oso-Gem and Redskin are susceptible